WheelTug claims ‘greener’ benefits from electric wheel drive

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New analysis shows WheelTug's electric wheel drive for aircraft ground manoeuvring will provide greater environmental benefits than previously expected, claims the Gibraltar-based subsidiary of Chorus Motors.

The WheelTug aircraft drive system is designed around twin high-torque Chorus motors integrated with the aircraft's two nosewheels. It enables aircraft to back away from gates without using a tow tug, and to taxi to and from runways without using the engines.

It will first be used as a retrofit solution on Boeing 737NG aircraft, but is expected to be certified for a range of other aircraft.

"Compared to a typical dual-engine taxi, ground emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by a Boeing 737NG will be reduced by over 650kgs for a typical flight," says WheelTug, citing studies based on data from the FAA, ICAO and others.

WheelTug also claims to enable a reduction in fuel consumed during taxiing for such flights by over 200kgs, or more than 65%.

"We are very pleased to see that WheelTug will be such a substantial contributor to green aviation," says WheelTug president Isaiah Cox. "We are also pleased to be working with the first generation of WheelTug test motors designed for the 737NG wheel. Testing of these motors is about to commence at our development facility."

WheelTug has tested equipment with US launch customer Delta Air Lines. The company said previously that it is looking to secure US FAA approval for its electric wheel drive for 737 aircraft by the end of 2009.