Railcars

Time has come for the hybrids

Posted on 03 December 2018 by Lucie Maluck, Images by MTU

MTU's hybrid traction system has established itself in the rail market - Experts comment on that.

Much better fuel consumption, lower pollutant emissions, quieter trains and, faster acceleration – the benefits of MTU hybrid traction systems for railcars have been common knowledge for ages. Now, the product has really established itself on the market – with a vengeance. Irish Rail, the national operator, UK rail leasing company Porterbrook, and Alpha Trains and their partners Abellio, Alstom and Saxony-Anhalt Regional Public Transport signed letters of intent to purchase MTU hybrid traction systems at Innotrans, the world's largest rail trade fair, in September 2018. Why? And why now? Jim Meade, CEO of Irish Rail, Dr. Nikutta, Managing Director of Alstom,
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook and Lars Kräft, MTU Vice President, Industrial Business Sales, explain all.

We're making fuel savings of 30%

Jim Meade - CEO of Irish Rail
We're constantly looking for ways to reduce cost. Hybrid traction is something we've had in mind for a while, but only now has the fleet replacement program presented us with the opportunity of making it all happen. We're going to start by retrofitting nine of our Class 22000 railcars with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks. MTU has simulated this in advance, and we are set to save over 30% of diesel consumption. And as fuel costs are such a key factor for us, this argument is a pretty important one. At the same time, we're also going to reduce our CO2 footprint, which is also important to us. For our customers – the passengers – the main benefit of hybrid traction is that trains are much quieter when they run electrically. If the initial systems prove their worth, we want to fit them to all 235 of our railcars. Although the Irish rail network will be electrified in parallel, I see this as a very long-term project. By the time this is completed, we will already have saved a lot of money with hybrid and reduced pollutant emissions.

Hybrid will help us alleviate air pollution in cities.

Dr. Jörg Nikutta - Managing Director of Alstom
Especially in view of the diesel debate, hybrid traction a very exciting issue for us. Our customers, rail operators, can

We want to reduce the carbon footprint of our fleets

Mary Grant - CEO of Porterbrook
This is one of several initiatives that Porterbrook is undertaking to address the challenge, set by the Department for Transport, of removing diesel-only trains from the UK rail network by 2040. We are committed to reducing the emissions and carbon footprint of our existing diesel powered fleets. We hope our investment in this trial of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks will enable us to offer wider fleet fitment of this technology, so that our customers can reduce both emissions and operating costs, as well as improve air-quality along urban corridors. Hybrid trains have the added benefit of operating with very little sound when using battery power, offering additional benefits to the railway’s near neighbours. now pull into railway stations with zero emissions under electric traction, and help reduce air pollution in our cities. For me, hybrid traction is currently a very sensible solution in engineering terms, and will enable robust diesel technology to remain in service for a long time to come. Looking ahead, though, I can foresee trains without internal combustion engines, so hybrid is more of a bridging technology, I think. But this particular bridge is a long one, and diesel-powered trains will probably still be around in 30 years' time. After that, I can foresee exciting technologies, such as hydrogen, that will enable trains to run with zero emissions even without overhead contact lines.

We've managed to get our customers excited about hybrid traction.

Lars Kräft - MTU Vice President, Industrial Business Sales
After a long development lead-time, our Hybrid PowerPacks were now absolutely ready for market. Why now? Firstly, the technology has been refined considerably over the past few years – I am thinking in particular of battery technology. Today we can offer significantly more capacity and have made great progress in integrating the battery with the traction system. There is also ever-increasing demand in society for environmentally friendly drive technologies. Added to this – and I am particularly proud of this – is the fact that we've managed to get our customers really enthusiastic about our hybrid traction solutions. Everyone was delighted to be part of this innovative project. Demand is now really high, and I am convinced that Hybrid PowerPacks will soon become the standard traction systems for railcars on non-electrified lines.

The content of the stories reflects the status as of the respective date of publication. They are not updated. Further developments are therefore not taken into account.

Point of Contact

Lars Kräft
Tel.:
+49 7541 90 7007
E-mail:

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