Lithium-ion battery to dominate the train battery market by 2025

With increase in urban population, there is a rising demand for urban transport, especially metros, monorails, and light trains. Alternatively, the growing demand for luxury and comfort has increased the electrical applications in passenger coaches. All these factors together are projected to drive the demand for railway batteries in the coming years. The Train Battery Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.15% from 2018 to 2025. From a market size of USD 470.5 million in 2018, it is projected to reach USD 703.2 million by 2025.

Rolling stock is a highly regulated industry and most of the countries have a regulator body that sets the standards for the battery type that can be used in trains. Adoption of new battery types such as lithium-ion would be slower in countries with nationalized rail network and few private players.

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Lithium ion batteries: a promising battery type for railways

Lithium Ion batteries have a lower discharge over a time period compared to lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries. Hence, they are more efficient compared to other battery types. These batteries are also lightweight, have better insulation, longer operating life, and are maintenance free. Lithium-ion batteries achieve this with the help of an additional electric heater that helps raise the temperature substantially. Russia, the UK, Germany, and Japan have started using lithium-ion batteries in railways as they lead to smoother rail operations compared to other battery types. Over the projected period, other countries would also follow suit as lithium-ion batteries have various advantages over other battery types. Developed countries are expected to quicken their adoption of lithium-ion batteries in rail transport compared to developing countries because of regulations and the higher costs associated with the adoption of lithium-ion batteries. Thus, lithium-ion batteries are a good opportunity for battery manufactures to increase their share in the train battery market.

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Engine starter batteries to be the fastest GROWING application of the train battery market:

The locomotive requires a quick start option and power supply for propulsion. They are fitted with a starter battery that provides the power to perform several pre-start functions such as powering up hydraulic pumps, air compressors, and brake systems mandatory for a smooth engine start without any damage to engine components. The growing demand for locomotives in developing countries such as China and India augurs well for the train battery market. Manufacturers of starter batteries in the region can use this opportunity to increase their revenues.

Major factors driving the growth of this market include increasing demand for high speed trains throughout the world. A major restraint for the train battery market is the huge capital requirement for developing and operating rail networks. The key market players in Europe are EnerSys (France), Hoppecke (Germany), and Saft Batteries (France). These players can use their expertise in manufacturing train batteries to provide efficient batteries for developing countries such as India and China. This also provides them with a great opportunity to increase their revenue and gain market share by way of expanding further into these countries or through joint ventures and acquisitions of local companies.

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