GERMANY: Stadler has officially unveiled the prototype Flirt Akku, a version of its Flirt family of electric multiple-units which is equipped with a battery to permit operation on non-electrified or partly-electrified routes.
The unit was officially unveiled on October 25, when it carried guests between the Stadler Pankow factory in Berlin and Schildow in Brandenburg without using an external power supply. Approval has already been obtained for passenger operation, and Stadler expects it to be used in service on selected routes from 2019.
The prototype was developed in-house by Stadler, backed by €2m of funding from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs & Energy.
The traction equipment and the most important mechanical components are the same as are used on conventional Flirt EMUs, but the powertrain has been rebuilt and the battery installed. ‘This concept has allowed us to significantly reduce the development and approval times, and to ensure a high level of reliability’, said Steffen Obst, Head of Sales at Stadler Germany, adding that he hoped the Flirt Akku could help to reduce or eliminate emissions and encourage more people to travel by train.
The unit has a maximum speed of 140 km/h and range of 80 km in battery mode. The battery can be charged from the overhead electrification, from a fixed shore supply at termini and from regenerated braking energy. The three-car unit has 154 seats and capacity of 310 passengers, and is quieter than a comparable diesel vehicle.
The design is ready for production, and Stadler estimates that Flirt Akku units could be used to operate 80% of the non-electrified routes in Germany. It also sees opportunities for the Flirt Akku in Austria, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and other countries with a significant amount of non-electrified routes.
- A feature article about the development of battery-electric multiple-units around the world appears in the November issue of Railway Gazette International magazine.