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Bombardier battery-electric powered tram sets range record: 25.9 miles of catenary-free operation

Bombardier Transportation has successfully completed a 41.6 km (25.9 miles) catenary-free test run using a Bombardier-built tram, powered entirely by its PRIMOVE battery in combination with BOMBARDIER MITRAC (Modular Integrated TRACtion system). The test run was conducted in the German city of Mannheim on the Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) network.

RNV began using SuperCaps energy storage systems in 2009, and has integrated this technology into 30 of their trams. This provided sufficient energy for short catenary-free operation (CFO) distances. However, the latest generation of Bombardier’s PRIMOVE battery system has been specifically developed for use with CFO where greater distances need to be covered.

Electric drivetrain elements of a PRIMOVE tram, this one with inductive charging. Click to enlarge.

In addition to application in Germany, the PRIMOVE battery and MITRAC propulsion equipment combination has been in successful revenue service on the Hexi line in Nanjing, China since August 2014.

Six trams, built by CRRC Puzhen under Bombardier license, operate without overhead cables on 90% of the lines. The batteries are charged seamlessly during passenger service via the pantograph, statically at tram stops, and dynamically during acceleration. On this demanding route, the CFO propulsion system has proven its suitability for almost any tram line worldwide, Bombardier said.

A PRIMOVE tram battery double unit. Each double unit comprises two battery packs and two battery management systems, and offers 49 kWh of capacity with a nominal voltage of 532 V. For a five-car tram, two double units are installed. Each double unit has its own thermal conditioning unit, wiring harness and connectors. Click to enlarge.

The PRIMOVE battery system builds upon Bombardier’s years of experience with energy storage systems. The system combines high power capacity and battery life with high reliability and has been designed to maximize performance using the latest developments in nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) Li-ion cells. (The battery units are provided by AKASOL. Earlier post.)

The advanced PRIMOVE thermal conditioning unit maintains the battery’s ideal temperature and enables rapid charging and full braking energy recovery while extending their lifetime to up to ten years.

Bombardier’s complete PRIMOVE package includes the inductive PRIMOVEfast charging system, the high power, long-life PRIMOVE batteries and the efficient PRIMOVEpropulsion.

In addition to the PRIMOVE tram in Nanjing, China, PRIMOVE e-buses are already successfully in operation in Braunschweig, Mannheim and Berlin, Germany and in Bruges, Belgium.



This seems to be a much better and more efficient concept than the article above for solar powered electrolysis H2 fuel cell buses (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District). You could have a moderate sized battery in the bus that is recharged at regular stops. It would not even be necessary to recharge at each stop.


This is a really good idea - electric drive with 10% of the catenary required.
(OK, they would probably go a bit more than that to be safe, but it looks like a really good idea to me.)
It you applied this to electric buses, it would be even better as you wouldn't have the rail construction costs.
(But you would have higher rolling resistance so you might need more power ...) But if you got it to 20% catenary, it would still be good.
+ you could add a diesel generator for emergency use and use off the routes (delivery etc).


Good idea mahonj.

Adding an board small emergency generator, large enough to crawl to the next charging station, should not be much of a challenge.

Similar units have been in operation in Switzerland (multi small unit trains), Germany, China and other places but it is not well known if they have emergency on board units.


sd, think Busbaar.

Thomas Lankester

A wireless version is on trial in Milton Keynes:

Henry Gibson

Forget cooling batteries below the ambient temperature anywhere on earth! You could have installed Durathon or Zebra batteries ten years ago and had 100 km of tram travel without catenaries. Parry People movers had flywheel trams twenty years ago with charging at stops. and there were Swiss and Netherlands(?) flywheel buses or trams with station charging. One also must not forget the flywheel electric locomotives in the UK for occasionally interrupted third rail. Also don't forget the tiny Bladon Jets range extenders that gave a Jaguar hundreds of miles of extended range and could find a thousand empty places to fit into a tram. Thanks to you who have mentioned fuel range extenders as an obvious necessity for such vehicles even if the fuel has to be pure methanol made with pure Icelandic geothermal energy and its associated recycled CO2. ..HG..

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