6.6 C
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Could electric cars power Britain’s railway?

Engineers at the University of Sheffield have been given £1.5 million to explore the possibility of drawing energy from electric cars parked at stations to power the railway at peak times.

Named the TransEnergy project, the scheme will see if it is feasible to use electric car batteries to store surplus energy which could then be used by the railway during busy periods – what it describes as a “Road to Rail energy exchange”.

In theory, drivers could be given free parking at the station in return for the railway using their car as a back-up energy source.Electric car charge shutterstock

The funding is being provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The University of Sheffield will work in partnership with the the University of Leeds, the University of Southampton and Network Rail.

Dr Martin Foster, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: “Electric-powered rail travel has helped to reduce pollution and improve the comfort of travellers.

“Our project will look at how we can meet the demand for more electricity on our railways by investigating innovative ways to store surplus energy.

“Similar energy storage systems are already being used on the electricity grid during peak times and by translating these to our railways, we could deliver real benefits to both rail companies and consumers, bringing down the costs of travel and improving services.”

James Ambrose, principal engineer for Network Rail, said: “Network Rail is committed to electrifying more lines in the UK. Our project will be working with rail providers to recommend new approaches that will mean increased efficiency for the industry.”



  1. And the drivers of these cars come back to find their cars do not have enough power to get them home so they then have to use their engine so what is the point

  2. This could be possible, very good idea. The question to think about is how many electric cars are parked at the stations? I understand life of battery is measured on charge cycles and using passenger car batteries will incur cost to Network Rail or TOC or National Grid.

    Rather than using cars, its easier to build a battery storage facility under these car parks which can use solar power (when possible) or main grid to recharge. This battery energy could be then used at peak times.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Rail News

Powering excellence

Stephen Royle. A new company, Breserv, is setting out to be the ‘Go...

The lockdown eases, replaced by confusion

As the lockdown starts to ease, it brings with it a degree of uncertainty and worry. Two months ago,...

Professor Felix Schmid steps down

Felix Schmid has retired from his post as Professor of Railway Systems Engineering at the University of Birmingham after 15 years.

Will the railway be reclassified?

Should the railways remain in the private sector? Or are they, effectively, already nationalised after the government’s emergency measures taken as part...

The one that got away

This year’s Railsport National Angling Championships, due to take place on 12 August 2020 at Makins Fisheries, has been cancelled as a...

More like this...