The “Einsparzähler” (Energy Saving Counter) funding program: Intelligent energy saving in public transport

01Energy consumption in rail transport

Power requirements and energy consumption for rail transport differs substantially from that which we are used to with cars. A car often requires the maximum power of its engine at cruising speed - with rail transportation, approximately 30% of engine power is sufficient for driving at the same speed. On the other hand, the greatest amount of power is required for accelerating the large mass, which consumes the most energy. 

02Priorities in public transport

 As a general rule, railways run under the dictates of three priorities:

  • Safety is most important.
  • The second most important goal is punctuality.
  • And only when the first two targets are achieved can energy saving become the focus.

 The result in practice: A train driver always drives a bit “on the safe side” to arrive punctually at the next station. He thus accelerates harder than is really necessary, remains at cruising speed for longer and brakes harder than is really necessary. This wastes valuable energy. The shorter the distances between two railway stations, the truer this becomes; it is therefore especially the case with regional rail services.

03The optimum

But how can a train driver be sure to drive in a way that saves as much energy as possible, while at the same time arriving safely and punctually?

 ESC GmbH & Co. KG in Altenbeken took up this challenge. It develops and produces hardware and software for fleet management and telematics. In addition to all the usual telematics functions, services are provided for a mode of operation that saves as much energy as possible, e.g. in lorry transport.

With the “Einsparzähler” (Energy Saving Counter) pilot project, ESC is demonstrating (for the first time in rail transport) a system for the determination and support of energy-optimised driving profiles in the market. For this purpose, all essential driving and operating parameters on a specific route will be recorded and evaluated.

04 The pilot project

 On this basis, the optimal driving profile for subsequent travel (which depends on all relevant conditions) is shown on a display for each individual trip. This is projected to cut energy consumption by 10 to 15% in regional rail transport - a very important contribution to climate protection with a maximum drive output of 8,000 kw!

The project is being financed by the “Einsparzähler” (Energy Saving Counter) funding programme with a very high six-figure sum over a five-year period.