Siemens develops lithium titanate battery-powered train

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Passenger tests of the  Desiro ML Cityjet eco are planned in second half of 2019. Using the battery option produces half the CO2 emissions compared to the diesel engines that have to be used otherwise.

The drive enables the train to charge its newly installed batteries via the pantograph on electrified rail lines. This energy is then available for powering the train on non-electrified stretches. As soon as the train leaves the electrified line, its batteries feed the train’s power supply system. Siemens and ÖBB will now thoroughly test this technology in a pilot project over the coming months and develop the system to series maturity. When the batteries are ready for series production, they should have a lifetime of around 15 years, which means they will have to be replaced only once over the entire service life of the train.

The battery system located on the middle car of the converted trainset is comprised of three battery containers, two DC/DC controllers, a battery cooler and other electronic components. The system uses lithium-titanate batteries (LTO) which allow significantly higher charging currents for fast charging. A new thermal concept for the battery containers allows the battery packs to operate in a wider range of external battery conditions.

“Climate protection is especially important at ÖBB. We’re always looking for ways to improve our products and make them more environmentally friendly. As part of this quest, ÖBB will continue to focus on replacing diesel vehicles in the future. As Austria’s largest climate protection company, ÖBB is spearheading a further initiative in the fight against climate change with the Cityjet eco,” said Evelyn Palla, member of the Management Board of ÖBB Personenverkehr.

Next: faster production 

“Alternative and ecofriendly drives such as batteries, hydrogen and hybrid systems are becoming increasingly important in our portfolio. There are many winners with the Desiro ML OBB Cityjet eco: For comparatively low investment costs, our customer gets a train fleet that is far more flexible to use and their passengers are happy about the additional travel comfort,” said Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility.

The pilot project will be conducted with a train taken from the series of Siemens Desiro ML trains currently being produced for ÖBB as the train’s design enables it to accommodate additional roof loads. This reduces the standard production and delivery time of up to 36 months for a new train by half.

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