Škoda Group’s first Czech battery powered electric unit set to transform regional rail transport

Posted: 13 June 2024 | | No comments yet

Škoda Group’s introduction of the RegioPanter, the first Czech single-deck electric unit with traction batteries, marks a transformative step in providing a greener alternative to diesel trains on non-electrified tracks.

Skoda Group

The Czech Republic is set to make a significant leap in sustainable transportation with the introduction of the first single-deck electric unit, RegioPanter, equipped with traction batteries. Developed by Škoda Group, this innovative train is designed to travel up to 80km in battery mode, offering a greener and more efficient alternative for regional rail transport, particularly on non-electrified tracks.

The RegioPanter is a product of years of development, featuring three battery packs mounted on its roof. These batteries are continuously re-charged through traction power while the train is in motion or by recovering energy during braking. This design allows the train to achieve a top speed of 120km/h, making it suitable for regional non-electrified lines. The train’s deployment will commence in the Moravian-Silesian Region, marking a major milestone in the Czech rail industry.

Battery powered trains like the RegioPanter are considered the cleanest solution to replace traditional diesel trains. They contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving air quality, which is particularly beneficial for regions with severe air pollution, such as the Moravian-Silesian Region.

Jiří Ješeta, Deputy CEO of Czech Railways for Passenger Transport, said: “Railway is the most environmentally friendly form of transport and the RegioPanters, equipped with batteries, take it one step further. Czech Railways will be the first carrier in the Czech Republic to put four trains with battery cells into service this December [2024].”

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The RegioPanter unit offers a range of features aimed at enhancing passenger comfort and accessibility. It includes low-floor, barrier-free entrances, ergonomic seating, a clear information system and a spacious toilet designed for people with reduced mobility. The train is also equipped with a state-of-the-art CCTV system, ETCS signalling and an ATO automatic train operation system, ensuring safety and efficiency.

“Electric units equipped with batteries offer comfort to passengers by eliminating the need to change trains where part of the railway network is electrified and part is not. They are an ecological substitute for diesel trains. They help to improve air quality and thus meet the climate targets set by society,” said Petr Novotný, CEO Škoda Group.

Martin Kupka, Minister of Transport, said: “These trains will be deployed for the first time ever on the line Ostrava – Studénka – Veřovice and will allow people to travel without changing trains in Studénka, arriving by electric unit even on a non-fully electrified line.”

Czech Railways plans to put four battery-cell-equipped RegioPanter trains into service by December 2024, followed by the delivery of 15 fully battery powered trains. This initiative is expected to set a precedent for the adoption of similar technologies across Europe, showcasing the potential for battery-powered trains to replace diesel trains on regional lines.

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