Audi goes loco for lower carbons
Three commercial vehicles used by Germany’s top car makers
IN July Merc announced its plans to build a bakkie, while BMW went one better and started testing its first electric truck on short routes in Munich.
Now Audi has seen both BMW’s lil’ lorry and Merc’s ute, and raised the stakes with a massive hybrid locomotive.
Yep, you’d be forgiven for thinking the traditional German truimverate have gone loco, or at least mad for the heavy stuff.
Granted, Audi did not build its locomotive. But then, neither does Merc plan to build its bakkie from scratch — a Nissan NP300 will donate the chassis. And BMW got a German automotive service provider, the Scherm group, and the Dutch manufacturer Terberg to build that Beemer truck. (And could they really not make it look any better than the average luggage pullers we see at airports?)
Audi opted to contract the world’s leading train puller Alstom to match a locomotive to the needs of its factory. After all, Volkswagen already uses Alstom, so they must be good, right?
Ralf Materzok, managing director in charge of locomotive services at Alstom in Germany, said in a statement: “Alstom is pleased to count Audi amongst our H3 customers, after Deutsche Bahn and Volkswagen. The benefits of our newly developed shunting locomotive platform are multiple: the H3 is environmentally friendly, compact and powerful in terms of tractive force on starting. On top of this, the innovative hybrid traction allows us to reduce energy cost significantly.”
In the same statement, Johann Schmid, operations manager for Audi’s industrial railroad at Ingolstadt, said the Alstom locomotives would save more than half the 20 litres of diesel trucks used per hour, as the generator of the hybrid locomotive needs only nine litres per hour to charge the battery pack.
Living the dream of every model train set builder, Schmid gets to play on 18 km of railway at the plant, managing the unloading of 15 goods trains as they arrive with pressed parts, engines and transmissions, as well complete Audi cars from other plants.
He said a single plant locomotive carries out up to 75 shunting manoeuvres every day. The new locomotive runs for up to two hours on its battery pack inside the plant buildings. The batteries can be recharged with CO2-free electricity when the train is parked, but while rolling a big dirty diesel generator loads those Watts.
Still, it uses less diesel and emits about half the CO2 of a normal diesel locomotive, saving the plant up to 60 tons less CO2 each year.
Audi said this is another step towards making the Ingolstadt factory CO2-neutral.
BMW is justifiably proud of the emission savings its electric truck has compared to diesel trucks. Pity no designers were involved in its exterior appearance.
Audi’s plant at Ingolstadt will save lots of diesel each day with a hybrid locomotive.