Emission reduction in diesel-powered commuter trains through the use of an innovative power-split hybrid drive

  example of a two-part multiple-unit diesel train Copyright: © Reinhard Gessen example of a two-part multiple-unit diesel train


There are still significant proportions of non-electrified railway lines in the rail network in the Federal Republic of Germany. These have to be operated using diesel trains. Power-split electrical and mechanical hybrid drives offer great potential in the future to enable pollutant-free train operation in the station area and on tunnel sections and to significantly reduce the fuel consumption of multiple-unit diesel trains.

Research objectives

The objective of this project is the development of a hybrid drive concept for commuter trains, which can be switched between an emission-free, pure electric mode and a diesel-powered electric-power-split mode.

  • Identification of an optimal transmission structure for a multiple-unit commuter train
  • Development of a suitable operating strategy
  • Development of an electrical storage concept
  • Assembly and testing of a demonstrator to validate the drive concept

Research and project partners

  • The Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives, ISEA for short, at RWTH Aachen University
  • ABB Automation Products GmbH
  • ALSTOM Transport Deutschland GmbH
  • Bombardier Transportation GmbH
  • DB Systemtechnik GmbH
  • Kiepe Electric GmbH
  • Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG
  Logo of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Copyright: © BMBF

Promoted by

The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)

  Logo of VDI/VDE Innovation+ Technik GmbH Copyright: © VDI/VDE Innovation+ Technik GmbH

Project sponsor

VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Berlin