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Toshiba Successfully Test Drives SCiB™ Powered Energy Storage System for Trams


Toshiba and Kagoshima City Transportation Bureau held test runs for a new catenary-free 1000 series tram, powered by Toshiba’s SCiB™ lithium-ion secondary battery. The tram ran on an approximately 10km route, between Kagoshima eki-mae station and Korimoto station, powered by a 24.3kWh SCiB, without using a pantograph to draw power from an overhead power line (the catenary).

Charging tram batteries directly from the catenary normally requires a large charging unit, due to the high voltage. However Toshiba developed a space-saving energy storage system by using the auxiliary power unit, which converts energy for the tram’s on-board lighting and air conditioning to charge the SCiB. As a result, the energy storage system, previously installed under the floor of the tram, can be installed under the passenger seats of trams now in operation.

Using Toshiba’s energy storage system allows trams to run without a catenary in places where overhead lines can interfere with traffic, such as intersections, and in locations where a city landscape is being conserved. Trams with the system can also operate during power failures, under their own power, and the system also removes the need to string new power lines when a tram line is extended.

The outstanding features of Toshiba’s SCiB™ battery include high level safety, a long life of more than 10,000*1 charge-discharge cycles, and the ability to operate in extreme cold, down to -30℃. Most importantly, the SCiB’s structure is highly resistant to overheating and catching fire, even in the event of a short circuit caused by external pressure. The SCiB™ is also expected to be used in rail cars, which must be very safe.

Toshiba will continue to provide new solutions with the energy storage system utilizing SCiB™ battery. 

*1 At 25℃ with a current load 3 times higher than usual.

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