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Energy-saving hybrid propulsion system using storage–battery technology

Photo of Ki-Ha E200 type hybrid vehicle

As a step toward producing environmentally friendly propulsion systems, Hitachi has supplied a hybrid propulsion system that combines an engine generator, motor, and storage batteries. This system provides regenerative braking which has not been previously possible on conventional diesel-powered trains, and enables increased energy savings via regenerated energy.

Hitachi has developed this hybrid propulsion system jointly with East Japan Railway Company (JR-East) for the application to next-generation diesel cars. Hitachi and JR-East have carried out the performance trials of the experimental vehicles with this hybrid propulsion system, which is known as NE@train.
Based on the successful results of this performance trial, Ki-Ha E200 type vehicle entered into the world's first commercial operation of a train installed with the hybrid propulsion system in July 2007*. With the effective use of the energy such as the regenerative energy stored into the storage battery in braking, this train has achieved the following performance on the Koumi Line compared to the convensional diesel trains;

  1. 10% improvement of fuel consumption
  2. 60% reduction of the hazardous substances in engine exhaust
  3. 30db reduction of noise in stopping at the station

Hitachi has further developed a high-capacity hybrid propulsion system for high-speed trains. This aim is to improve fuel consumption, to be used mainly in the DEL (Diesel Electric Locomotive) and DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).
Its features include the boosting function of the storage battery for the high-pressure DC part, and the brake chopper to achieve the stable release/charge of the regenerative electricity.
Hitachi has carried out performance trials for the hybrid propulsion system with the collaboration of rail companies. Hitachi's hybrid propulsion system was installed in conventional high-speed locomitive and used for the trial. The experimental train was called "HAYABUSA" and has operated all around the United Kingdom for performance trials (May 2007-2008).
"Features" listed below explains the characteristics of NE@train and Ki-Ha E200 type hybrid vehicle.

*Diesel Hybrid System with Lithium-Ion Battery. This train runs on the Koumi Line in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.