Hitachi Rail has successfully tested a battery-powered tram in Florence, Italy. The trial involved installing battery packs on a Hitachi Sirio tram, enabling it to cover a section of the line under battery power alone.

While traditional tram lines require electrified infrastructure – usually overhead wires – that are expensive to install and visually unattractive. Battery trams offer the opportunity to run high-capacity public transport through city centres, while saving millions on installing wires and reducing the visual impact on beautiful historic streets, like Florence.

The system includes regenerative breaking which allows power to be recovered when the train brakes.

Andrea Pepi, Head of Sales and Projects Italy, Hitachi Rail said: “This is a key milestone as we pioneer this new technology that allows us to reduce infrastructure costs while still offering environmentally-friendly public transport. We hope this successful trial in Italy creates new opportunities for us across the world.”

The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella said: “We are happy that Hitachi Rail has chosen the tramway in Florence to test this innovation. Battery-powered trams can revolutionize this type of service within cities. Public transport, especially in historic centres, will have to be less impactful and increasingly sustainable.