Electric Locomotion

Electric Locomotion
  • Electric vehicles are trending in the news; in Sep 2020, sales of EVs in Norway registered a 80% market share.
  • Present EVs aren't the first electric land transport vehicles. Diesel-electric locomotives (1st video) have been running since the 1950s.
  • Diesel-electric locomotives have diesel engines that use electric traction as the transmission instead of gears, clutches or hydraulics.
  • When a long, extremely heavy train has to start from zero to go uphill, clutches could burn, hydraulics boil, or complex gears would be needed. Electric transmission is the solution.
  • There are no batteries, the diesel engine drives an alternator that powers the electric motors that spin the wheels.
  • Later advances would see the diesel engine replaced by overhead electric cables or a third electric rail as seen in metro, light, bullet, high speed rail systems, and trams (2nd video).

  • The diesel electric locomotive is an example of an internal combustion engine driving electric motors or charging a battery. In effect, an onboard charger instead of a plug-in charger.
  • As in the case of LS3 (3rd video), a project to test the viability of a robotic horse in military applications as a mule to carry equipment.
  • After the tests, the project did not proceed but the maker Boston Dynamics carried on to recraft the robo-horse into a robo-dog. The robo-dog is currently set to be employed as a site inspector and is being deployed in Chernobyl as a radiation surveyor.

  • Earlier today (Mon, Nov 9, 2020) , a webinar (MY) on four legged robots was conducted by Addie Irawan from UMP. Catch the replay here (note: audio is off by default).
  • For more on rail systems, check out Asia Pacific Rail (SG) happening tomorrow to Thu (Nov 10-12, 2020). Do note the event and topics are intended for industry insiders.