by Rafael Seidl
|Energy and propulsion options for AutoTram. Click to enlarge.|
The basic version of the AutoTram is a three-axle diesel-electric hybrid. A 245 hp (183 kW) V8 Euro-3 diesel powering three 45kW asynchronous motors (one for each axle) and uses a 4 kWh flywheel energy storage system. Fraunhofer is also developing an 80kW fuel-cell variant.
|The CCM flywheel.|
A third option under consideration is the use of galvanic docking stations featuring grid-connected stationary ultracapacitor stores at bus stops to support “plug-in” (PHEV) operation.
Each of the three axles can be steered independently. The basic diesel hybrid AutoTram has a top speed of 70 km/h (43.5 mph) and has an all-electric, zero-emission range of up to 2 km (1.2 miles).
At this point, only a prototype exists. It is being put through its paces at the IVI test track. Now the researchers are hoping to build a roadworthy version but need federal funding to do so. It would take another two years before the AutoTram could be seen on city streets. Matthias Klinger [Frauenhofer Institute for Traffic Infrastructure Systems] is optimistic: “The AutoTram yields savings of 30 to 50% for cities because they do not need to put down any tracks. Leipzig and Dresden have already expressed interest.”—(Die Welt)