Diesel-electric drive solutions for utility vehicles

Technology and application examples

In diesel-electric drive systems, 100% of the energy is generated from internal combustion engines. The mechanical energy generated by an internal combustion engine is converted into alternating current by a generator, which means that diesel-electric propulsion systems are, strictly speaking, their own power stations. A rectifier then converts the alternating current into direct current before an inverter converts this into an alternating current with a variable frequency and an adjustable amplitude. This current conversion process is necessary since the subsequent electric motor, which ultimately drives the wheels, would otherwise always run at the same speed. Sometimes a battery is also installed that is continuously charged by the internal combustion engine. The power transmission from the electric motor to the wheels or the propeller in ships is effected either directly or indirectly by the interconnection of a gear box.

When electrical drive systems are implemented, preference is given to three-phase generators combined with three-phase asynchronous motors and electronic power components such as IGBTs. The advantage is that the current frequency can be adapted to the particular driving situation by the inverter (for example VECTOPOWER from ARADEX), which increases efficiency and reduces costs.