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GE’s Evolution Series Locomotive Delivers 6% Fuel Advantage Over Competitor

The results of an independent head-to-head fuel test between GE’s Evolution ES44AC and EMD’s SD70ACe Tier 2 emissions-compliant locomotives found that GE’s locomotives are more than 6% more fuel-efficient compared to their EMD counterparts.

GE Transportation engaged a nationally recognized independent research laboratory to conduct the Tier 2 locomotive fuel consumption testing. The lab conducted the tests in late January and early February 2009. A Class 1 Railroad supplied two GE and two EMD test locomotives of similar age and road use for the test.

The head-to-head fuel tests were performed using reproducible and repeatable processes. A single batch of fuel was used to test all four locomotives, the same test equipment and personnel were used to measure power and fuel consumption rate, and tests were performed during similar ambient air temperature conditions. In addition, duplicate tests were performed at each of the power-producing notch positions for each locomotive.

Earlier in May, GE Transportation introduced its newest Evolution Series locomotives, the Model ES44C4. The new model delivers significant performance improvement over existing DC-powered locomotives in three key areas:

  • Better environmental performance. Compared to older DC locomotives, Model ES44C4 uses up to 17% less fuel and reduces emissions by approximately 70%. Six hundred of GE’s latest locomotives can displace up to 800 older locomotives, translating to an annual reduction of more than 70 million gallons of fuel.

  • Advanced technology. Model ES44C4 delivers sophisticated traction control technology with its patented Dynamic Weight Management System that continuously monitors traction at the axles and automatically adapts to maximize performance on heavy trains. This system—similar to traction control on an automobile—limits wheel slip at start up, on inclines and in adverse weather conditions, ensuring optimum performance and less wasted energy. In addition, this latest Evolution locomotive has a higher top speed than traditional DC-powered locomotives.

  • Greater reliability. Older, DC heavy-haul locomotives currently require frequent and expensive maintenance to keep them running, which translates to significant time off the tracks instead of hauling freight. GE’s new AC motors have fewer parts to maintain and eliminate the electrical problems that hamper DC motors. As a result, they are easier to maintain and provide a higher level of reliability, which will allow the new ES44C4 to spend more time on the rails instead of in the shop for maintenance and repairs.

Moving freight by rail compared to trucks reduces fuel use, emissions and highway congestion. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR):

  • Railroads are three or more times more fuel efficient than trucks.
  • Trains move one ton of freight an average of 436 miles on each gallon of fuel.
  • A single train can take 280 trucks off the highways; and because the average size of a truck is equal to almost four automobiles, that’s the same amount of space that 1,100 automobiles would occupy.

The Evolution Series Locomotive, launched in 2002 and introduced into revenue service in 2005, represents a $400 million investment by GE over eight years. GE Transportation has delivered more than 3,200 Evolution Series locomotives to its railway customers operating in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Australia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Egypt. Approximately 17,000 GE locomotives, including the Evolution Series Locomotives, are in use in more than 50 countries around the world.


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