Battery Hybrid Operated Streetcars From Siemens Mobility Enter Revenue Service In North Carolina

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Siemens Mobility’s S700 streetcars delivered to the Charlotte Area Transit system (CATS) in the United States are now in revenue service. Designed with advanced hybrid technology that features an innovative battery storage system, these new streetcars run wirelessly through the heart of the city, 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 six new S700 streetcars join Charlotte’s current light rail fleet of 42 S70 light rail vehicles, bringing the total number of Siemens Mobility vehicles operated by CATS to 48.

“We are delighted to once again partner with Charlotte to help them meet their growing mobility needs by delivering our market leading streetcar platform that incorporates the most innovative and intelligent technologies available,” said Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility. “Sustainable transportation is one of the most important features for growing cities. Our battery hybrid vehicles provide CATS and its passengers with an energy efficient mobility solution that not only improves the overall availability of transportation, but also offers a comfortable ride and enhanced passenger experience.”Each streetcar features a hybrid wireless technology allowing the vehicle to run both on and off-wire via an Onboard Energy Storage System (OESS). The OESS includes an expandable and modular design that can be updated as battery technology evolves. The battery-storage and energy-saving technology was first demonstrated in San Diego and allows the battery to recharge when the vehicle is connected to the overhead catenary system. The vehicles operate at speeds up to 25 mph and are capable of carrying nearly 195 passengers.

The new streetcars 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. In addition, the operational performance enhancements of the new streetcars include traffic light preemption, a pedestrian-friendly front mask and an automatic passenger counter with enhanced 3D infrared sensor technology.The streetcars were ordered in late 2016 when the Charlotte City Council chose Siemens Mobility to build six new S700 Streetcars for the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), the public transit system operated across Mecklenburg County and four other surrounding counties in North Carolina. The vehicles were built at the Siemens Mobility rail manufacturing hub in Sacramento, California and all have been delivered.

The streetcars for Charlotte run on the second phase of the CityLYNX Gold Line, replacing the legacy green and yellow trolleys currently in operation. The new phase adds 2.5 miles to the Gold Line, expanding it to 4 miles in length and adding 11 new stops. 

CATS is one of more than 35 agencies across the United States benefiting from Siemens Mobility’s portfolio of rail vehicles, locomotives, components, and automation systems. American cities also rely on Siemens to provide traction-power substations and electricity transmission, as well as signaling and control technology for freight and passenger rail and transit systems. 

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