Trains.com

Big batteries to power our trains

4177 views
79 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2016
  • 1,257 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, November 21, 2021 4:51 PM

Zugman he leases the cars is able to use them as a legitimate business expense.  However the cost of recharging the batteries was higher than his buying the gas and paying for the oil changes on the regular gas powered cars.  Or as he told me when I asked him yesterday why he got rid of the EV's he had them in the winter of 2018-19 and there where days when the cars literally had ZERO range to run with fully charged batteries as cold as it got up here in Illinois that winter.  So why did he get rid of the cars.  They could not withstand a cold midwestern winter at all.  

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,595 posts
Posted by zugmann on Sunday, November 21, 2021 5:04 PM

I mean, it's a nice anecdote. Don't think it means much in the future of EVs, though.

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Flyover Country
  • 3,622 posts
Posted by York1 on Sunday, November 21, 2021 5:04 PM

I don't know much about electric cars.  About the only contact with one I have is that a daughter living in Dallas has a Tesla.

I've wondered how they would work in our area.  Even though we are halfway between Canada and Mexico, last year we had days of 35° below zero.

Are the battery cars' mileage reduced just because of the cold, let alone running a heater the entire time?

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • 2,740 posts
Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Sunday, November 21, 2021 7:23 PM

zugmann

I mean, it's a nice anecdote. Don't think it means much in the future of EVs, though.

 

You have an electric car?  How cold does it get where you live?  What is your experience with the range of your car?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
  • Member since
    April 2016
  • 1,257 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, November 21, 2021 7:36 PM

My brother has an EV and he lives in the Chicago area.  I called him up and asked him what the range is like in the winter.  He goes that car sits in the garage come any weather below 10 degrees as it does not have the range to freaking get him to work and home if he tries to take it.  He works less than 30 miles away.  He owns a Tesla model 3.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,595 posts
Posted by zugmann on Sunday, November 21, 2021 8:34 PM

---

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,697 posts
Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, November 21, 2021 9:41 PM

I wonder if the people in those Anecdolts used things like pre-conditioning and Scheduled departure to minimize use of the battery when it isn't needed?  Switched to chill driving mode etc etc etc.

You don't drive a truck the way you drive a compact car and you don't drive an electric the way you drive a gas car. Hopfully they took the time to understand the features designed to improve winter performance. 

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • 61 posts
Posted by Ed Kyle on Sunday, November 21, 2021 10:07 PM

The way I see it, locomotives already generate electricity that is wasted.  A battery-electric locomotive will capture that wasted energy (or part of it) for motive power use.  The waste comes when dynamic braking is used, which turns the electric drive motors into generators.  The resulting electrical energy is dissipated in dynamic braking resistors rather than using it to charge batteries, which would occur in a hybrid motive power set.

My guess is that creating diesel/battery locomotive sets will also provide another way to meet emissions standards.

 - Ed Kyle

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,859 posts
Posted by rdamon on Monday, November 22, 2021 8:15 AM

Talking to a EV owner as well as a dealer they mentioned that running the A/C was more efficent than running the heater. They said the trip computer would drop the range greater when the heat would turn on. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,963 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 22, 2021 9:33 AM

rdamon
Talking to a EV owner as well as a dealer they mentioned that running the A/C was more efficient  than running the heater. They said the trip computer would drop the range greater when the heat would turn on.

Strange... that's a failure of vision.  Shouldn't be a problem to implement a small electric heat pump with reversing valves, or provide a split system with double compressors for 'climate control' modulating hot and cold airflow in ducts if that kind of complex 'bilevel' circulation is to be a feature.

Of course much of the load would be provided in a practical hybrid vehicle via exhaust heat from the fuel cells and cooling heat for the battery and motor/inverter system.  There is careful heat management on Tesla Model S and P90/100 that is dumped to  heat exchange at the front at present; some percentage of this could easily be recuperated using a heat pump...

