Progress Rail Develops Battery Switcher in Conjunction with Vale 

July 28, 2020

Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, BRAZIL – Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, has developed a new battery-powered switcher locomotive to be available globally, working in collaboration with its South American customer, Vale. The zero-emission, zero-idle and low noise EMD® Joule locomotive broadens Progress Rail’s rolling stock portfolio with the latest smart lithium-ion battery technology and reliable performance for instant start within yard applications.

The new EMD® Joule will go into a pilot phase this year, with full service anticipated for Vale soon thereafter, supporting operations at its Tubarão yard. Vale shared that this development contributes to its ambitious goals of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 33 percent by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050 (scopes 1 and 2)1. With the multitude of next generation technologies being introduced, Progress Rail began addressing industry challenges with Vale, along with the companies’ collective Brazilian engineering teams and Progress Rail’s U.S.-based locomotive engineers, to deliver a solution with ample power and charging capabilities.

“Our team has taken great pride in this exciting project, working closely with Vale to deliver a new advanced technology battery locomotive in approximately 11 months. This locomotive will help Vale achieve their emissions objectives,” said Marty Haycraft, President and CEO of Progress Rail. “We look forward to continuing to support our entire global customer base with innovative products and services to help them meet their operating and environmental objectives.”

According to Gustavo Bastos, executive manager at Vale’s Excellence Center and Innovation department, the EMD® Joule will be also an important step towards the development of solutions for Vale’s GHG reduction plans. “This equipment represents a milestone in Vale’s operations decarbonization strategy and is aligned with its new pact with society,” says Bastos.

Progress Rail anticipates global availability of the new switcher locomotive in early 2021. 



Scope 1: direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.

Scope 2: indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. 


About Progress Rail:

Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, is one of the largest integrated and diversified providers of rolling stock and infrastructure solutions and technologies for global rail customers. Progress Rail delivers advanced EMD locomotives and engines, railcars, trackwork, fasteners, signaling, rail welding and Kershaw Maintenance-of-Way equipment, along with dedicated locomotive and freight car repair services, aftermarket parts support and recycling operations. The company also offers advanced rail technologies, including data acquisition and asset protection equipment. Progress Rail’s deep industry expertise, together with the support of Caterpillar, ensures a commitment to quality through innovative solutions for the rail industry. Progress Rail has a network of nearly 200 locations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Australia, China, India, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit and follow @Progress_Rail on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Vale:

Vale is a global mining company that has the mission is to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development. The world's leading producer of iron ore and nickel, Vale is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and operates in five continents. Its operations comprise integrated logistics systems, including approximately 2,000 kilometers of railroads, maritime terminals and 10 ports distributed across Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Oman. Committed to the highest levels of governance, Vale offers support to 52 social and cultural projects in 65 Brazilian municipalities through the Vale Foundation. The company also protects or helps protect 8,500 km2 of native areas in the country. 


Progress Rail Contact:

Barbara Jansen, Marketing Director

+1-256-505-5054 and