American Airlines Fast Charging Electric GSE With PosiCharge&trade MVS

February 13, 2001

CHICAGO (February 13, 2001) American Airlines has advanced its commitment to electrifying its ground support equipment (GSE) fleet with the recent installation of the first four of 10 AeroVironment PosiCharge MVS multi-vehicle fast charging systems at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. When all 10 MVS chargers are in place, American will be able to fast charge more than 100 GSE vehicles, making this the largest fast charging installation in the world.

"This is a milestone for the PosiCharge product line," said Larry Hayashigawa, PosiCharge product manager. "We have tested and demonstrated our dedicated and multi-vehicle fast chargers around the nation, but this commitment from American proves that the product is 'crossing the chasm' from the early adopters to real-world users." AeroVironment, Inc., maker of the PosiCharge family of fast charging equipment, introduced the MVS to the marketplace in Booth 2857 at ProMat 2001, February 12-15, in Chicago's McCormick Place, Hall C.

Designed for warehousing, distribution and airport ground support equipment multi-shift operations, the PosiCharge MVS installs in operations where vehicles use less than 1.5 batteries a day. Up to 10 vehicles may be connected on a single system. With its true simultaneous charging capability, the system is 25-100 percent more efficient than sequential chargers, and can get vehicles up and operational in 20-60 minutes. The system fast charges 24-, 36-, 48-, 72-, 80, and 96-volt battery packs and has a peak power rating of 60kW.

American Airlines Manager of GSE Technology Development, Dewey Kulzer said the new multi-vehicle chargers will further the airline's commitment to operate clean electric GSE in response to increasingly tougher federal air quality regulations.

"Five years ago, we made the decision to invest in electric equipment in order to improve air quality wherever we can," he said. "The switch has worked well for us, and now, with this new PosiCharge product, it should be even easier to do the right thing." Kulzer added that the system simplifies the airline's GSE charging operations. "Until now, we've had one vehicle per charger spending 50 percent or more of its day charging," he explained. "With the PosiCharge MVS, we simply roll as many as 10 trucks into place and begin charging from one simple, easy-to-use interface. Now each vehicle usually requires no more than 45 minutes of charge."

The system will enable American to use more electric GSE in areas of the airport where electrical infrastructure currently limits the number of electric trucks the airline can use due to the need for a dedicated charger for each vehicle. Typical electrical service for a MVS that supports up to 10 charging ports capable of charging up to 10 vehicles can be as low as 70 amps. Ten conventional chargers would require 200-300 amps of electrical service. "At DFW, we can now charge three times the equipment with the same power we were using for conventional chargers," Kulzer concluded.

Allen and Associates, which represents AeroVironment PosiCharge products in the airport GSE marketplace on behalf of Enersys, Inc., introduced American to the MVS early last year. Bob Allen, president, said three factors contributed to American's interest in the PosiCharge MVS. Available utility infrastructure and physical space were problems, he said. But most importantly, American needed to address the shorter time frame in which to charge batteries. "Due to the increase in red-eye and early morning flights, the window to charge an industrial battery in eight hours or less was shrinking substantially," Allen said. American operates more than 400 electric ground support vehicles at DFW Airport, including more than 200 baggage tractors and 100 belt loaders. The airline plans to replace 60 percent of its GSE fleet in its environmentally sensitive locations with electric-powered vehicles by 2010.

The MVS is comprised of a single PowerServer and multiple PowerStations. The PowerServer converts 3-phase utility power from AC to DC, and provides a high power factor and ultra-low harmonic distortion for the PowerStations.

Each PowerStation functions as a dual output charger that simultaneously charges and/or equalizes two industrial vehicle batteries. A Battery Module Identifier (BMID) located on each battery directs the charge commands, provides historic and real-time battery data, and maintains safe charging levels at all times. The system also features a built-in serial port, which allows remote access, battery monitoring and charger function control.

About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

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