Partners AVIACO and XYZ Dynamics are working together to offer GSE operators a green and cost-effective service to convert their diesel GSE to battery power
Last year, Airside reported on the launch of a partnership between GSE leasing, maintenance and fleet management specialist AVIACO and Eindhoven, Netherlands-based XYZ Dynamics, a specialist in retrofitting vehicles to electric powertrains (https://www.airsideint.com/issue-article/aviaco-and-xyz-dynamics-co-operate-on-electric-gse-conversion-option/).
Together, the partners offer GSE operators the option of converting their conventionally powered equipment to a sustainable battery-powered configuration. And demand for that service is taking off quickly, informs Danny Vranckx, AVIACO’s CEO.
XYZ Dynamics has already converted both a set of passenger stairs and a pushback to battery power (either lithium-ion or lead-acid options are available) and these have been demonstrated at locations including Spain’s Valencia Airport and Belgium’s Brussels South Charleroi Airport.
Orders are coming in from operators such as Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, while carriers like Ryanair and handlers like Aviapartner are also showing an interest, says Vranckx. In fact, he notes, “Everyone that is seeing the new offering has been saying ‘wow’.
“This is the start of something big,” Vranckx believes, the combined AVIACIO/XYZ Dynamics offer being a “win-win” for those looking to operate environmentally friendly GSE without incurring the cost of new battery-powered equipment.
The drive towards green GSE is gaining even more momentum in the post-pandemic environment, Vranckx points out. And the conversion offered by the partners is incredibly cost effective compared with the price of new electric units. Furthermore, AVIACO’s rental option is seeing great demand in a GSE market that, while recovering quickly, is still “short of money” for new vehicle purchases.
For the moment at least, AVIACO is concentrating on offering retrofit options for GSE used to service narrowbody aircraft specifically: belt loaders (such as TLD, MULAG and EINSA models); self-propelled passenger stairs (such as TLD, JBT and EINSA models); pushbacks (such as TLD and Goldhofer/Schopf models); and baggage tractors.
These are not the only types of GSE that might be converted in the future, though. Alex Pap, one of the co-founders and CEO of XYZ Dynamics, points out: “We get a lot of requests for other types of equipment as well. One of the core strengths of the partnership between AVIACO and XYZ Dynamics is our ability to quickly anticipate customer demands.
“XYZ Dynamics has a wide range of knowledge of electric drivetrains and integration in existing vehicles, while AVIACO knows what our customers need thanks to its long-valued experience.“
Conversions can be undertaken at a customer’s own facilities in a process that takes as little as three days and avoids any transport costs, as well as at XYZ Dynamics or AVIACO facilities; another option is for the retrofit to be supplied in ‘kit form’, with the customer undertaking the conversion itself. This is by no means as challenging for the operator as it might sound, says Vranckx, because thanks to some very clever engineering, the XYZ Dynamics electric driveline and battery power pack can be installed onto the same brackets that are found in conventionally powered GSE units.
Training is then provided on the converted GSE as required.
Environmentally friendly and cost effective
While converting GSE to electric power clearly benefits the environment in terms of the harmful emissions that are otherwise produced by equipment powered by conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs), the battery-powered retrofits offered by AVIACO and XYZ Dynamics also offer significant cost savings, Vranckx notes.
In terms of operating costs, time spent in maintenance and repairs is lessened because AC battery power produces less wear and tear than, say, a diesel engine does. AVIACO and XYZ Dynamics estimate that there is a minimum of a 35% financial saving to be made in terms of the greater reliability of electric drivetrain and lower preventive maintenance requirements as compared to traditional ICE-powered equipment. The operational lifetime of battery-powered GSE is also likely to be longer, the partners posit, while of course battery-powered GSE also burns no fuel at the point of use, thereby saving on diesel costs.
Equipment downtime is also typically lower, while system diagnosis can be undertaken remotely to facilitate smart fleet management.