The concept for the new locomotive was unveiled at InnoTrans in September 2018 as a mid-power 2.4MW diesel locomotive/mid-power 2MW ac electric locomotive combined into one four-axle vehicle.

Siemens believes there is a strong market for the new design in Germany and neighbouring countries such as Austria. More than 700 diesel locomotives are currently used by freight operators in Germany, many of them up to 40 years old and up to 80% used on electrified routes. Siemens estimates the new Vectron Dual Mode could save German freight operators 53% of energy and maintenance costs plus reduce CO2 emissions by 950 tonnes per locomotive annually, compared with an existing diesel locomotive.

The Vectron Dual Mode will replace the German class 247 Vectron DE pure diesel model in Germany and elsewhere although Siemens would potentially continue to offer it to customers outside Germany if the order quantity was economically attractive.

Siemens developed and built the first German class 248 Vectron Dual Mode in six months. This fast concept-to-prototype period was possible as the Vectron Dual Mode uses key parts of the existing Vectron DE platform such as bogies, traction motors and the MTU 4000 engine, although the engine used in the Vectron Dual Mode meets European Union Stage V emissions standards.

The locomotive has a maximum speed of 160km/h and weighs 90 tonnes. It is equipped with a 2500-litre diesel fuel tank and the German PZB signalling system, although it is prepared for ETCS.

The prototype locomotive will be tested and certified in the coming months and Siemens is planning to sell it once type testing and approval is complete. Siemens is now seeking orders for the new Vectron Dual Mode with delivery promised in Q4 2020.