Battery Drive System Impresses in First Tests of New Streetcars

The first performance tests of the new streetcars on order for the First Hill Streetcar line were completed in December. In addition to testing acceleration and braking, the performance tests featured off-wire operation powered by a rechargeable battery system, known as the On-Board Energy Storage System (OESS). When operating on the First Hill Streetcar line, the streetcars will be powered by the OESS on each inbound trip from Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square (2.5 miles). The batteries will be recharging whenever the streetcar is braking, and will also recharge on the outbound trip from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill, while being powered from the overhead wires (known as the Overhead Contact System, or OCS).

Czech Streetcar Test

Street Car Battery drive testing in Czech Republic.

Street Car Map

Initial tests were performed on a test track at the factory where the first streetcar was completed in the Czech city of Ostrava. The streetcar operated off-wire for 3 miles, using 25% of the battery capacity of the OESS. Subsequent tests were performed on the Ostrava streetcar system. This allowed for uphill and downhill operation and simulation of traffic conditions that may be encountered in Seattle. During this testing, the streetcar operated on battery drive for distances as great as four miles and durations as long as 37 minutes. The testing also demonstrated that batteries recharge rapidly from regenerative braking and during operation on the OCS.

The test results indicate that the OESS will be more than adequate for the requirements of the First Hill line, and can also be used for significant segments of the planned Center City Connector streetcar extension.

Streetcar Battery drive testing in Czech Republic.

Streetcar Battery drive testing in Czech Republic.

The OESS was developed for the First Hill Streetcar to reduce overhead wire conflicts with the Metro trolley bus system. Several other cities plan to use battery drive to avoid overhead conflicts (such as bridge overpasses), save energy costs, or limit the visual impact of overhead contact systems. A similar system has been in use in Nice, France since 2007.

For more information, please follw link: http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/