Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive Innovation have signed an exclusive agreement to develop battery packs for zero emission trains and create a battery hub in the North East.
Announced on 6 July, the manufacturers will now accelerate the creation of batteries that can be mass produced to provide emission free power for hundreds of battery trains across the UK. With almost two thirds (58%) of the UK’s rail network not electrified, Hitachi Rail has forecast the potential market for the battery technology is over 400 trains. Hitachi has identified its own fleet of 275 trains as potential early recipients of the batteries for use in the UK. They could also be installed on new metro and intercity trains that will be needed in future to replace ageing diesel fleets.
As well as producing no greenhouse gases or air pollution, installing batteries on existing fleets will also allow them to extend their range and allow for passengers to reach stations on non-electrified lines without having to change train.
Andrew Barr, Group CEO of Hitachi Rail, said: “Battery trains can play a vital role in improving the air we breathe, tackling climate change and providing modern, high performing rail service – all things we know passengers want to see. The partnership with Hyperdrive creates a shovel-ready opportunity for new battery trains to be ordered now. As well as new trains, this is also a window of opportunity to cut carbon and supercharge a green recovery in the North East and across the UK.”