InnoTrans 2022: Stadler and NAH.SH present the first FLIRT Akku battery-electric series-produced multiple unit

Electrification without an overhead contact line: at InnoTrans, Stadler and Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein GmbH are today presenting the first FLIRT Akku battery-electric series-produced vehicle. The two-car multiple units will go into service from 2023 on the North and East networks in Schleswig-Holstein, which are not electrified or only partially electrified.

At InnoTrans 2018, Stadler offered passenger journeys outside the trade fair grounds on its first battery-electric prototype At InnoTrans 2022 Stadler is now presenting its series-produced vehicle for the first battery-electric decarbonised rail network in Germany: the two-car FLIRT Akku.

Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein GmbH (NAH.SH) invited tenders for the construction of rail vehicles with alternative drive technologies as part of the first open-technology tender ever organised in Germany, and awarded the contract for 55 battery-electric FLIRT Akku vehicles, as well as their maintenance over a period of 30 years, to Stadler in 2019.

 The 46-metre-long FLIRT Akku model for Schleswig-Holstein has 124 seats as well as two spacious and fully accessible multifunctional zones for wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles. The entirely air-conditioned and step-free regional vehicles have bright, spacious passenger compartments and are equipped with a wheelchair-accessible toilet.

The vehicle is designed for non-electrified or only partially electrified routes. When running under an overhead contact line, the vehicle operates in the traditional electric way and charges its batteries. When the overhead contact line comes to an end, it can switch to battery operation even during the journey. This makes the FLIRT Akku extremely versatile for use on a wide range of routes without producing any local CO2 emissions. The battery can be charged not only under overhead contact lines, but also at electrified stops and with standardised UIC preheating devices. In addition, kinetic energy is recovered during braking.

NAH.SH Managing Director Dr. Arne Beck: "Schleswig-Holstein was a pioneer with the tender for successors for the old diesel trains. Now we are looking forward to the new battery trains, which are an important step for us on the way to CO2-free local transport. At the same time, they bring significantly more comfort for the passengers. Both are important if the traffic transformation is to succeed.

“With the FLIRT Akku, Stadler is making an important contribution to the implementation of the transport transition – by using modern battery-electric multiple units, today’s diesel routes can be operated electrically via the vehicle, and therefore in an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient manner,” says Jure Mikolčić, CEO Stadler Germany.

Stadler is the market leader in the field of battery-electric multiple units. At least 113 FLIRT Akku vehicles will be put into service within the next five years. Stadler is developing and building a further 58 battery-electric trains on behalf of Deutsche Bahn. 44 FLIRT Akku trains will enter passenger service on the south-west German Palatinate network from 2025. In 2026, the first battery-powered trains will run on the Warnow network in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The ranges of the vehicles are based on the requirements of the networks. In 2021, Stadler set the world record of 224 kilometres travelled in battery mode during a track test with the FLIRT Akku prototype.