New energy company and plug-in vehicle manufacturer BYD is pushing into yet another new market segment with the announcement of its two new fully electric tow tractor models – also known as tugs. The new tugs have the potential to replace the little carts commonly found running around the tarmac at airports as the ground support equipment for incoming and outbound flights.
BYD’s fully electric tugs eliminate the need to maintain dedicated fueling or lead acid battery maintenance infrastructure as they can simply charge using existing electrical infrastructure with minor modifications. The tugs are able to fully charge up in just 2 hours, which can be spread across a full 24/7 operating schedule without a major disruption.
Being electric, these new tugs are safe to operate indoors and outdoors, breaking down barriers that required fleet managers to maintain multiple types of vehicles for indoor and outdoor operations.
The new tugs utilize BYD’s lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) battery technology, meaning that, like other electric vehicles, they require less maintenance and downtime compared to diesel, gasoline or lead acid powered vehicles. BYD’s cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate batteries also come with a 10-year warranty that makes them a sound investment for fleet operators looking for assurance that they will last for the life of the investment.
“These tugs are a tremendous opportunity to help transform the high pressure, high duty cycle operations with customers requiring around the clock up-time,” said Brian Rippie, BYD’s Director of Material Handing.
While small in footprint, the new tugs have a 25-ton towing capacity, making them suitable for towing of regional jets or luggage transport around the tarmac. The tugs are available in a rear cabin tug and a forward cabin tug format as well.
Zooming out on BYD’s Material Handling vehicle lineup, it now offers five class 1, sit-down counter balance forklifts and with these two new tugs, BYD has a total of three tug products – one 5-ton and the two new 25-ton models. It has models in service at more than 200 customers including fleet customers like PepsiCo, Armstrong Flooring, and Whirlpool.
“BYD continues to grow our North American practice, and meet the increasing client demand for quality electric transportation, especially in the heavy-duty truck and vehicle industry,” said Stella Li, President of BYD. “Our model proves that going green can be good for the economy, good for workers and good for America.”