Airbus signs MoU with EGTS for electric taxiing solution for A320 family; projected fuel saving up to 4% per trip
As part of on-going research and development into future technology options, Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EGTS International (Electric Green Taxiing System), a joint venture company between Safran and Honeywell Aerospace formed in 2011, further to develop and to evaluate an autonomous electric pushback and taxiing solution for the A320 Family. (Earlier post.)
The agreement marks the selection of EGTS International’s Electric Green Taxiing System to be evaluated as a new option on the A320 Family—referred to by Airbus as eTaxi. This option would allow the aircraft to push-back from the gate without a tug, taxi-out to the runway, and return to the gate after landing without operating the main engines.
eTaxi will use the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) for power. One wheel on each main gear is equipped with an electric motor, reduction gearbox and clutch assembly to drive the aircraft, while unique power electronics and system controllers give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed and direction during taxi operations.
The system comprises the modified APU (to generate the additional power required for the system; Wheel Actuator Control Unit (WACU); Wheel Actuators; Pilot Interface Unit; and EGTS controller.
Key performance attributes include:
≈20 knots speed in 90 seconds (≈18 knots @ MTOW, maximum takeoff weight)
10 knots speed in 20 seconds for active runway crossing
Breakaway torque @ 1.5% slope at MTOW
No reduction in reliability or dispatch performance
The eTaxi option will offer several operational and environmental benefits for the A320 Family:
Per trip, the projected fuel savings and CO2 reductions would be approximately four percent;
It would contribute to significantly more efficient taxiing operations and save around two minutes of time on pushback; and
Taxiing-related carbon and nitrous oxide emissions would be cut by more than half.
Over the next few months the partners will jointly develop and present a global commercial case and implementation plan to determine the feasibility of an electric taxiing solution for the A320 Family. To this end, Airbus and EGTS International are reinforcing their existing teams to finalize validation studies, define specifications and converge on market requirements for a fully tailored forward-fit and retrofit technological solution.
Following our demonstration of the technology at this year’s Paris Airshow, this MoU marks the next critical milestone in the advancement of the Electric Green Taxiing System as an option for Airbus’ A320 Family, by securing Airbus’ support in the development of the system. Airbus will provide extremely valuable insight to facilitate a seamless integration into the aircraft.—Brian Wenig, EGTS Programme Vice President, Honeywell Aerospace
Airbus invests approximately €300 million (US$413) annually in keeping the A320 aircraft competitive and efficient. More than 10,000 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,800 delivered to operators worldwide.