Bombardier Introduces Talent 3 Battery-Operated Train

SEP 13 2018 BY MARK KANE 28

Bombardier develops battery-electric trains.

Progress in lithium-ion batteries enables some firms to think about making trains battery-electric instead of the typical series-hybrids.

Bombardier recently presented the Talent 3, which according to the press release, is the first of its kind to enter passenger operation in Europe in over 60 years.

The first prototype has a range of 40 km (25 miles), but the second one scheduled for 2019 will go 100 km (62 miles) on a single charge.

The range is not as high as in case of electric cars, although trains can recharge the batteries from an overhead line while driving on many lines. In Germany, for example, around 40% of the rail network is not electrified, which means that a battery-electric train could operate partially off-grid and perhaps part on.

Another advantage is the regenerative braking capability, normally difficult to do when there is no on-board battery and electricity would need to be sent back to the grid.

The Technical University of Dresden says that a battery-operated train clearly has an edge with respect to the total costs across the service life of 30 years.

Press blast:

“Emission-free, energy-efficient and low-noise – the new battery-operated train from Bombardier Transportation, introduced to the public for the first time today, scores with these features. A group maiden voyage with the BOMBARDIER TALENT 3 electro-hybrid train was the highlight of the press event at Bombardier’s Hennigsdorf site. The guests included Enak Ferlemann, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and Federal Commissioner for Rail Transport as well as the Brandenburg Transport Minister Kathrin Schneider.

“We want to continue to electrify rail transport. A train that can charge its batteries from the overhead line while driving is a huge step toward this and the epitome of innovation,” the State Secretary stated. “On non-electrified or only partially electrified routes, the motto is: move away from diesel on the tracks and toward cleaner and more environmentally-friendly mobility.”

The new battery-operated train is the first of its kind to enter passenger operation in Europe in over 60 years. It does not generate any exhaust and sets the standards for smart mobility with peak values of 90 percent in the areas of efficiency and recyclability. It does not generate any exhaust and sets the standards for smart mobility with peak values of 90 percent in the areas of efficiency and recyclability. It is also around 50 percent quieter than modern diesel trains. According to a comparative study by the Technical University of Dresden, the battery-operated train clearly has an edge with respect to the total costs across the service life of 30 years.

“With our new battery-operated train, we are putting real innovation on the tracks,” says Michael Fohrer, Head of Bombardier Transportation in Germany. “This train is Bombardier’s technological response to challenges such as air pollution, climate change and scarcity of resources. Around 40 percent of the German rail network is not electrified. The Bombardier battery-operated train is an attractive option to counter that, both economically and ecologically speaking.”

In general, the prospects for the battery-operated train are positive. The range increases proportionally with the continuous capacity increases due to new battery developments. The current prototype is equipped with four BOMBARDIER MITRAC traction batteries and can travel routes of around 40 kilometres – in 2019, the next generation of battery-operated trains will be able to cover distances of up to 100 kilometres on non-electrified railways. In 2019, Deutsche Bahn (DB) will start a twelve-month trial run with passengers with the current prototype in the Alb-Lake Constance region.

The development of the battery-operated train is subsidised by the German federal government in the framework of an innovation program for electromobility with four million euros. The project partners include the DB Regio subsidiary DB ZugBus Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee (regional transport for the Lake Constance region), Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg Regional Transport Company) and the Nationale Organisation Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) and the Technical University of Berlin.”

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28 Comments on "Bombardier Introduces Talent 3 Battery-Operated Train"

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Very cool! Of course electromobilty has been around on rails basically for ever, but it’s nice to see that modern batteries and fuel cells are making electric operation possible on lines where the investment for conventional electrification wouldn’t otherwise be worthwhile.
And yes, when it comes to boats, ships, planes, tractors, trains etc, I refuse to call them “fool cells”.

HFC trains are also on the move. Batteries make sense If recharging time and range are not issues, Hydrogen makes more sense if these things are issues. HFC technology is also improving and becoming more economical.

Since there is so much hydrogen available and since it is so clean, we’d be foolish to toss HFC technology aside when solid-state batteries finally arrive.

Hydrogen fuel makes sense only in very limited niche applications, where energy efficiency and cost are not important considerations.

Hydrogen fuel is great for large booster rockets, and for fuel cell powered unmanned underwater drones. Using it to power trains would be wasteful, expensive, and foolish, just as it is when used to power fool cell cars.

How do you propose electrifying the entire Gahn rail in Australia, or the Canadian Pacific lines? There are hundreds of lines that would be cost prohibitive to electrify and are in locations where batteries just wouldn’t work (due to remote location and length. They’ll either stay hydrocarbon fuelled or need a different technology. HFC is a good option for them.

Fuel cell trains can also have pantograph to charge wherever the overhead traction is there and in other routes, run on hydrogen. The same motor can be used whether it runs on electricity or hydrogen.

Maybe you meant hydrogen “can be” clean, as today it is made with fossil fuels

Wiring the high traffic main tracks and using batteries for shorter branch lines makes perfect sense.

The US should do the same thing with Interstates and major state highways. Wire a one-mile section every 10 miles or so. Trucks can use battery power to “hop” from one wired section to the next and for local roads at their destination.

If you put the wires in a roadside “guardrail”, like Honda proposes, then cars and light trucks can use the same system. But Semi trucks are the big winners. Instead of the 5000 kg, $150k+ Tesla Semi megabattery, use a 1500 kg, $30k high C rate battery. You save $120k upfront vs. Tesla and can haul more revenue-producing payload without the range limitation. Upfront cost and weight are slightly less than diesel even, with much lower operating costs, making it a no brainer for fleets

“If you put the wires in a roadside ‘guardrail’, like Honda proposes, then cars and light trucks can use the same system.”

