Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Alstom are set to begin a test service of a fully approved battery train in Germany.
The Alstom-built Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) will commence revenue services with passengers onboard from next week in Baden-Württemberg.
The pilot service will also be conducted in Bavaria from 5 February.
DB’s regional transport subsidiary DB Regio will operate the train along the two routes.
DB Regio CEO Dr Jörg Sandvoss said: “Deutsche Bahn wants to be climate-neutral by 2040 and this first battery train in passenger service represents the next big step towards emission-free trains in Germany’s regional transport.
“With this test, DB Regio wants to gain practical experience in order to master these future technologies in operation and maintenance. The trial operation provides new technical and operational knowledge in handling this innovative climate-friendly drive technology.”
Alstom and the Technical University of Berlin have been working to develop the battery-electric train since 2016. The initiative is supported by the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.
The project seeks to offer a sustainable alternative and enable climate-friendly rail transportation in Germany.
In future, the BEMU technology is expected to be used in Alstom’s Coradia platform.
Alstom DACH Region president Müslüm Yakisan said: “Alternative drives are the future of mobility and our comprehensive solutions will enable more sustainable rail transport across Germany.
“Since 2016, we have been working together to develop efficient and cost-effective battery technology to bridge non-electrified gaps on the German rail network.
“The passenger operation testing will enable us to gather valuable data and demonstrate the viability of our solution.”
The test runs are slated to run until the beginning of May 2022.
On weekdays, the battery-powered train will run on the Stuttgart – Horb line in Baden-Württemberg.
DB Regio will operate the vehicle on the Pleinfeld – Gunzenhausen line in the Franconian Lake District during the weekend.
Separately, French rolling stock company Alstom announced its results for the third quarter of 2021/22 fiscal that ended on 31 December 2021.
In the three-month period, the company booked $5.21bn (€4.6bn) of orders while sales reached $4.42bn (€3.9bn).