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,963 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 22, 2021 10:49 AM

Backshop
What if there aren't any grades or the entire run is uphill?

There are ridiculously few routes anywhere in America that don't have reversing grade changes, or speed changes, both of which can benefit from extended-range dynamic for most train handling.

The sensible presumption is either that the FLXdrive is coupled between two mothers, as in the tested road configuration, or as a cabs-out pair with one mother.  All 12 or 18 motors would be used for regenerative braking (the Carnegie-Mellon database alone would give necessary route anticipation) and output of the prime movers (which can be any combination of B100 biodiesel for zero-net-carbon or carrier blue hydrogen with sequestration for zero carbon) helps accelerate and handle the train  as desired -- giving fast acceleration even with long loading time for low pollution.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • 2,740 posts
Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, November 22, 2021 6:39 PM

Overmod

 

 
rdamon
Talking to a EV owner as well as a dealer they mentioned that running the A/C was more efficient  than running the heater. They said the trip computer would drop the range greater when the heat would turn on.

 

Strange... that's a failure of vision.  Shouldn't be a problem to implement a small electric heat pump with reversing valves, or provide a split system with double compressors for 'climate control' modulating hot and cold airflow in ducts if that kind of complex 'bilevel' circulation is to be a feature.

 

Of course much of the load would be provided in a practical hybrid vehicle via exhaust heat from the fuel cells and cooling heat for the battery and motor/inverter system.  There is careful heat management on Tesla Model S and P90/100 that is dumped to  heat exchange at the front at present; some percentage of this could easily be recuperated using a heat pump...

 

 

I believe the Model Y is equipped with a heat pump.

The question I have is why not use the energy source best matched to requirements?

From an energy-efficiency standpoint, electric is advantageous in handling part-load operation of traction power well, of which there is a lot of in both automobile as well as train operation.

Electric is really an inefficient source of heat, especially without a heat pump and even with a heat pump if it gets cold enough.

An optimal arrangement may be to use batteries for traction power, a catalytic gasoline heater for warming and the occupants and perhaps even for keeping the batteries warm.  Maybe this would be optimal in a plug-in hybrid car where you are already supplying part of the power from gasoline?  But with an electric car, this would undercut "zero carbon" bragging rights?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,073 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, November 22, 2021 11:19 PM

Paul Milenkovic

An optimal arrangement may be to use batteries for traction power, a catalytic gasoline heater for warming and the occupants and perhaps even for keeping the batteries warm.  Maybe this would be optimal in a plug-in hybrid car where you are already supplying part of the power from gasoline?  But with an electric car, this would undercut "zero carbon" bragging rights?

Maybe even put some thermocouples between the gas heater and the interioor of the car to get a little extra range? Saying this in only half in jest.

An RTG would be another heat source/range extender, but wouldn't want anything to do with a safety analysis. May reprocess some fuel and segregate the beta emitting and low energy gamma emitting nuclides from the rest.

  • Member since
    April 2016
  • 1,257 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 8:44 AM

The biggest issue with all battery power is this.  They have a fixed amount of power in the cell that can be drawn from then your forced to recharge it.  That power has to be used to do everything in the device it's put into.  Now with an internal combustion engine while the fuel we can carry on board is limited by weight overall it carries more useful energy than any battery has currently.  A kw of batteries has 3412 BTU of power.  A gallon of diesel is 139000 BTU.   Also we have developed technology that allows us to heat the interior of a vehicle with the waste heat from the engines.  So instead of using the same power needed to move the machine in the winter we take the heat created from burning the fuel to heat the cab.  

For those that think I don't have my numbers right here's the breakdown for what the numbers are and my source. 

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/energy-content-d_868.html  

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,073 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:54 PM

Keeping in mind that a car/truck size diesel engine will convert about a third of the chemical energy in the fuel to mechanical energy. Figure maybe 15kW-hrs per gallon of diesel fuel. A high efficiency electric motor can convert 95% or more of the electrical energy into mechanical energy.

