You see hybrids everywhere these days. Prius’s dominate the hybrid market and the technology that drives them is very simple. An internal combustion engine charges an electric battery that powers an electric motor. When the car is using a small amount of power, it runs off the electric engine. When more power is desired the car runs off the internal combustion engine. When you want to give it the beans, it uses both. And now this technology is being applied to the new hybrid train!
This technology has yet to be applied to other areas in the transportation industry. The reason for this, there isn’t one. Anything with an internal combustion engine could technically be retrofitted with an electric motor and batteries; becoming a hybrid.
Well, finally it will. A train that runs between Aschaffenburg and Frankfurt in Germany is going to be the first hybrid train.
This huge leap in train technology may be the game changer that the European rail system needed. The hybrid locomotive will use the massive amounts of heat that the its brakes generate to charge electric batteries, these batteries will in turn give the train an extended range.This system has been dubbed KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and generates and stores power from the heat the brakes give off. This is a similar technology to what formula-one race cars use to give them short spurts of extra power. In the locomotives case, it wont be used to overtake but rather prolong the journey.
I look forward to other industries adopting this technology. If airplanes started using solar technology to power small electric engines, imagine how efficient travel would become. imagine if car companies made conversion kits for older model cars to become hybrids, that would be a game changer!