The partnership between Turntide and Hitachi will work towards a UK trial to demonstrate how Turntide’s battery technology can simultaneously reduce locomotive emissions and fuel costs. The technology stands to make the UK a global leader in intercity battery train technology.
The agreement and the potential mass production of the Hitachi battery management system would also lead to high-quality production line jobs at Turntide’s design and production facilities in Gateshead, Sunderland and Cramlington in the Northeast and represents Hitachi’s commitment to engaging, where possible, with local suppliers near its County Durham manufacturing base.
It also represents a significant development in building a supply chain cluster in the region to support the electrification of transport outside of passenger cars, which can support UK and international decarbonization ambitions.
In addition to being named as a preferred supplier, Turntide received the Hitachi Rail Partner Award for Sustainability. The award recognizes Turntide’s outstanding work developing and manufacturing the battery system prototype for Hitachi’s reduced emissions bi-mode and tri-mode trains.
Installing battery technology on a Hitachi intercity train will help cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions by at least 20%. Battery and hybrid trains provide a much faster, more affordable alternative to electrifying tens of thousands of kilometers of track across the UK or millions of kilometers globally, Turntide noted.
These trains can switch seamlessly between diesel power, overhead electric power, or battery power. They can run on battery power alone, effectively bridging between electrified stretches of track or when entering/existing stations.
“The innovation and ingenuity that Turntide brings to electrification is exemplary, and we are delighted to name the company as our preferred battery systems supplier,” said Jim Brewin, chief director for UK and Ireland, Hitachi Rail. “We also recognize the importance of building local supply chains, which makes this appointment even more significant and highlights the role Northeast England has to play in electrification.”
He added, “The electric car industry has already proved battery solutions. The real challenge has been to scale this technology designed to power a two-ton vehicle for a 200 to 400-ton train. It’s not as simple as just making the battery bigger. Hitachi Rail’s engineers, in collaboration with Turntide, have been working for more than a year on creating the necessary algorithms and software to achieve this upscaling.”
Mark Cox, general manager of Turntide’s transport business unit, added, “Recognition for the development of this battery system speaks to the level of collaboration and expertise the Turntide team brings to complex electrification projects. We possess the advanced skills necessary to assist clients such as Hitachi Rail in overcoming the technical challenges associated with electrifying passenger rail cars and decreasing carbon emissions in the railway sector.”