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Deutsche Bahn and MTU present converted hybrid rail car for public transport

Deutsche Bahn and Tognum subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH (MTU) have converted a diesel-mechanical powered car from the VT 642 series into a hybrid vehicle as part of a joint research project. The partners unveiled the vehicle to the public at InnoTrans 2012.

Hybrid rail car VT642 with MTU Hybrid Powerpack. Credit: MTU. Click to enlarge.

The new drive system from MTU—a hybrid power pack—uses a generator to convert the kinetic energy generated during braking into electrical energy. This electrical energy is temporarily stored in batteries and then used as required for operation. The aim here is to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by up to 25%.

The undertaking has been financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung, BMVBS) as part of the project “Electromobility Model Region”, coordinated by the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (Now GmbH). At the previous InnoTrans in 2010, the Federal Ministry of Transport presented the project partners with the approval for grant assistance to the tune of €1.9 million (US$2.5 million) for the development of the hybrid drive in light rail vehicles.

We need new mobility and vehicle concepts for an environmental and climate friendly future. And playing a big part here will be the corresponding alternative drives. The Federal Ministry of Transport is thus funding a whole host of projects nationwide for the transport of people and goods on both road and rail. Once the hybrid system has established itself and is ready for series production, hundreds of these power cars could be converted to diesel-electric drive with energy storage in Germany, thus contributing to the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases and lowering energy costs.

—State Secretary Rainer Bomba

The project also features a CO2 air-conditioning system built into the vehicle which aims to reduce energy consumption by up to 10 percent. The vehicle was converted at the DB Heavy Maintenance plant in Kassel and is currently undergoing the necessary tests required for approval from the Federal Railway Authority. The vehicle will be used on the non-electrified Aschaffenburg – Miltenberg line in Bavaria, which is particularly suitable for the hybrid drive due to the short distances between stops and the frequent starting and stopping maneuvers this involves.


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