The city of Charlotte in North Carolina has put into commercial operation the new S700 hybrid trams manufactured by Siemens Mobility and designed with advanced hybrid technology that features an innovative battery storage system.
The new tramways will run wirelessly through the heart of uptown, maintaining a catenary-free zone in the city’s central business district, while offering all the same sustainability benefits as when operating with overhead wires.
The hybrid wireless technology allows the vehicle to run both on and off-wire via an Onboard Energy Storage System (OESS) which includes an expandable and modular design that can be updated as our battery technology evolves. The energy-saving battery technology recharges when connected to catenary and when running on-wire, the trams are electrically powered from an overhead catenary system.
The vehicles will operate at speeds up to 40 km/h (25 mph) and are capable of carrying nearly 195 passengers.
The new tramways also include features that enhance the overall riding experience such as large passenger windows for increased visibility, improved passenger safety through an interior surveillance system, and an unobstructed floor concept that allows more space for bicycle storage and wheelchairs. The operational performance enhancements of the new vehicles include traffic light preemption, a pedestrian-friendly front mask and an automatic passenger counter with enhanced 3D infrared sensor technology.
“We’re thrilled to bring state-of-the-art modern streetcar vehicles to Charlotte. The overall design, amenities and technology will provide a first-class experience for our riders and community members,” said John Lewis, the CEO of CATS, the public transport agency of city’s metropolitan area.
The hybrid trams will run on the second phase of the CityLynx Gold Line, replacing the legacy green and yellow trolleys currently in operation.
The new phase will add 4 km (2.5 miles) to the Gold Line, expanding it to 6.5 km (4 miles) in length served by 11 new stops.
In 2016, Charlotte City Council ordered from Siemens Mobility six S700 hybrid trams for Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) operated across Mecklenburg County and four other surrounding counties. These ordered trams join Charlotte’s current light rail fleet of 42 S70 light rail vehicles, bringing the total number of trams delivered by Siemens Mobility to 48 for CATS. The six S700 vehicles ordered by Charlotte in 2016 have all have been delivered.