Saft Wins €2 Million Order for NiMH Hybrid Tram Batteries

December 11, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Saft has won a €2 million order from Alstom to supply NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) integrated traction battery systems for its CITADIS trams currently under construction for the city of Nice. The new hybrid trams, due to commence service in 2007, on line 1 of Nice's new tramway system, in the south of France, will be able to switch their source of traction power between overhead catenaries and the on-board batteries for wire-free operation in the downtown area.

Since the tram route will cross Nice's two historic town squares (Place Masséna and Place Garibaldi), the local authorities asked for a low impact solution to keep these areas free of overhead wires. Therefore, Alstom needed an onboard traction battery capable of providing sufficient power for travel over the sections of track places where catenaries are not available. The system also had to be compact enough for installation in the vehicle roof.

Saft has developed a fully-integrated battery for this new generation of tramways. The Saft Ni-MH battery systems offer excellent power storage in a compact maintenance-free package, and will power the trams for around 500 metres through each autonomous section. Saft's new generation NHP nickel-metal hydride battery modules offered the ideal solution as they have been developed specifically for high power applications.

Saft's battery system is designed for various hybrid and bimode applications. Each battery system incorporates an active cooling device and battery management control. The whole unit is supplied ready to "plug and play" in a custom built tray complete with power and communication capabilities and all necessary safety features.