Wabtec has announced that its FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive delivered more than an 11 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of 6,200 gallons and 69 tons, respectively.
The 430,000-pound FLXdrive features 18,000 lithium-ion cells with a total capacity of 2.4 MWh. The locomotive charged at the rail yard and recharged during the trip through regenerative braking. The FLXdrive manages the overall train energy flow and distribution through its Trip Optimizer, an AI-based cruise control system programmed to maximize energy-efficiency.
These outcomes are the result of a three-month pilot with BNSF Railway, where the FLXdrive was put to the test in revenue service across more than 13,320 miles of hilly terrain in San Joaquin Valley, California. The region is classified as a nonattainment area, where the air quality is worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
“The FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive is a defining moment for freight rail, and will accelerate the industry toward low- to zero-emission locomotives,” said CTO Eric Gebhardt. “At more than 6 megawatt-hours, Wabtec’s next version of FLXdrive technology will have an opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30 percent.”