AUSTRIA: The HTW 100 E³ hybrid motor tower vehicle developed by Plasser & Theurer for overhead line inspection and maintenance has been successfully tested in the Climate Wind Chamber at Rail Tec Arsenal in Wien.

Launched at the IAF track technology fair in Münster last June, the HTW 100 E³ is equipped with a battery system to support emissions-free operation on worksites in urban environments and tunnels. The battery capacity is designed to last for two 6 h shifts, but its service life is dependent on maintaining a stable operating temperature. Plasser & Theurer has therefore worked with Kreisel Electric to develop a sophisticated thermal management system.

The week-long testing programme was undertaken to examine the battery technology and confirm the theoretical values on which the system was based, according to Plasser & Theurer’s Head of Engineering Christian Weitersberger. The nine batteries can supply power at cell temperatures ranging from -20°C to +40°C, but the optimum temperature is between +25°C and +35°C. The batteries are fitted with more than 200 sensors which measure the temperature constantly, allowing them to be warmed or cooled using a heat pump to keep them within the permissible operating range.

Thanks to the roller dynamometer in the climate chamber, it was possible to simulate the full operation of the HTW 100 E³ at different temperatures, with various types of precipitation and different wind speeds. Around 20 measuring sensors tracked every change in temperature, humidity and air pressure in real time.

Key tests were designed to establish how long it would take to preheat the vehicle from a temperature of -30°C, and what energy output was required to run all the machine’s individual systems at full performance. The test programme also looked at other machine functions, ranging from the operation of the windscreen heaters to the icing up of the cab door.