Evaluation of the E-TRAN vehicle propulsion concept


Michael Hennessey, Max Donath

January 1994

Report no. Mn/DOT 1994-03


Modes, Rail

The viability of the patented E-TRAN electric roadway and vehicle concept was examined from an engineering systems point of view. Specific recommendations are made regarding the end-usage and development of the propulsion concept. Based on this study, two research areas were identified and investigated in more detail: (a) quantify the auxiliary power needs due to power input discontinuities and (b) the dynamic effects of road pantograph bounce.

Auxiliary power needs arise because of power input discontinuities, either due to: (1) power strip segment failures, (2) lane changing, and/or (3) E-TRAN grid discontinuities, which includes getting the vehicle to and from the grid. Simulation results indicate that power strip segment failures will have the least effect on system performance. E-TRAN grid discontinuities will have serious effects on the system while the effects of lane changing will affect performance at a level in between the other two.

The dynamic effects of a road pantograph in contact with a road mounted power strip was also studied, first using simulated models and then verified by experiment. From a mechanical point of view, key issues that affect the design include friction, wear and dynamic bounce effects. Since good correspondence was achieved between the experimentally measured and simulated support forces and pantograph angular displacement, the models can be used for future design analysis.

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