Saft, a global designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, has won a series production project for lithium-ion (Li-ion) rail regenerative traction batteries. Saft’s new generation Ion-OnBoard Regen Li-ion battery system will be deployed on 10 out of the total of 19 Avenio trams destined for Doha, the capital of Qatar. The batteries will play a vital role at the heart of the Siemens Sitras HES (Hybrid Energy Storage) system that will provide fully autonomous operation for the trams, without the use of overhead catenaries. 

The Rail System business at Siemens is constructing the new tram system as a turnkey project, comprising 19 double-articulated tram units running over 11.5 km of track and serving 25 stations and stops at Doha’s Education City university campus. Operation without the need for a pantograph and catenaries, utilising efficient regenerative braking and rapid charging at each stop, will make the Doha system the most modern tram in the world as well as establishing the “Avenio concept” as a model for sustainable, rail-based mass transit that reduces both visual impact and CO2 emissions. 

The Sitras HES system on the Doha trams will combine Saft’s new generation Ion-OnBoard Regen traction batteries with a double-layer capacitor system to ensure the optimum energy balance. This approach provides rapid charging during the short stay at each tram stop, together with effective regenerative braking to reduce energy consumption by around 30%, enabling the trams to operate continuously throughout their daily shift.

The Doha tram system is scheduled to enter service in autumn 2016.