Goldhofer’s electric tow tractors equipped with ARADEX powertrains

The Airport Technology division of Goldhofer AG is equipping its zero-emission »SHERPA« E cargo and pushback tractors and its »PHOENIX« E towbarless aircraft tractor with battery-powered motors and inverters supplied by ARADEX AG of Lorch, Germany.

For airport operators, ground handlers and airlines, this solution is the key to extremely economical and environmentally friendly baggage and cargo transportation on the apron and aircraft handling with a maximum take-off weight of up to 352 tons.

The electric powertrains developed by ARADEX have been designed in the framework of a partnership with Goldhofer to meet the specific requirements of airport operations.

They offer very high torques as well as balanced and finely tuned power transmission.

The compact power packs are mounted directly on the axle and do not require a gearbox, this saves space and weight.

Productive collaboration

Goldhofer began developing battery-powered towbarless aircraft tractors back in 2014. ARADEX AG, which is located only 120 km from Memmingen, was already noted for its years of experience with electric commercial vehicles.

The company’s portfolio at that time included electric powertrain solutions for trucks, mining vehicles and ships but not yet for cargo and aircraft tractors. Since electrically powered ground handling vehicles also have to meet extremely strict specifications in terms of function and safety, intensive and constructive cooperation between the two companies was called for.

Goldhofer presented its first »SHERPA« E at Inter Airport Europe in 2017.

“At airports around the world, cargo and aircraft tractors have to satisfy extremely tough requirements each and every day,” says Thomas Vetter, founder and member of the Executive Board at ARADEX AG, with regard to the results of this successful partnership.

“This also applies to electrically powered vehicles. I am all the more delighted therefore that, together with Goldhofer, we have succeeded in optimizing the configuration of our high-torque drive train so that it is not only very robust but also ensures reliable and balanced towing operations with maximum sensitivity and control.”

The same view is expressed by Lothar Holder, member of the board at Goldhofer AG and Head of Airport Technology: “Together with ARADEX, we have developed a highly sustainable and perfectly tuned powertrain solution for our fleet of electric tow tractors.

“It not only provides enormous power but also develops and delivers it finely controlled.”