ÖBB and Siemens unveil battery-powered train

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Siemens Mobility presented in Vienna, on September 10, the prototype of the Desiro ML Cityjet eco, an electro-hybrid battery train. The Cityjet eco is an alternative for non-electrified rail lines primarily served at present with diesel-powered passenger trains and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent compared to diesels.
Following extensive testing of the train, it is expected to first be used in passenger service in the second half of 2019.
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 technology), which, compared to conventional ones, allow significantly higher charging currents for fast charging. Thanks to a special thermal concept for the battery containers, it’s expected that external weather conditions will have no influence on battery life and their charge status. 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.
Siemens is developing an electro-hybrid battery drive that 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.
In the joint project with Siemens, ÖBB is one of the first European railways to secure valuable know-how in this field and thus be able to further expand the quality of its services for passengers as well as the sustainability of its fleet.
The prototype will be presented at the InnoTrans 2018, on September 18-21.


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