Stadler FLIRT Akku Battery Train Demonstrates 185km Range

Stadler’s offering in the battery-powered rolling stock market, the FLIRT Akku has demonstrated a guaranteed range of 185km, even in energy-intensive conditions, it has been found following a three-year research period.

Starting in 2018, Stadler launched a research project into developing and testing battery technologies for rolling stock. The project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and developed in collaboration with TU Berlin and EWE AG.

Stadler's FLIRT Akku in Berlin
Stadler’s FLIRT Akku in Berlin

The test vehicle greatly exceeded range expectations by achieving 185km when operating solely under battery power. Stadler has opted to invest in both battery and hydrogen traction technology for its trains because, as it says, 54 percent of the European rail network are electrified. The current figure in Germany is 60 percent and set to be 70 percent by 2025. Battery and hydrogen technologies (depending on how the electricity / hydrogen is produced) can contribute to making rail more carbon friendly on the remaining routes.

Stadler is partnering with a German ministry on this project because the Swiss rail network is already 100 percent electrified and therefore Switzerland will not be a market for these alternative traction vehicles. Stadler specifically developed the three-car FLIRT Akku for the BMWi’s project snappily called “Joint project FLIRT (Akku) – network integration and network-appropriate charging of a battery-powered rail vehicle for bridging extensive non-electrified or partially electrified route sections in regional traffic”.

Evelyn Thiel, Technical Lead for the research project at Stadler, said:

“During our joint project we were able to gain valuable insights into developing battery technology further.

“In the summer of 2019 we tested the FLIRT Akku during a heatwave at 40 degrees outside with the air-conditioning unit running full power and and during the winter of 2021 when we had double-digit minus temperatures. Running the train purely on battery power was possible without limits at all times without us getting to the lower limit of our capacity.”

Since its unveiling in 2018 the vehicle has covered 15,000 kilometres in pure battery operation. The test team focused on trialling scenarios such as catching up after unexpected delays and operations during extreme weather conditions in order to research the batteries’ reaction.

Steffen Obst, Head of Sales, Stadler Germany, said:

“At Stadler, we're continuously working on making rail better and emission-free by developing good ideas and quick, practical technological solutions so that we can convince even more people to switch to rail travel. We are proud to have developed an environmentally friendly, flexible vehicle that is market-ready with the FLIRT Akku. During the research project and with the support of our project partners we were able to not just prove our assumptions but to exceed them. Together with the FLIRT H2 Stadler can offer solutions that free from carbon emissions for every route.”

The manufacturer of the batteries for the FLIRT Akku was German company Intilion GmbH, which was involved in the project in order to determine the limits of the installed battery capacity.

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