Efficiency Measurement on Electric/Hybrid Motors

Monitoring and Measurement of Battery Power Consumption

A marine tours company from Alaska operates a fleet of approximately 80 site seeing cruise vessels that run both Glacier tours and Whale Watching tours. In total, they make up of approximately of 10% of all Alaska’s tourism operations. In doing so, they are exploring the option of modernizing their cruise fleet from fully Diesel Engines to Diesel-Electric Hybrid Engines. The company sees this as having two major benefits: First, they can become a “Green” or “Eco-friendly” company. Secondly, the noise of Electric Hybrid vs Diesel Engine.

The Challenge

For both their whale watching tours and their glacier tours they run the boat in two modes. Full speed operation, where they are boating at full speed to get to the desired location. The second would be in an idle mode where they are watching the whales or sitting next to the glacier. Even in the idle mode the boat is making quite a bit of noise with the diesel engines and they cannot fully shutdown for safety reasons. Moving to the Hybrid option would significantly reduce the noise level in idle mode.

The data logger records the operating parameters of the diesel engine via the ECU. Various temperatures on the engine and flow rates are measured synchronously via analog and thermocouple modules. The measurement data of the long-term measurements are transmitted fully automatically to a central data server via remote transmission.


  • Data acquisition via Powertrain CAN bus
  • Protocol measurement via J1939
  • Automatic data transmission via modem and WLAN connections
  • Triggered CAN traffic measurement for targeted acquisition of relevant variables
  • Local data memory with large storage capacity
  • Automatic remote data transmission to the data base
  • Analog inputs for further external sensors (e.g. Infrared thermometer, flowmeter and thermocouple)
  • Thermocouple inputs for monitoring temperature curves
  • GPS

The Solution

During the test, total fuel consumption was monitored when the vessel was fully occupied during a whale-watching or glacier Tour. On the way to the sights, the ship was operated at full load. Once it reached the intermediate stops, the engine ran at idle. Monitoring the vessel on actual passenger trips was essential to capture accurate data. The goal was to calculate the average fuel used on multiple trips. In the future, the ship will run on diesel fuel at top speed, charging the ship's battery in the process. When idling, the engine will run purely on electricity.

The Advantages

With the IPETRONIK integral system, the high-performance test could be carried out safely under these harsh climatic conditions. The calculation of fuel consumption and average utilization of the vessel per whale watching tour and per glacier tour was successfully implemented, allowing the efficiency of diesel-electric/hybrid engines to be determined. In summary, the application offers:

  • WLAN and MQTT interface for online display (with the IPEmotion software)
  • Wireless connections to mobile devices
  • Global availability of the measurement results
  • Secure and fully automatic measurement data acquisition
  • Versatile visualization tools

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