The ICE 4 - the new DB platform

The ICE 4 will be the backbone of the Deutsche Bahn’s future long-distance network. In May 2011, the German national railway company is concluding a framework agreement with Siemens Mobility for up to 300 trainsets. In the initial phase, 130 ICE 4-type trains have been ordered, and beginning in 2017 they will replace the Intercity and Eurocity fleets put into operation between 1971 and 1991. At a later time, it is planned to replace ICE 1 and ICE 2 vehicles. The ICE 4 will then be responsible for roughly 70 percent of Deutsche Bahn’s interurban transport revenue.

Flexible vehicle

The ICE 4 sets new standards in intercity traffic. Together with its partner Bombardier, Siemens has developed a unique concept, that means it can be individually adapted to the requirements of various transport tasks. The modular drive concept is based on independent Powercars with identical traction technology, resulting in more flexibility than ever before. High operational availability is guaranteed by a large number of reliable systems with high redundancy.

The Powercar concept

The ICE 4’s drive concept is based on the so called Powercar concept. To achieve a high degree of modularity and therefore flexibility, the components of the traction system – basically transformer, traction converter, cooler, and four traction motors – are implemented in autonomic, powered identical cars (Powercars) and integrated beneath the cars. All trainset configurations – from five to fourteen cars – are possible within certain framework conditions. This means that the train can be optimally adapted to specific transport tasks in terms of acceleration, speed, and passenger capacity. Even a double traction of two seven-part trainsets to form a 400-meter trainset as per TSI is feasible. Other configurations are also conceivable – for example, modifying the ratio of first-class to second-class seats.

Optimized usable floor space

The ICE 4 is a true world champion when it comes to usable floor space. In only seven cars, it can comfortably accommodate up to 456 (DB Configuration)seats in a 200 meter long train. The individual steel-bodied cars have been lengthened to 28 meters, thereby reducing the number of intercar gangways, components, and bogies while increasing car capacity. Electronics cabinets have been largely eliminated from the interior, and the functional areas have been combined spatially. In addition, new seats are being used with innovative ergonomics and seat kinematics.

Modular interior design

Configuring the ICE 4’s large usable floor space is easy and straightforward, thanks to the emptytube principle. The entire passenger area has a modular layout, so all the furnishings can be varied at will. As a result, last-minute changes to accommodate new requirements can be quickly and easily implemented.

To ensure maximum flexibility, all passenger areas are equipped for easy reconfiguration. They’re specifically designed for railway applications, are stain-resistant, easy to clean, and conform to fire, health, and environmental standards.

Innovative seats provide an especially high degree of interior flexibility. They are mounted on C-rails along which they can be moved: and all the passenger conveniences, including reservation indicators and electrical outlets, are integrated in the seats themselves. First-class seats are also equipped with reading lamps and power sockets.

High travel comfort

Lighting concept

The large panoramic windows (1,924 mm x 780 mm) ensure a well-lit interior and a bright, friendly atmosphere. At the same time, the new daylight detection lighting concept in the passenger area provides bright, uniform illumination even when the luggage racks are full. As in airplanes, an illuminated strip integrated into the floor guides passengers to the exit.


To make travel more enjoyable for those with limited mobility, the ICE 4’s multifunction car provides an area for wheelchairs that is located in direct proximity to a wheelchair lift and roomy universal restroom that conform to TSI PRM standards.


The galley area is roomy, and the glass case is perfectly matched with the ICE 4’s interior design concept, providing a substantial increase in service options. The number of seats in the restaurant is based on the particular type of train and can be flexibly adapted depending on requirements.

Intelligent passenger information

The passenger information system keeps passengers constantly informed – both visually and audibly – of the itinerary and the available services. In different regions, texts and speech can be output in different languages, e.g. German, English, and French. The ICE 4 is equipped for GSM mobile phone and mobile Internet access.

Ecofriendly operation

Despite its high seating capacity, the ICE 4 is relatively lightweight, with a superior weight-to-seat ratio. The ICE 4’s modularity supports train configurations that require as few components as possible. Carefully selected innovations – like the combined use of lightweight trailing bogies with inside bearings and weight-optimized power bogies, and the further refinement of the aerodynamic design – help reduce energy consumption.

International operation

The ICE 4 is perfectly suited for international operation. The basic configurations are designed for use in Germany and Austria, and the ten-car trains are also configured for Switzerland. Trains for other European countries (Netherlands, Denmark, France, Luxemburg, Poland, Czech Republic, and Italy) are available when requested.

Technical data (basic variants)

7-car trainset

12-car trainset

Maximum speed

230 km/h

250 km/h

Train length

200 m

346 m

Voltage system

15 kV / 16.67 Hz

15kV / 16.67 Hz

Number of Powercars



Traction output

4.95 MW

9.9 MW


Air brake with extra regenerative brake, track brake as electro-magnetic track brake

Number of axles

28 (12 driven)

48 (24 driven)

Number of bogles

14 (6 driven)

24 (12 driven)

Axle load

<18 t

<18 t

Number of cars per train




1,435 mm

1,435 mm

Car body

Stahl, 28 m

Stahl, 28 m




Service entry

12 / 2020

12 / 2017

Number of seats (total/first-class)

456 / 77

830 / 205