Wabtec showcases the world’s first electric locomotive that reduces the environmental impact of freight transport. The battery-powered FLXdrive locomotive was used as part of a hybrid system for three months of testing, during which the company was able to reduce the fuel consumption of the entire machine by 11%. This is stated in a press release from the company.
The Wabtec FLXdrive is the world’s first 100% battery powered locomotive to use 18,000 lithium-ion battery cells to power all four axles and use intelligent controls to optimize efficiency. The 2.4-megawatt-hour system can be charged in the depot in the same way as an electric vehicle, but also uses a regenerative braking system to recharge while on the move. For comparison, the best-performing Tesla Model 3 has a power of 75 kWh, which is 32 times less than that of the FLXdrive.
The FLXdrive was tested as part of a hybrid system with conventional diesel powertrains in a three-month test in San Joaquin Valley, California, where it traveled over 21,400 km in hilly terrain. According to Wabtec, an average 11% reduction in fuel consumption was recorded for the entire train, which is equivalent to saving 23.5 thousand liters of diesel fuel or about 69 tons of CO2.
Wabtec hopes to create an even larger and better version, increasing the capacity to over 6 MWh, which it expects could reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 30%.