Hitachi Rail tests first battery-powered tram in Italy

2 February 2021 (Last Updated February 2nd, 2021 16:36)

Hitachi Rail has announced that it has successfully completed the testing of its first battery-powered tram in the historic city of Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region.

Hitachi Rail tests first battery-powered tram in Italy
Under the trial, battery packs were fitted on an existing Hitachi-built Sirio tram, which travelled some distance under battery power. Credit: Hitachi Rail.

Hitachi Rail has announced that it has successfully completed the testing of its first battery-powered tram in the historic city of Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region.

The company stated that it will now work towards marketing these trams across the globe.

Battery trams will help in reducing the visual impact on urban streets and cut down the cost of electrified infrastructure, which is usually required in the case of traditional tram lines.

Under the trial, battery packs were fitted on an existing Hitachi-built Sirio tram, which travelled some distance under battery power.

The battery tram was tested between Alamanni and Fortezza in Florence in revenue service on T1 and T2 lines, which is operated by Gestione Servizio tramviario (GEST), a subsidiary of the French RATP.

When brakes were applied to the tram, this innovation allowed power to be returned to the batteries, reducing the overall energy consumption.

Hitachi Rail Italy sales and projects head Andrea Pepi said: “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.”

“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.”

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella said: “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. This marks another significant step forward for the tramways in Florence.”

Hitachi recently conducted the trial of a battery train in the UK and supplied hybrid trains in Italy. The company claimed that it has built one of the world’s first battery-powered train fleets that runs in Japan.