Electric vehicles continue to surge

07 August 2017
Bradshaw AV6 PRM vehicle. Source: Bradshaw Electric Vehicles

Improved batteries and smarter IT present airports with new options for transporting passengers

As airports proceed with their efforts to drive down emissions, electric vehicles are in use for a range of tasks on the apron, taxiway, runway, and terminal.

In 2008, for instance, UK-based Bradshaw Electric Vehicles launched its AV6 people carrier for transporting passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs). The first AV6 was delivered to Heathrow Terminal 5, and today about 140 units are in use at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

At Passenger Terminal Expo (PTE) in March 2017, Bradshaw displayed the latest version of the AV6 with new AC controller technology for improved efficiency.

“There is a growing market for PRM transport vehicles in airports. People with disabilities have become more independent, but transporting them individually can be expensive, so there is a cost saving if they can all be moved by a single vehicle,” explained Simon Clipsham, head of global sales.

He described how Bradshaw wanted to produce the safest possible buggy for PRMs, incorporating screening that prevents arms or legs being exposed when the vehicle enters a small lift or goes through a doorway.

All doors on the AV6 are interlocked so that if one of them is opened, the vehicle will automatically bring itself to a smooth halt and apply the parking brake. There are doors on both the offside and on the near side (full width), as well as at the rear, meaning that all kinds of PRM – even a passenger with a leg in plaster - can access the vehicle.

The latest AV6 includes an automatic drive system with power steering, Clipsham told Jane’s . It applies its own parking brake whenever it comes to a complete halt. “The driver is aware of travel speed, battery condition, running hours, and simple diagnostics.

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