Positive Traction and Valence Batteries: Pioneering The Battery-Powered Rail Renaissance


East Midlands, UK, 20th October – In an electrifying turn of events for the rail industry, Positive Traction, in collaboration with Valence Batteries (A Lithion brand), unveiled their cutting-edge battery-powered Class 08e Shunter, a beacon of sustainable transportation for the future.

Historic Meets Futuristic: This innovative locomotive marries the classic Class 08 design—rooted deeply in nearly a century of railway heritage—with the state-of-the-art advancements of the 21st century. The 08e stands as a symbol of rail evolution in our digital age, blending the magnetic charm of history with the peak of modern battery technology.

Key Highlights:

  • Powering the Future: The prototype flexes with up to 528kWh drawn across six PT Powerpods, each laden with 88kWh. The adoption of Valence’s latest U27-24V88 modules promises to surge the energy capacity per pod to a formidable 108kWh, catapulting the train’s entire energy cache to a staggering 648kWh.
  • Green Transportation Vision: The Class 08e Shunter isn’t just another locomotive; it stands as a testament to Positive Traction’s dedication to a sustainable and eco-conscious future.
  • Marrying Heritage and Tech: Anchored in a 1954 locomotive design, the 08e is not just a reincarnation; it’s a visionary revamp for the digital era, poised to be a central figure in rail transport as we move towards 2034 and beyond.
Battery powered railway transportation - the future.
Image Credit: Lithion Battery Group / Valence

The historic Barrow Hill Roundhouse bore witness to the grand unveiling, a moment that resonated deeply with heritage aficionados and tech enthusiasts alike. The overwhelming acclaim from the audience has set the stage for what promises to be a transformative journey, with potential stakeholders across the UK eagerly watching.

Tackling the Real Environmental Concerns: The railways, particularly those powered by diesel, have historically been emission hotspots, spewing particulates and NOx. The WHO has flagged these as primary culprits in severe respiratory conditions, asthma included, especially prevalent around high-density rail regions. The battery-powered locomotives, such as Positive Traction’s prototype, can potentially slash these detrimental emissions. Zero direct emissions mean cleaner, healthier air for residents living near rail infrastructure. This pivotal move to embrace battery technology underscores the global initiative to combat environmental degradation, bolstering public health and spotlighting the indispensable role of sustainable transport in our global narrative.

Spotlight on Lithion and Valence:

With a reputation for excellence, Lithion emerges as a leader in the realm of Primary & Secondary Battery Cells, creating both Rechargeable & Non-rechargeable Battery Packs and Modules. The brand’s recent foray into the US with an 80,000 square foot facility in Henderson, Nevada, marks a new chapter in their journey. This new hub, dedicated to cell and battery pack assembly, also boasts a fully automated line for Valence modules. At the heart of Lithion’s ethos is collaboration, ensuring they consistently deliver top-tier power solutions for critical applications. Their global footprint and comprehensive in-house capabilities solidify their stature as a holistic solution for energy and power demands.

The Bigger Picture: A Symbiotic Partnership for a Sustainable Future:

The collaboration between Positive Traction and Valence Batteries represents more than just a singular innovation; it epitomizes the profound possibilities that arise when expertise in rail engineering synergizes with advanced battery technology. The modern world stands at an environmental crossroads, and transport solutions like the Class 08e Shunter are emblematic of the transformative shifts necessary to navigate our way toward a sustainable future. 

This partnership not only showcases the immediate tangible benefits of battery-powered transport but also serves as a tantalizing preview of how the fusion of rail and renewable energy industries can redefine global transport. By combining Valence’s prowess in battery innovation with Positive Traction’s rail expertise, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era where trains aren’t merely modes of transport, but champions of green initiatives, acting as stalwarts against the backdrop of global climate concerns. The success of the Class 08e Shunter is likely the first of many milestones in this collaborative journey towards a cleaner, greener, and more efficient world of rail transport.

A spokesperson from Valence Batteries and the Lithion Energy Group shared their enthusiasm: “Today signifies a remarkable stride in rail tech. Positive Traction’s revamped shunter design seamlessly melds nostalgia with innovation. We’re filled with pride to be pivotal in this transformative journey and remain committed to championing groundbreaking innovations.”