FLXdrive, the first battery-powered locomotive makes its debut in the USA

FLXdrive, the first battery-powered locomotive makes its debut in the USA


The FLXdrive built by Wabtec Corporation is the first all-electric locomotive in the United States, financed with a portion of the $ 22.6 million that California has decided to allocate to its climate change projects. Wabtec itself announced that the FLXdrive battery electric locomotive, operating as a single unit that also fits two Tier 4 diesel locomotives, provided an average 11% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, that is the equivalent of over 6,200 gallons of diesel fuel saved and about 69 tons of CO2 emissions.

Weighing in at 195 tons, the locomotive is powered by a lithium-ion battery made up of 18,000 capacity cells total of 2,400 kWh. The FLXdrive is also equipped with 6 axes and, of these, 4 are powered by the battery through a special distribution system called Trip Optimizer System, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 120 km / h.

The FLXdrive battery electric locomotive is a defining moment for the freight railway and will accelerate the industry towards low or zero emission locomotives. It is based on the position of the railway industry as the most efficient and sustainable mode of transport. Based on our long history of pioneering train energy management technologies, this demonstration of the coupling of 2.4 megawatts of battery storage has fully validated our assumptions for the potential of this next-generation technology to further promote l efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gases. At over 6 megawatts, the next version of Wabtec's FLXdrive technology will have the opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30%, placing the industry on the verge of further improvement once it enters the generation of energy saving and reduction of emissions, commented Eric Gebhardt, Chief Technology Officer of Wabtec.

Not surprisingly, given the results of the three-month pilot project with the BNSF Railway, the largest railway in the United States, in which the FLXdrive has been put to the test, Wabtec seems to have already planned the construction of a second generation with optimized performance with the aim of bringing the new FLXdrive to the market in the next few years, combining this technology with hydrogen-powered models. br>
The 1:87 scale model of the Italeri BR 41 locomotive is available on Amazon.

World's first battery-electric locomotive cuts freight train fuel use by 11%

Rail technology company Wabtec has demonstrated an electric locomotive that could help lessen the environmental footprint of heavy-haul freight services. The company's battery-powered FLXdrive locomotive was used as part of a hybrid system over a three-month trial, where it reduced the fuel consumption of the entire vehicle by 11 percent.

Wabtec's FLXdrive is described as the world's first 100-percent battery-powered locomotive, drawing on 18,000 lithium-ion battery cells to power all four axles and using an intelligent energy flow management to optimize efficiency. The 2.4-megawatt hour system can be recharged at the depot much like an electric vehicle, but also uses a regenerative braking system to top itself up when on the move. The top spec Tesla Model 3, by way of comparison, has a capacity of 75 kWh – that's 32 times smaller than the FLXdrive. Needless to say, this system will require a serious charging station.

The FLXdrive was put to the test as part of a hybrid system with conventional diesel powertrains across a three-month trial in San Joaquin Valley, California, where it covered more than 13,320 miles (21,400 km) of hilly terrain. According to Wabtec, the 11-percent average reduction in fuel consumption for the entire train is equivalent to 6,200 gallons of diesel saved, or around 69 tons of CO2.

“The FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive is a defining moment for freight rail and will accelerate the industry toward low- to zero-emission locomotives,” says Eric Gebhardt, Wabtec Chief Technology Officer. “It builds upon the rail industry’s position as the most efficient and sustainable mode of transportation. Building on our long history of pioneering train energy management technologies, this demonstration of coupling 2.4 megawatt hours of battery storage into the mix fully validated our assumptions for the potential for this next generation technology to further drive efficiencies and greenhouse gas reductions.'

Wabtec is looking to build on these promising results with an even bigger and better version, upping the capacity to more than 6 MWh which its expects could cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent. It says it plans to commercialize this second generation FLXdrive locomotive, with hopes of rolling it out into freight routes in the coming years.

Source: Wabtec

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