Why An Electric Aircraft Tug May Cost You Less Over Time

Electric aircraft tug

There are drawbacks and benefits to each kind of aircraft tug on the market. When comparing your options, you’ll probably notice that electric aircraft tugs have higher price tags than more traditional models. But that initial cost can be deceiving. Did you know that an electric aircraft tug could actually cost you less money over time?

Various factors should be considered when calculating the total cost of investment and ownership of an electric aircraft tug. But by taking the time to really look at your options and the cost-saving benefits of each, you’ll quickly see how much an electric airplane tug can save you in the long run.

Upfront Costs Aren’t Everything

Electric tow tugs do tend to cost about 30 to 35 percent more than traditional tugs. If your purchasing decision is based purely on upfront cost, then converting to electric obviously might not make sense. But the real cost savings of electric tow tugs become more evident during day-to-day operations. And if you’re looking to save on operational costs, an electric aircraft tug just might be the right choice for you.

Factor In Fuel Costs

When comparing options, look at the cost of diesel used per day versus the cost of electricity used per day (plus the cost of a new battery every few years). You could potentially save dollars per day with an electric airplane tug, but this could vary as fuel and utility costs fluctuate.

The expense to operate an average gasoline-powered tractor tug is about $13 per day. This is based on the scenario of fuel costing $2.30 per gallon, the tractor running 3.75 hours per day and consuming fuel at a rate of 1.5 gallons per hour.

In this same scenario, an electric airplane tug (consuming somewhere between 27.75 and 33.5 kilowatts per day) costs between $5.39 and $5.79 per day to operate. Note that the cost of the battery has been factored into these figures. Even with the battery cost figured in, you still get a potential savings of around $7.50 per day. While that doesn’t seem like much, it adds up fast. If you replace just five of your gasoline tow tugs with electric tow tugs, that could save you over $13,000 a year!

Examine Your Infrastructure

Something that tends to get overlooked is the cost of infrastructure when implementing a new fleet of aircraft tugs. While electric aircraft tugs do require a charging-based infrastructure, it’s much less expensive than the infrastructure costs required to deliver gasoline to the airport.

As we mentioned, this is often overlooked due to the fact that most airports already have a gasoline-based infrastructure in place. But more and more airports are working on providing the charging infrastructure needed to operate electric aircraft tugs in a push to cut down on pollution and harmful emissions.

Calculate Maintenance Expenses

Compare maintenance schedules and costs but watch out for “cost per hour of operation.” Diesel tugs are considered “operating” even when they’re just idling, so an electric aircraft tug may get just as much done, but not be counted as operating for as long, artificially bumping up the “cost per hour of operation.” In reality, the cost per hour calculation is not a true or fair comparison to make between a diesel and electric aircraft tug.

An electric aircraft tug may also save you money and time (which is basically money) because it doesn’t require all the same maintenance as a diesel tug. An electric aircraft tug doesn’t require oil changes, air filter changes, universal joint maintenance, tooth belt or head gasket replacement, or clutch and transmission-related repairs. Keep in mind that while less maintenance is required for electric tow tugs, it can be quite difficult to find replacement parts when something does come up and maintenance is needed.

It’s also important to understand that the life of any kind of aircraft tug will vary based on a lot of factors, but keep in mind that Eagle Tugs offers a 3-year/3,000-hour warranty for both types.

So, as we’ve illustrated, the initial cost of an electric aircraft tug simply cannot be the sole determining factor when considering electric tow tugs vs. fuel-operated tow tugs. You need to consider the total cost of ownership before making a decision.

Shop Electric Tow Tugs From Eagle Tugs

If you’re considering a diesel or electric aircraft tug for your fleet, Eagle Tugs can help. Browse our extensive selection of aircraft tugs and request a quote today. And be sure to view our airplane tug model comparison guide for an in-depth, apples-to-apples look at each type of tug. Have a question or need more information about electric tow tugs? Reach out to a representative for additional assistance.

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