Described as “an innovative, disruptive product,” a self-propelled electric taxiing system under development by Honeywell Aerospace and Safran is to be evaluated by Airbus as a possible new option on the A320 family called eTaxi.
An MoU signed just a few weeks ago by Airbus and the EGTS International joint venture between Honeywell and Safran calls for testing and maturing the electric-powered wheels for entry into service as soon as 2017.
The system was demonstrated to the public for the first time at last year’s Paris Air Show, when an A320 taxied and maneuvered without a tug, using just its APU to power an electric motor on each of its two main landing gear bogies.
EGTS (electric green taxiing system) allows 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 its main engines.
“We’re working closely with Airbus to accelerate maturity and to develop business models,” say Olivier Savin, EGTS Program vice president at Safran, and Brian Wenig, EGTS Program vice president at Honeywell Aerospace. An aircraft is currently in Toulouse, France, for testing, and the next phase will be to invite pilots from airlines around the world to evaluate it.
Savin and Wenig point out that while EGTS will save fuel and cut emissions for any airline, it will be worth more to some than to others. Its value will increase where taxi lines are longer at congested airports, when an airline flies more legs in a day, and in polluted environments.
“China, for example, has a lot of concrete pollution and dust in the air. EGTS can save engine maintenance costs; we’re working very closely with engine maker CFM International to evaluate the potential savings,” the executives say.
The joint venture has developed a value model for airlines to use with their own specific data, and has been meeting with operators here at the Singapore Airshow.