Why limit charging to a single lane of a multi-lane road or highway?

Overhead charging lines are ugly and not terribly efficient, but at least they’re practical and can be run above multiple lanes almost as easily as a single lane.

This is on rural highways. Two lanes each way, left one is for passing.

It is either upfront costs for a Tesla or other Electric Semi, for the User, or upfront costs for the roadway, and such trucks can’t yet go where those upfront costs have not been invested!

True, but wire systems are ~$1 million/mile. 50k Interstate miles plus 50k for the major state highways is 100k miles total. Wire up 1 mile out of 10 on each side and it’s $20 billion total.

A million long haul Semi trucks with $150k batteries is $150 billion. Megachargers aren’t cheap, either.

Whether it’s a guard rail or an overhead solution, doing an electric transmission line on a highway is not the best choice, because battery powered long range solutions are available. In addition wear and tear at the contacts to the car will result in a lot of particulate dust, and dirty up the surrounding. Also, contact parts are another piece to replace. A guardrail is a nightmare when there are people on the road after e.g. an accident, or animals have entered somehow, or the lane is blocked due to construction. Last but not least, it takes one drunk driver and a bit of bad luck to knock out the system by hitting at the right angle (or a terrorist with a saw to bring down the pole it is fixed to). Overhead solutions are perfect for railway, as there is one vehicle every few minutes max, not every second. The battery powered train is perfect for the short connecting railway lines in rural European areas that have no electrification in place yet and are not frequented much (for 10 trains a day in each direction, it would be a large expense to electrify e.g. 30 km of track). Trains… Read more »

Battery powered long range solutions are not available for trucking yet, and it’s not clear Tesla’s approach makes economic sense. EV Semis that cost less upfront than diesel while offering more payload make overwhelming sense, though, so adoption would be rapid.

I don’t know much about particulate dust. This is for rural areas, so you’re not coating city buildings or anything, but it’d need study.

If one section is out due to construction or accident you just proceed to the next.

It’s a pretty pathetic terrorist target, lol.

Infrastructure costs are just too high. Who pays for it? Trucking companies? Good luck with that. Governments? Good luck there also.

At $1 million per mile it’s a $20 billion project. We spend that much every few months on oil imports. What government spending can offer similar ROI?

I could even see Tesla getting into the rail market. With trains it would seem that you could convert rolling stock into locomotives by putting batteries and Model 3 motors into each rail car. Control them electronically. Charging might become more difficult though. Imagine the regenerative braking advantage in a train? It would be huge.

Putting 2 – 3 Model 3 motors into every rail car makes very good sense. When the car is empty, just these motors will be able to provide traction, when they are full, the extra power can come from locomotive.

While I can understand a theoretical purpose for a battery powered train to “hop from one wired section to the next” as Doggydogworld said, it would seem a much more practical system to simply add in power lines in the gaps instead of investing in multiple expensive battery systems. Many (most?) rail lines have electric power anyway, so I don’t see the need for a battery powered train.

“Many (most?) rail lines have electric power anyway” – In Europe, sure, but not so much in USA or Canada!

Higher traffic lines are wired in Europe. But it gets too expensive for less frequently used lines, or if you need to rebuild bridges to accommodate overhead harness. Millions per mile, plus maintenance. The trend is to cancel new electrification projects and go with newer bi-mode diesel-electric or hydrogen trains that are just cheaper overall, do not create visual nuisance and so may have better cost/benefit ratio on such lines.

This train system can run 100 miles without overhead lines. 100 miles of lines is expensive in installation and upkeep. Did you read the “In Germany, for example, around 40% of the rail network is not electrified” statement?

Because electrifying the tracks that don’t have lines already costs billions and causes significant delays/capacity issues during transition. It could work out cheaper to use battery electric trains than to deal with the hassle.

I like the prospects. One concern is all that weight up high on the cars. Too high for center of gravity.

Modular battery packs in drawers that slide out beliw the floor seem a better way to me. The issue there is baggage storage needed at platform level.

Hybrid trains could work in the vast stretches of North America, as long as the non battery & regen parts aren’t fuelled by hydrocarbons.

What’s astonishing is that in Montréal, Québec (where Bombardier is based) we still have short distance commuter trains that RUN ON DIESEL…. only 1 out of the 6 suburban commuter train lines in Montréal is an electrified train line. They’re been “exploring the project” of electrifying the other 5 train lines for the past 15 years. Meanwhile we continue to inhale diesel fumes in Montreal’s central station downtown, in 2018. Instead of using our 100% renewable, local, dirt cheap electricity.
Total lack of political leadership, it’s retarded.

However Quebec is putting in 1700 L3 chargers, right?

Battery powered trains make the best case. In every station there can be a charging rail placed in between 2 rails and when the train stops, an arm from the base of the train can touch the charging rail and quick charge the batteries and this will ensure that the trains are constantly charged to go beyond the 50 km battery range. During idle night time, the battery can be slow charged to 100% and similarly during lunch time also the batteries can be charged.

Overhead traction is very expensive as pillars has to be mounted on either side and on the top to hold the cables. A 3rd rail in the center with a wedge where only the arm of the train can go in and draw the power should be used. This way people/vehicles who may walk/drive over the 3rd rail will not be impacted.

Again the entire route need not be electrified, the battery powered trains can draw power and charge their batteries wherever the 3rd rail is there. So every alternative km of track can be electrified and a train will charge its batteries on that distance and then run on batteries where there is no 3rd rail.