Electrification of trains takes on a new form - battery-electric versions can now replace diesel series-hybrids.

Alstom announced this month its first contract for battery-electric regional trains in Germany for the Leipzig-Chemnitz route, which requires the train to cover 80 km (50 miles) of non-electrified track.

The company will deliver 11 Coradia Continental BEMU trains starting from 2023, which will be ready for the job, driving on its own power or using catenary to recharge.

The deal, including maintenance until 2032, is worth approximately €100 million ($109 million).

"The new trains will enter service in 2023. They will be built at Alstom's German site of Salzgitter, in Lower Saxony. The battery traction sub-system is designed and supplied by Alstom’s traction centre of excellence in Tarbes."

Alstom didn't reveal the battery capacity, but we guess it must be at least a few hundred kWh for the 80 km (50 miles) range in a worst-case scenario (even after 10 years). The maximum configuration is for 120 km (75 miles).

"The Coradia Continental BEMU trains will be similar to those already in service on the Dresden, Riesa and Zwickau routes. The main difference: they will also have high-performance batteries on the roof. The train, based on the proven Coradia Continental, builds on Alstom’s long experience in battery traction, gained with the Coradia iLint, Citadis trams and the Prima H3 locomotive."

Alstom Coradia Continental BEMU specs:

  • three-car-train, 56 meters long, equipped with 150 seats
  • range under battery power of up to 120 km (75 miles)
  • top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph)

Besides the standard electric trains and battery electric trains, the company offers also hydrogen fuel cell trains (so far two operators ordered 14 and 27 FCVs):

"Alstom’s Coradia range allows operators and transport authorities to offer their passengers regional trains that meet their needs and expectations, while demonstrating exemplary reliability and cost-effectiveness. Alstom has tailored the Coradia range to operate with all available emission-free power systems, from electric to battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cells. The latter, the Coradia iLint, powered by fuel cells and offering performance comparable to a diesel train while emitting nothing but water, has been in passenger service in Germany for over a year."

Hide press releaseShow press release

Alstom signs first contract for battery-electric regional trains in Germany

A complete range of emission-free traction drives

5 February 2020 – Alstom will manufacture, deliver and maintain until 2032 eleven Coradia Continental battery-electric trains for regional traffic on the Leipzig-Chemnitz route on behalf of VMS (Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen) and with the support of ZVNL (Zweckverband für den Nahverkehrsraum Leipzig), the two authorities responsible for this line. The contract is worth approximately €100 million. Following this order, Alstom offers all types of traction systems on the market as well as the full range of emission-free drives, from efficient electric motors to hydrogen fuel cells and advanced battery traction.

In 2014, Alstom had previously signed a contract with VMS for the delivery of 29 Coradia Continental electric regional trains (EMU). In order to bridge the 80 kilometres of non-electrified line between the cities of Chemnitz and Leipzig, the authority requested a battery-electric version (BEMU). The new trains will enter service in 2023. They will be built at Alstom's German site of Salzgitter, in Lower Saxony. The battery traction sub-system is designed and supplied by Alstom’s traction centre of excellence in Tarbes.

“We are immensely proud to be providing the responsible authorities with a sustainable and perfectly-suited solution. Today, Alstom stands apart in being able to offer any form of emission-free traction currently on the market built into a proven solution. As a responsible company, Alstom has an intense focus on sustainable mobility, offering the best-fitting solutions that make it not only possible, but also cost-effective and attractive,” says Gian Luca Erbacci, Senior Vice President of Alstom Europe.

The Coradia Continental BEMU trains will be similar to those already in service on the Dresden, Riesa and Zwickau routes. The main difference: they will also have high-performance batteries on the roof. The train, based on the proven Coradia Continental, builds on Alstom’s long experience in battery traction, gained with the Coradia iLint, Citadis trams and the Prima H3 locomotive.

The Coradia Continental BEMU has a range of up to 120 kilometres and can be operated under catenary as well as on non-electrified sections. The three-car-trains will be 56 metres long and equipped with 150 seats. They will have a top speed of 160 km/h in battery mode. The capacity of the batteries (high-power lithium-ion) is calculated to ensure catenary-free operation of the line Chemnitz-Leipzig without any sacrifice in performance or comfort.

Alstom’s Coradia range allows operators and transport authorities to offer their passengers regional trains that meet their needs and expectations, while demonstrating exemplary reliability and cost-effectiveness. Alstom has tailored the Coradia range to operate with all available emission-free power systems, from electric to battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cells. The latter, the Coradia iLint, powered by fuel cells and offering performance comparable to a diesel train while emitting nothing but water, has been in passenger service in Germany for over a year.