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Rail Stories

Subsystems: sustainability behind the scenes

Each day we are faced with small decisions that all add up to success or failure. Indulge in dessert or go to the gym? Spring for the extra legroom or cram into a smaller seat? Invest in strong IT infrastructure or cut corners with your business's network? In the rail industry, as in life, everything is a compromise between quick-wins and long-term success. 

That's where our subsystems come in.  Everyone loves innovative vehicles; we enjoy their speed, sleek lines and bright livery. They are the closest connection humans have to rail transport and it makes sense that we give them our attention. But hiding just beneath a vehicle’s carbody is a range of intelligent and hardworking subsystems and components that, when added up, spell the difference between failure and success, between being part of the climate change problem or part of the solution. 

Here’s how our subsystems and our focus on details are helping operators improve operations and meet their sustainable mobility goals.

Cutting energy consumption with components

In addition to cutting operating costs and emissions, the EBI Drive supports smooth operation, further reducing track, wheel and engine wear and tear.

Applicable to nearly all types of rail vehicles, our BOMBARDIER EBI Drive system is a single component that empowers operators to reduce energy consumption and emissions. 

This user-friendly software system uses data to help support drivers in optimizing the vehicle's operation. The system calculates a range of digital inputs, from track topography, timetables, and properties to the vehicle's performance, route and current time to provide drivers the information they need to optimize their acceleration, speed and braking actions - cutting down on the total energy a fleet needs to operate.

Did you know that our EBI Drive 50 can reduce a vehicle's traction energy needs by 15 per cent?

Battle of the scale

Weight is probably the most relevant factor for a train's performance, and reducing weight is a great way to lower a vehicle's energy consumption and improve its ecological profile. But we all know that losing weight isn’t as easy as it sounds. Trains need to be reinforced for safety, they need to have robust redundant safety systems and they need to rely on strong propulsion systems to carry it all. 

BOMBARDIER FLEXX Eco bogies increase a fleet's sustainability by reducing a train's weight.  With its compact and lightweight design, it enables a 30 per cent decrease in bogie mass weight and a 25 per cent reduction in unsprung mass when compared to conventional bogies. 

Additionally, the FLEXX Eco bogie lowers maintenance costs by ensuring the wheels and brakes are easily accessible. As a result, total lifecycle costs are slashed up to 25 per cent. 

Aside from reducing track wear, the FLEXX Eco bogie’s reduced
unsprung mass can also extend the time between maintenance intervals. 

Proven through nearly 1,000 global applications. Today, the FLEXX Eco bogie is being manufactured for our MOVIA C30 metro vehicles in Stockholm and our INNOVIA metro trains in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Reduce vehicle weight with Silicon Carbide technology

Fifty-one per cent smaller and 22 per cent lighter than conventional traction converters, our innovative MITRAC Power 1500 traction converter, when equipped with Silicon Carbide (SiC) semiconductors, is another subsystem that can significantly lower operators' emissions and energy consumption. 

Our SiC-equipped MITRAC Power 1500 traction converter offers railway operators around the world sustainable value at a sustainable cost. At an event held at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, our joint research program celebrated the success of our new SiC technology on Stockholm’s C20 vehicle. From left to right: Hans-Peter Nee, KTH, Thore Sekkenes, Bombardier Transportation, Mikael Östling, KTH, Robert Lagnebäck, SLL, Anders Lewald, Energimyndigheten and Magnus Forsen, Bombardier Transportation.

After initial research into the benefits of SiC technology, our engineering centre in Västerås, Sweden developed a prototype. Next, the project equipped a Stockholm C20 metro with the MITRAC Power 1500 traction converter and began testing it on the Stockholm Metro Green line. Results showed energy reductions of up to 35 per cent and 19 dB (roughly the sound of a gas-powered lawnmower) lower noise emissions and proved that SiC semiconductor technology was indeed another tool to help the rail industry meet its sustainability targets.

TALENT 3 prototype with MITRAC traction battery in Hennigsdorf, Germany

MITRAC traction batteries

Our MITRAC Pulse traction batteries offer an environmentally-friendly mobility solution and can be added to various trains ranging from high-speed and commuter to regional and automated people mover systems (APMs). Trains with our low-emission battery technology can already operate catenary-free for distances up to 100 kilometres. 

For example, we delivered 15 catenary-free trams with our MITRAC traction batteries, in partnership with one of our Chinese joint ventures, for the city of Nanjing in China. Today, Nanjing’s trams can operate on 90 per cent of its lines without overhead cables, re-charging seamlessly during passenger service.

Fast facts: Bombardier's sustainable mobility subsystems

15% lower traction energy needed with EBI Drive 50

1,000 successful FLEXX Eco bogie cases worldwide

35% lower energy consumption with SiC-equipped traction converters

19 dB less noise with SiC traction

30% lower bogie mass weight with FLEXX Eco bogies

Making sustainable mobility a long-term reality requires more than the drive to develop eco-friendly vehicles. Today’s challenges require deep thinking and need to be based on a holistic approach that leverages the hidden potential of innovative subsystems to actively increase vehicle performance while drastically cutting emissions. Luckily, we’ve already jumped on this bandwagon and are making impressive leaps to reach our performance and sustainability goals.   

Visit our Sustainability page for more info on how we are working towards a more sustainable future. Or check out this video