Modern electric locomotives have long been highly efficient and therefore kinder to the environment. Our Eurosprinters play a substantial role in the eco-friendly transport of freight and passengers in daily deployment throughout all of Europe. Prominent examples of this are trans-Alpine traffic and the "Bosporus" Express with its efficient routes through six countries. Despite all the progress achieved to date, there is still always potential for further improvements in the details: improvements that we have already made to Vectron.
Huge potential in regenerative braking
Conventional electric locomotives of older design are not generally capable of using braking energy for generating electricity. By contrast, Eurosprinter is able to feed this energy back into the supply system. The success of this concept is demonstrated in this example from Slovenia, where Siemens delivered 32 locomotives of type ES64U4 to Slovenian National Railways. The locomotive control system records the energy taken from the power supply system and the amount of energy fed back into the system. An analysis showed an average feedback quota of at least 16 percent, which means that about one journey in every six is cost-free. Vectron is consistently applying this technology wherever possible, enabling worthwhile potential energy savings depending on topology and driving patterns. At present, about 40 percent of locomotives in Germany and nearly 100 percent in Poland do not have the capability to recover braking energy. Working on the basis of an average energy saving of about 15 percent through regenerative braking, and assuming for the sake of simplicity that the proportion of old locomotives in Europe is still 50 percent, deploying Vectron across all of Europe could reduce the energy requirement for locomotive-hauled rail transport by a total of 7.5 percent.
Increased electric braking effort
Vectron electric locomotives offer an electric braking effort up to 240 kN as an option. In Europe, an electric braking effort of 150 kN is typical, and in a number of countries up to 240 kN is permitted. This means that on line sections with steep gradients, for example in the Alps, it is possible to do without air brakes so that the braking energy generated can be fed back into the supply system. In addition to the efficiency advantage, this also reduces the noise level as well as dust pollution caused by abrasion of the brake linings.
Supporting an energy-optimized driving style
The greatest energy saving can be achieved through an efficient driving style. The train driver, like a car driver, can significantly reduce energy consumption by planning ahead when trains are traveling: calculations demonstrate a savings potential of over 20 percent. In the Vectron, drivers have a consumption indicator on the display as standard equipment to help optimize their driving behavior.
Even though a locomotive is meant to be in constant motion, there are occasional standstill times. Vectron's software includes an optional feature for reducing the power input to auxiliary equipment at standstill. If the drivers can see that the standstill will be of long duration, they can activate the energy-saving mode using the display.
Optimized air flow in the traction motor air duct and motor
The Vectron also has on-demand control of auxiliary equipment among its features. Thanks to optimization measures, it was possible to substantially reduce the pressure drob in the cooling air flow in the traction motor air duct and in the motor itself, and as a result reduce the required installed power of the traction motor blower by more than 30 percent compared with the ES64U4.
Optimized distribution of cooling air in the engine compartment
The cooling air flow needed in the Vectron has been reduced by 40 percent compared with type ES64U4, thanks to calculations and subsequent optimization. This means that 40 percent less dust, dirt and humidity enter the engine compartment. The power requirement for the installed blowers can also be decreased accordingly.