Hitachi Rail has reached an important milestone following a successful trial of its first battery-powered tram in Florence.
While traditional tram lines require electrified infrastructure – usually overhead wires supported by poles or pylons – that are expensive to install and visually unattractive. Battery trams offer the opportunity to run high-capacity public transport through city centres, while saving millions on installing wires and reducing the unsightly visual impact.
The trial involved installing battery packs on an existing Hitachi-built Sirio tram, which covered a section of the line under battery power. The innovation allows power to be returned to the batteries when the train breaks, reducing the overall amount of energy consumed and protecting the environment, according to Hitachi.
The battery tram ran between Alamanni and Fortezza in Florence in revenue service on T1 and T2 lines operated by Gest, which runs the tram lines.
“We are happy that Hitachi Rail has chosen the tramway in Florence to test this innovation. Battery-powered trams can revolutionise this type of service within cities. Public transport, especially in historic centres, will have to be less impactful and increasingly sustainable,” said Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence.
“This marks another significant step forward for the tramways in Florence.”
Hitachi recently announced the trial of a battery powered train in the UK and delivery of hybrid trains in Italy, as well as having built one of the world’s first battery-powered train fleets that operates in Japan.
“Our aim is 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,” added Andrea Pepi, head of sales and projects Italy, Hitachi Rail.
“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 Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service and maintenance, digital technology and turnkey solutions. It has a presence in 38 countries across six continents and employs 12,000.