Published on January 20th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás
Hybrid Trains are the Future: EU to Fit KERS Systems to High-speed Rail
Thanks to the success of the Prius and others, hybrids have become a big deal in the automotive universe – so much so that boutique carmakers like Porsche and Ferrari are looking to hybrid technology to stay relevant. Cars aren’t the only people-movers moving to hybrid power, of course. Trains are adopting the technology in a bid to reduce harmful emissions and stabilize fuel costs – especially in the European Union.
Electric trains are already big business in the EU, with almost half the trains working there being full electrics. However, a new regenerative braking system developed by MTU could soon be fitted to diesel trains, making the current ICE-driven European trains into hybrid trains.
The first train fitted with MTU’s system was a German Siemens Desiro Classic VT 642 locomotive, which was originally powered by a pair of diesel engines. The hybrid train system consists of two 315 kilowatt-rated hybrid power packs and batteries, and the locomotive saw a 25% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with the regenerative braking system in place. That is HUGE when considering ho many thousands of tons of people and cargo are moved by rail in the EU every day … and it’s fun to think that both Ferrari’s next supercar AND Ferrari’s first train might both be hybrid-electric vehicles!