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Green Light for New Bombardier Trams of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH with Innovative Energy Storage


World’s first series production of the award-winning MITRAC Energy Saver begins in Heidelberg

Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is set to commission the first six new Variobahn type Bombardier trams at its Heidelberg site in Germany. These trams are the first to feature the commercial application of the BOMBARDIER MITRAC Energy Saver, the innovative energy storage system. Thanks to this system, vehicles require up to 30 percent less energy and are capable of catenary-free operation.

“We are proud of the new trams. The new system not only allows us to reduce energy costs – we are also the first operator in the world to use this technology in all new vehicles. It is therefore no surprise that we were awarded the innovation prize by the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg for the MITRAC Energy Saver at the beginning of the year”, said Martin in der Beek, Chief Technical Officer of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH. “We will save about 93´000 kWh of electrical energy per vehicle each year. That also benefits our region due to lower emissions when generating electricity at the power station”, added in der Beek.

“I am really pleased that the MITRAC Energy Saver will first be used in the region where it has been developed. There are concrete plans to run the trams in catenary-free operation over two sections of around 400 metres each in Heidelberg. The technology is local in origin, having been developed and manufactured at Mannheim’s Bombardier plant”, stated Grego Peters, President Light Rail Vehicles at Bombardier Transportation. He continued: “Besides the energy saving, passengers will also benefit from the usual amenities in the new trams. The vehicles are extremely comfortable and include an air-conditioning system as well as a new type of dual monitor for passenger information.”

The MITRAC Energy Saver is part of the ECO4 portfolio of Bombardier Transportation, enabling rail vehicles to be operated in a particularly economical and energy-saving way.

The MITRAC Energy Saver saves up to 30 percent energy and utilises an energy recovery system: three roof-mounted energy storage units use their capacitors to store the energy generated during braking, ready to release it again when accelerating or during operation. The high performance double-layer capacitors of the MITRAC Energy Saver store up to 3 kWh per vehicle. When starting up and accelerating, vehicles require a particularly large amount of electricity and put a significant burden on the power supply network. This is reduced by about 40% with the MITRAC Energy Saver, allowing the network to be utilised more cost effectively.

Yet another advantage of the Bombardier energy storage is the catenary-free operation in sections. Thanks to the MITRAC Energy Saver, sections of the route without contact wires can be operated using the stored energy. This typically makes sense in areas of historical importance, where the unique scenery is to be preserved. The technology might also be used on two route sections planned at Neuenheimer Feld in Heidelberg where the electrical fields of the contact wire could possibly interfere with the highly-sensitive measuring instruments of the University’s Physical-Technical Institute and the German Cancer Research Centre.

Thirteen more vehicles will be supplied in 2010 for Line 5 and sections in Mannheim. The RNV has ordered a total of 19 light rail vehicles with the MITRAC Energy Saver. They will enter service by the end of 2010.


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