World's Largest Battery-Powered Locomotives Launched By Progress Rail

By Srikanto Mandal 30 Sept, 2022

Caterpillar subsidiary Progress Rail launched the first battery-powered EMD locomotives in North American rail operations.

Photo: Progressrail/Instagram

The EMD Joule locomotives are powered by onboard batteries, a departure from traditional electric locomotives that rely on external power sources like overhead lines.

Photo: Progressrail/Instagram

The SD70J-BB is the largest and heaviest battery-powered vehicles in production, weighing a staggering 540,000 pounds.

Photo: Progressrail/Instagram

The battery capacity of Joule locomotives ranges from 2.4 megawatt-hours to 14.5 megawatt-hours. 

Photo: Progressrail/Instagram

Progress Rail's "reverse pantograph" system allows the locomotives to park under a charger for efficient battery replenishment.

The charging process for these locomotives involves a 500kw charger, capable of fully charging a locomotive in four hours.

The initial models, such as the SD40JR, are intended for local switching duty within rail yards, emphasizing their use in short-distance operations.

The SD70J has a top speed of 75 miles per hour, while other models in the line reach 50 miles per hour.

The weight and battery capacity of the SD70J-BB are contrasted with the automotive world, with its battery capacity being over 72 times that of the battery in Cadillac's IQ EV.