The bad news is that the more efficient an electric drivetrain is, the less waste heat available for heating the interior of the vehicle. Bottom line is that battery EV's will have problems with very cold weather.

For some reason this brings up Pullman's and EMD's attempts at using waste heat from the prime mover on the M1000 for train heating, ended up going to a Vapor Clarkson steam generator. Along those lines, one potential advantage of a gast turbine passenger locomotive would have been using the exhaust heat from the engine to generate steam for heating and cooling.

  • Member since
    April 2016
  • 1,257 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 5:07 PM

The newest generation of OTR diesels are getting over 45% of their energy conversion into mechanical thanks to the variable vane turbos that are coming out plus improvements in the head and piston designs.  Also batteries are not that steady 95% efficent over their lifetime.  If they were we would never need to replace car and truck batteries that get recharged by the alternator in a car or truck now would we.  Most batteries wear out over time and it can be a sharp fall off.  I know I see it in my own cordless power tools at home.  My hubbies 20V drill will run down the older battery in an hour if he is doing a major project but the newest one last him 3 hours or longer.  They are seperated in age by about 3 years.  So just how much range is a EV going to lose over time is the big question.  Sorry but in our fleet the older trucks have lost maybe 20 miles over the 750K miles we have them in our fleet on their 200 gallons of fuel.  We can live with that.  But if a EV loses say 100 miles of range out of it's battery base charge in the service life and it costs 2K for the part and the labor to replace that is not going to be worth the expense to replace.  

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • 175 posts
Posted by Psychot on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:04 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

NY Post good freaking enough for YOU Charlie or are they to far to the CENTER for you.  Biden might close Michigan pipeline, White House admits (nypost.com) 

 

This should tell you just how out of TOUCH this administration is with the American people.  Anyone remember what Obama said to Trump when he said he was going to Lower Gas Prices what was the Magic Wand he was going to wave.  Simple Trump knew if he released the American worker to drill oil prices would drop.  These idiots think they have ZERO power to control what OPEC does.  Hello all OPEC has seen from them is stopping America in less than 1 year from being an energy exporter to needing OPEC again.  This is the current Energy Secrertary LAUGHING when asked bascially if drilling for our own oil in the USA would lower gas prices.  Biden's Energy Secretary Laughs When Asked About Increasing Oil Production (msn.com)  

 

Donald? Is that you?

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 892 posts
Posted by mvlandsw on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:33 PM

Didn't the PRR GG1's use an oil fired boiler for train heat even though they had unlimited electric power available?

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • 2,740 posts
Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, November 25, 2021 8:12 AM

mvlandsw

Didn't the PRR GG1's use an oil fired boiler for train heat even though they had unlimited electric power available?

 

Yes, the GG1 design dates from olden times when sensible engineering decisions were made.

Besides, if it didn't have an oil-burning train-heat boiler, how could model train maker MTH get away with putting a smoke unit in their version?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
  • Member since
    April 2016
  • 1,257 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:22 AM

The average OTR engine over its million mile life before it gets an overhaul might lose a tenth of a MPG over that time.  However I have yet to see a battery pack in even a hybrid maintain their original range for that long.  I am hearing of some of the first Tesla's sold that have lost 25-35% of their range due to degradation of the battery packs.  That and getting parts for say a Cummins engine is a lot easier than Teslas as Tesla refuses to allow anyone but them to supply parts for their cars at all inculding the freaking windshields.   

 

This Wabtec battery locomotive might be something nice to have in say helper service why there.  Well inbetween shoves they can recharge the battery for fuel savings instead of 2 locomotives running at 4400HP pushing up a hill they can only use 1 doing the job and the other is basically a road slug that can shove at speed.  But with modern DPU setup's helpers are about gone.  CN might love these for their land barges that they love to run and here is why.  1 engine one battery locomotive same TE as 2 powered units and even at notch 8 still burns less fuel than 2 engines cut back.  

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy