Rail transport is the most sustainable mobility solution of all, due to its low energy consumption per passenger kilometre. Electric drive via overhead contact line is particularly efficient and enables emission-free operation of trains, trams and locomotives. Stadler has developed the hydrogen-powered FLIRT Hâ‚‚ model for routes where diesel trains are still in use today.

Non-electrified railway lines were previously operated using diesel vehicles. Since retrofitting overhead contact lines and substations requires large investment budgets and a lot of time, Stadler has developed zero-emission drives as an alternative. One example is the FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle, which runs on an electric drive with hydrogen fuel cells as the energy source. This enables the FLIRT Hâ‚‚ model to replace diesel trains on non-electrified or partially electrified lines for emission-free passenger transport.

Stadler sold the first FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle in the USA in 2019, delivering the first hydrogen-powered train for American passenger rail transport.

The vehicle concept is largely based on the widely tested FLIRT electric multiple units for operation under overhead contact line. The FLIRT Hâ‚‚ train is a single-decker, lightweight aluminium model that can be built in two- to four-car train compositions. Just like the traditional FLIRT train, the series-produced FLIRT Hâ‚‚ model can be flexibly and individually adapted to the needs of each client and route network. The FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle is optionally available with pantographs and a mains transformer so that it can also be operated under an overhead contact line.

How does a train run on hydrogen?

The FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle is an electric multiple unit with hydrogen fuel cells where hydrogen is converted into electricity. This electricity serves several functions including powering the train, charging the lithium-ion traction batteries and feeding the HVAC system on board. The train accelerates and brakes using electric energy alone, and kinetic energy is stored in the batteries during braking.

Green hydrogen is produced from water by electrolysis, allowing surplus renewable electricity to be stored chemically. This is kept in tanks on the train, making it possible to cover long distances without recharging the batteries. State-of-the-art hydrogen technology can thereby replace diesel-powered trains on short and medium sections of track.

Technical details (Flagship project: FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle for SBCTA)


> 286 miles (460 km)

Maximum Speed

79 mph (127 km/h)

Refuelling time

< 30 mins.



Sustainable rail transport despite non-electrified lines

Many countries have a rail network without overhead contact lines and are forced to use diesel trains for rail operations. In the USA, for example, only one percent of the rail network is electrified. The FLIRT Hâ‚‚ vehicle was developed to enable rail operators to run sustainable rail operations and can replace diesel vehicles on routes without overhead contact lines.