Saft nickel traction batteries bridge the power gap for new generation BelkommunMash model 333 trolleybuses

Saft has delivered battery systems that combine traction and ancillary services back-up in a single package for the first pilot batch of 10 trolleybuses destined for Minsk, Belarus.

Paris, November 3rd2016 – Saft is partnering with BelkommunMash, the Belarusian manufacturer of electric public transport vehicles, to supply nickel-based traction battery systems for the new generation model 333 trolleybuses. The Saft MSX batteries will play a vital role in enabling the trolleybuses to establish reliable passenger services as they can travel for up to 500 meters under their own onboard power should they lose their overhead catenary supply.

Trolleybuses manufactured by BelkommunMash operate in seven cities in Belarus and over 40 cities in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Moldova, Argentina, Colombia and Serbia. The model 333 is a new generation articulated, low-floor high capacity design with a traction system that reduces energy consumption by up to 44 percent compared with conventional designs.

Saft has delivered MSX battery systems for a pilot batch of 10 model 333 trolleybuses. They will be put in service in Minsk, Belarus, which has one of the world’s largest trolleybus systems with over 1,000 vehicles operating on 68 routes.

The main role of the Saft batteries is to provide autonomous traction power that will enable the trolleybus to continue in operation when the catenary supply is interrupted. Typically, this will be once a day such as when crossing a junction or where the route changes due to road works. The batteries also perform a dual role by providing on-board back-up to maintain the continuity of critical control and safety systems including lighting, door opening and ventilation.

Saft has designed the MSX battery for demanding passenger transportation applications; a key advantage is its wide operating window of - 30°C to + 50°C to ensure a reliable service life of more than 15 years in extreme temperatures, such as those experienced in Belarus. The MSX is also exceptionally compact, making it suitable for mounting in the underfloor compartment, while its weight-saving design, compared to lead-acid batteries, contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the model 333 trolleybus.

“The BelkommunMash 333 trolleybus is a new generation zero-emission design. So, unlike trolleybuses that use diesel engines for traction backup the 333 will rely completely on Saft’s batteries to ensure continuity of service”, says Dmitry Lozin, Saft Transportation Key Account Manager for Russia. “Saft’s MSX batteries offer the perfect, cost-effective solution as they combine the capability for both traction and ancillary services back-up in a single, compact package.”