Hitachi Rail has completed testing of its first battery-powered tram in Florence, Italy. Unlike standard trams, which run under overhead wires that require a greater initial capital outlay and are visually unattractive, the battery-powered system reduces the visual impact in urban areas. This is of particular interest in historic city centers, such as Florence.
The battery packs were installed on an existing Hitachi Sirio tram which covered a section of the line under battery power. The system also includes regenerative braking – meaning that power generated by braking is returned to the battery packs, thus reducing the overall amount of energy consumed and protecting the environment.
Andrea Pepi, Head of Sales and Projects Italy, Hitachi Rail said: “We aim to use our technology and our work to help build a sustainable society and contribute to the well-being of people around the world by improving their quality of life. This is a key milestone as we pioneer this new technology that allows us to work with our customers to reduce infrastructure costs while still offering environmentally-friendly public transport. We hope this successful trial in Italy creates new opportunities for us across the world.”
Hitachi recently announced the trial of a battery train in the UK, with batteries replacing a diesel engine as the power source on an existing Hitachi-built train. The train currently in use is known as a bi-mode for its ability to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power.
The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella said: “We are happy that Hitachi Rail has chosen the tramway in Florence to test this innovation. Battery-powered trams can revolutionize this type of service within cities. Public transport, especially in historic centres, will have to be less impactful and increasingly sustainable. This marks another significant step forward for the tramways in Florence.”