With major players in the ground handling industry focused on reducing carbon emissions and moving toward electric vehicles, officials at Tiger – part of the Waev Inc. portfolio – saw an opportunity to give its customers more flexibility when converting diesel-powered units to lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered vehicles.
Two years after introducing its Tiger Li-ion tractor to the ground support market, company officials are now debuting its Tiger Repower conversion kits.
“Tiger Repower allows operators to achieve zero emissions in a single day. Maximizing existing tractor investments with an easy-to-install conversion kit is something that airports, governments and ground support operations alike can stand behind,” Keith Simon, CEO, Waev Inc. said in a press release announcing the product launch. “With Tiger Repower, we’re eliminating the reasons to not go electric by offering the benefits of Li-ion technology without a burdensome investment.”
The conversion kits will be on display at the International GSE Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Sept. 26-28 at Booth 2742.
According to Luke Mulvaney, senior vice president and chief revenue officer at Waev Inc. and Tiger, electric GSE (eGSE) makes sense because the vehicles aren’t required to travel at high speeds or long distances and are often required to travel inside and outside. This prompted the company to produce a lithium-ion-powered vehicle. But company officials sought to provide customers with additional opportunities to adopt electric vehicles.
“Electrification is everything in the industry. We’re 90 percent electric,” says Mulvaney. “It’s our core competency.
“As we developed the new tractor and got close to the market, we saw the opportunity to have that package be in a repower kit,” Mulvaney says.
Benefits of lithium-ion include opportunity charging, safer technology and a lower total cost of ownership, Mulvaney says. Lithium-powered vehicles also benefit from the use of smarter technology like anti-rollover functionality, brake interlock features, onboard diagnostics and flexible charging options.
“There’s the safety benefits, there’s the technology benefits, there’s efficiency benefits,” Mulvaney says. “With the repower, it also solves some of the price barriers that are out there with lithium too.
“Our goal is to help make it really easy for people to convert their fleet to electric.”
Tiger Repower kits were designed to simplify installation and can be completed in 8-12 hours with two people, according to company officials.
“The product, itself, is pretty simple. It’s a power module, which is a green box that is all self-contained,” Mulvaney says. “You mount that to the vehicle, and then you install some other components that help make the vehicle new and support the electric version of a tractor. Things like the motor, a new dashboard, LED lighting, new master cylinder, a parking brake system, accelerator, seat belts and a full tractor wiring harness that you need for lithium-ion. So it’s not a crazy long list of components.
“On top of that, we also provide a new rear axle and driveshaft with the kit. You’re basically getting a new tractor, from the ground up, with a pretty concise set of parts.”
The conversion kits are compatible with the TUG MA Series, but Mulvaney notes the product itself can be expanded to fit other models moving forward.
Tiger company officials point out that lithium-ion-powered tow tractors minimize the need for infrastructure changes with an onboard charger compatible with traditional single-phase outlets and offboard charging compatibility with multiple DC fast chargers.
This flexible charging allows the tractors to work within a wide range of charging infrastructure.
“The way we’ve developed the tractor is comes with both on- and off-board charging,” Mulvaney says, noting lithium-ion-powered vehicles can also benefit from opportunity charging. “It gives them the most options depending on what gate they’re at on an airport or even what airport they’re on.”
The Tiger Repower kits have been trialed with key customers and the company says the kits are already in production. Tiger is now ready to officially launch the repower kits to the public and make them more broadly available.
“The way we engineered this is very specific for the GSE space. It’s born with some industrial DNA. This isn’t an automotive, high-end, high-speed, high-voltage set-up. This simple and industrial in all the right ways,” Mulvaney says. “It’s the latest and greatest technology but in a very reliable, durable and simple package.
“It’s purpose-built for this industrial, GSE application.”