The fleet of de-icing vehicles at Munich Airport has received powerful and environmentally friendly support. Recently, an all-electric “Elephant e-BETA” from Danish manufacturer Vestergaard has been used for de-icing aircraft.

According to the manufacturer, the “Elephant e-BETA” is the first electric de-icing vehicle. The spray arms and nozzles driven by electric motors perform the de-icing of aircraft silently and effectively and the heart of the vehicle is a large lithium-ion battery power pack that enables the electric de-icing of around 10 to 15 aircraft. The battery allows the de-icing vehicle to complete around two to three hours of operation without recharging.

The vehicle still drives to the de-icing areas with a conventional diesel engine, but at the aircraft site itself, the engine is switched off, and the all-electric de-icing begins. Elephants are known to have great endurance and exceptional sensitivity, and the Danish manufacturer adopted the Elephant e-BETA name to demonstrate that these attributes of nature can be applied to technology and machines that perform important jobs, while reducing environmental footprints.

Compared with conventional de-icing vehicles, the electric version can avoid up to 87% of the CO2 emissions caused by traditional vehicles. The vehicle is the latest initiative to be added to Munich Airport’s climate strategy, which envisages the airport operating in a CO2-neutral manner by 2030.