Solar Innovations

At first sight, it might seem strange for a pioneer in underground machinery to develop solar driven rail equipment. Let´s take a deeper look into the technology and see why there are synergies with our railbound underground equipment:

The Solar Draisine is the first of its kind in the world and for MÜHLHÄUSER. The customer request was to develop a railbound leasure vehicle to transport up to 8 people on an old railroad-line with a rise of 3 percent. The customer request was to be energy independent with onboard batteries; the real challenge was that the batteries needed to be charged also by solar energy and muscle power. This was different to our usual customer request under ground that usually look for other engery sources than solar or muscle power.

The prototype and the following 30 vehicles that we supplied to our customer to the leisure route in Wald-Michelbach, close to Frankfurt, is a real success and a tourist event for the region. We hope that other normal gauge rail tracks being out of order might follow with the investment of self-driven MÜHLHÄUSER Solar Draisines.

Next to the use as a leisure vehicle on former rail tracks, other applications might be conceivable:

  • Passenger transportation on rails in cities
  • Transportation in larger exhibition areas, parks or garden shows
  • Commuter support for companies and between town centers in developing regions such as Africa

We are excited by the numerous requests for different applications that we have received and are convinced that the system has a bright future.

Some more technical background on the solar draisine:

  • The solar draisine is a railbound biaxial electric vehicle for up to 8 people. It consists of a base in which two sets of wheels, two battery boxes, the electrics and control system, the coupling device and the braking system are attached.
  • A 5.3 kW eletric engine is used for the drive, which drives a wheelset with a 2-stage gear.
  • The battery of the solar draisine is housed in a box. Primarily it is charged through the power supply system. Additionally the batteries are charged by solar generators on the roof of the draisine as well as muscle power.
  • The speed is controlled by a pedal generator – maximum speed is limited to 8 km/h.
  • The draisine has 3 different braking abilities
    – Engine brake: The engine brake is active whenever the motor is driven. There is a brake disc with associated brake calliper on each wheel. The brake calliper can be activated hydraulically and mechanically.
    – Handbrake: The machanical control of the brake calliper corresponds to the handbrake in a car. In the solardraisine the brake is used as a parking brake (also emergency brake).
    – Lever brake: In addition, the driver can also stop the solardraisine via a hand lever brake.