Union Pacific places milestone order for battery-electric locomotives

Posted: 1 February 2022 | | No comments yet

Union Pacific Railroad’s order for 10 FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives marks the largest investment in battery technology by a North American railroad.

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Union Pacific Railroad has announced the purchase of 10 FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives from Wabtec Corporation. The order, which marks the largest investment in battery technology by a North American railroad, will upgrade Union Pacific Railroad’s rail yard infrastructure and support its commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The approximately 2.5-MWh locomotives are each powered solely by 7,000 battery cells, providing Union Pacific Railroad with a zero-emission solution for its yard operations. The 10 FLXdrive locomotives will enable the railroad to eliminate 4,000 tonnes of carbon annually from its rail yards, the equivalent of removing 800 cars from the highway. The new locomotives will be manufactured in the U.S. with the first units being delivered to Union Pacific Railroad in late 2023.

“Railroads are already the leader in low emissions ground transportation, and we believe battery-electric locomotives are the next step in our journey to eventually reach net zero,” explained Lance Fritz, Chairman, President and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad. “This first phase of testing will further enhance the technology, and, ultimately, benefit the entire industry.”

Rafael Santana, President and CEO for Wabtec Corporation, said: “As an industry leader, Union Pacific Railroad is pioneering a major application of battery power in its rail yards. Battery power is an ideal solution to reduce the environmental impact and costs of yard operations. Using the FLXdrive in the rail yard can significantly improve local air quality, as well as reduce noise by up to 70 per cent for neighbouring communities.”

Union Pacific Railroad published its first comprehensive Climate Action Plan in December 2021, outlining its efforts to significantly reduce emissions within its operations. As part of that commitment, Union Pacific Railroad will reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 26 per cent by 2030 and achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050.

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