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Skoda Transportation launched new “catenary-free” tram solution

Škoda Transportation successfully completed, all tests and certification of its  “catenary-free” tram in January of this year and the tram was put in operation during the month of February at its facility in Plzen.  This advanced technological solution called “CATFREE” drive, makes it possible for vehicles to move and operate independent of the catenary-based traction power. The certification test in Pilsen was, implemented on its newest Škoda 28T tram family and was verified and certified by an Accredited Laboratory & Notified Body and witnessed by customer.

Catenary-free tram operation is nothing new for Skoda, as we have already supplied battery powered trams, for depot operations, to USA, Italy, Poland, Latvia and Czech Republic, among others, since 2006. This, combined with the extended know-how, gained during the past several years, by our Trolleybus Division, for the supply of alternative energy sources such as Batteries, Super-capacitors and/or hybrid-technologies ranks Skoda among the top suppliers of “catenary-free” solution. In addition, the new development in battery technology, makes our product, the solution of choice for the customers, as infrastructure based solutions are not only expensive but require longer time for implementation, not to mention the added costs”, says Zal Shahbaz, Sr. vice-president of Škoda Transportation.

Skoda’s “CATFREE” solution, in its present configuration, is able to cover a distance of up to 3 kilometres at an average speed of 30 km/h without power supply through a pantograph under the conditions of everyday city traffic. The drive can also be used in case of a failure of the catenary power, so that the tram does not obstruct the flow of traffic.

Historically, the first prototype of a trolleybus with a battery powered drive was developed by Škoda in 2003. The trolleybuses of the Škoda brand with an auxiliary battery powered drive are currently used, among others, in the Swedish city of Landskrona with a range of up to 20 km without any speed limit. Another 12 vehicles with a range of 10km and an average speed of up to 50 km/h will also be sent to the Hungarian city of Szeged this year.

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