Fully Charged Checks Out A Battery Powered Train – Video

DEC 27 2017 BY MARK KANE 15

Robert Llewellyn recently had the unique experience of driving a train… a battery-powered train.

Battery Powered Train | Fully Charged

The demonstrator vehicle, equipped with a 90 kWh / 180 kWh battery pack from Valence, is tested at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre by company called VivaRail.

VivaRail intends to offer conversions of the old Class 230 trains to electric, by replacing the generator with a battery equal in size.

After the Tesla Semi unveiling and announcement of 500 miles (800 km) of range with payload, we are wondering whether battery improvements will now lead to electric trains at some point in the future?

“The future of trains? With many train lines in the U.K. not electrified, we still run diesel powered rolling stock. Noisy and dirty.

Earlier this year Robert took a gentle trip on an experimental battery powered train produced by an innovative company called VivaRail. They have started developing a simple solution to this problem, recycled battery trains.

Get your slippers on, release your dead man’s handle and prepare yourself for some lovely old bogies.”

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15 Comments on "Fully Charged Checks Out A Battery Powered Train – Video"

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This system would work out nicely for short line and branch line railroads. There are a lot of railroad lines shorter then 60 miles in rural and urban areas that could use this.

Battery trains are an interesting idea for the US as well. If you could cover the long distances from town to town, some sort of charging infrastructure at each town center could give a boost charge to the battery.

It’s an interesting thought to electrify the US, given that running electrical lines the full distance of rail is cost prohibitive.

I rode on the London Underground and one thing I always thought was weird and unsettling is how the lights would flicker on and off at certain places. The first time that happened, I thought the train was breaking down on us. I guess the usual trains don’t have any sort of power storage at all, so if they get a hiccup in the power from the overhead lines (or rails, or wherever it comes from) then everything temporarily loses power. Hopefully this setup would prevent that.

Yep, seems like you’d need such a meager amount of storage to keep the lights on between sections.

lithium phosphate iron battery… pretty sure those are at the lower end of energy density of the types of lithium but it is generally regarded as safer and i think has better cycling performance

thought it was odd when the engineering director said that

And could be complement with PV solar panels

Electric + Solar PV panels.

Among all modes of Transport, Railways has the highest electrification thru overhead catenary or 3rd rail.

Now with fast charging batteries, a charging system can be mounted in a station 100 miles apart and can be fast charged when the train stops there and it can continue to run on battery until it reaches the next station or charging spot.

This way the batteries and the charging stations can be combined for the best result.

Way to go. I hope every railway company / organization takes a look at this.

This thing would work really well on the tourist circuits, zoos usually have such trains to ferry the visitors around.fixed route city centre to suburban lines. You could have charging at every stop. Even if there is a 2 minute stoppage at every station and 10 minute stoppages at origin and source station, you could run this on battery power perpetually. Conversion too is very easy as in a diesel electric, all the bits and pieces are already there and all you have to do is put in the battery and charging equipment and throw out the diesel generator.
All that remains is the economics. Hopefully with the battery prices falling rapidly we hope the economics too would become favourable.

I just took a local train trip. The stops were more like half a minute. I don’t see how any charging could be done in that time.

With a 30C charge rate, you could replenish 25% of the battery in that half a minute. That’s nothing to sneeze at and it’s not impossible.

Battery-powered trains suddenly seem obvious!

I can also imagine these serving as mobile energy storage units, perhaps rented wherever extra energy is needed.

There’s probably all sorts of innovations around the world trying to improve the sustainability of traditional forms of transport. Readers might like this one too


Not being familiar with the terrain, but I’d imagine regenerative braking would come in handy for trains in general.

regen braking on freight traiins would require that every car be self-powered with an electric motor-generator, as every car contributes to the braking. Having self-powered cars would also help with train management and control, as the “string’tension” at up-hill curves that can pull cars right off the tracks could be minimized. Many trains have gone to push-pull arrangements with locomotives at either end and even sometimes in the middle of the train to reduce that issue