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Charge of the battery brigade

Austrak, Laing O'Rourke and USQ join forces on composite rail technology

23 November 2018

Reports how battery development and rapid charging technology are opening up the prospects for greater use of hybrid EMUs as a cleaner alternative to diesel traction. Details a number of developments including work by JR in Japan. In Europe, Bombardier has unveiled its Talent 3 BEMU as the centrepiece of a four-year research project to develop a 'plug-and-play' battery module. According to the manufacturer, the Talent 3 BEMU should be around 50% quieter than modern diesel trains when stationary. Siemens and ÖBB have unveiled the Desiro ML Cityjet Eco EMU. The Desiro has been adapted with a battery traction package so that the Austrian national operator can explore the potential for hybrid operation on non-electrified lines as part of its 2035 fleet strategy. Stadler Pankow has unveiled its Flirt Akku prototype, which is derived form its Flirt EMU family with an aluminium bodyshell and many common electrical and mechanical components. Equipped with lithium-ion batteries both roof-mounted and in a small internal compartment, the unit has a maximum speed of 140 km/h, and a range of around 80km off-wire. Finally, low-cost rolling stock developer Vivarail has developed its own battery multiple-unit as part of its D-Train range.

Railway Gazette International, Nov. 2018. pp.53-56.