Stadler Rail, the Swiss train and railway equipment manufacturer, recently announced that it will sign a framework agreement to supply up to 120 battery-powered trains to ÖBB, the Austrian federal railway operator.
ÖBB has investigated several options with Verbund, Austria’s leading electricity company to replace the current fleet of diesel-powered trains with, for example, fuel cell trains and battery-operated trains together.
The batteries for FLIRT-Akku are delivered by the German company Intilion, a subsidiary of Hoppecke Batterien in Brilon. The battery type is lithium-ion traction, installed both on the roof and inside the train. It was first tested in 2018 between Pankow and Velten in eastern Germany.
The finalisation of the framework agreement and the order of 16 trains for passenger routes in eastern Austria should take place in autumn 2023, according to Stadler Rail. The FLIRT-Akku train has an operating range of around 100 km. Charging of the batteries takes place via the contact line when the train runs on an electrified line. The batteries can also be charged during braking like hybrid cars, utilising kinetic energy.
Stadler has more than 80 years’ experience from battery-powered vehicles. Germany is the major market for battery trains from Stadler. The company will supply 55 units for local transportation in Schleswig-Holstein, 44 for the Palatinate network in Rhineland and 14 trains for the German national operator Deutsche Bahn.
The trains for Schleswig-Holstein are scheduled for delivery and passenger service in 2023. Stadler also said it received an order for six trains from LTG Link, a Lithuanian operator. Fuel-cell trains from Stadler will operate in California from 2024 and two regional narrow-gauge train operators have ordered 25 units with hydrogen and battery propulsion powertrains for Calabria and Sardinia.
“If we are to meet the climate targets, rail transport must become even more sustainable. That is why Stadler has invested heavily in green propulsion solutions to replace diesel fleets,” says Peter Stuhler, Chairman of the Board of Stadler.
The agreement with ÖBB covers a 10-year period and a total volume of €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion).