RailCharge - Automated EV Charging on Motorail as Enabler of Electric Mobility

Project: Research project

Project Details


Some of the still unsolved disadvantages of current battery-electric mobility (limited range, long charging times, high energy consumption at high speeds, etc.) lead to only a slow implementation of an area-wide emission-neutral, passenger and cargo transportation. However, the existing train and rail network allows not only a general reduction of specific energy consumption (kWh/kilometer-ton) but also emission-neutral, safe and autonomous travel due to electrified tracks or, more recently, hydrogen technology. RailCharge pursues the goal of coupling these mobility sectors by placing battery electric vehicles on fast-loading, innovative car-transporting trains (motorails) that simultaneously enable automated charging of EV batteries. This concept can solve some of the acute problems of the mobility transition / energy revolution in general, and electric mobility in particular, such as: 1. Insufficient ranges of EVs are bridged by rail kilometers 2. A significant reduction of energy consumption per kilometer-ton is achieved 3. Small EVs with lower battery capacity are more resource-efficient / cost-effective and would then be sufficient even for long distances 4. The collective of vehicle batteries connected to the train allows new operating strategies such as brake energy recuperation or load point shifting of the locomotive (e.g. in the case of hydrogen powered trains) and thus leads to increased overall efficiency 5. Long distances can be covered at greater speed or more safely by rail than by road. The innovative potential of RailCharge is underlined by the fact that no comparable approaches are described in the literature. RailCharge is the first interdisciplinary feasibility study that combines multimodal mobility by merging battery electric vehicles and electrified rail transport, also with respect to vehicular energy flows. Transport planning aspects are taken into account with regard to user behavior and by capturing mobility trends such as autonomous vehicles. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, innovative sub-technologies, such as a fully automatic EV charging interface, wagon topologies, current collector technologies or a mobile H2 power unit are analyzed for adaptability, combinability and suitability for rail transport and entirely new design solution are developed.
Effective start/end date1/10/2130/09/22


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