Eurotunnel Group awards Saft major contract for nickel-based rail batteries
The key factor in the decision was the reliability and long life demonstrated by the existing Saft batteries that have delivered efficient and reliable onboard backup power for the Shuttles for nearly 20 years.
The Eurotunnel Shuttle system carries 2.5 million cars (Le Shuttle) and 1.5 million trucks every year, between Calais and Folkestone making it by far the world leader in piggyback transport. Since the opening of the lorry Shuttle service in July 1994, Eurotunnel has carried almost 19 million Lorries, 244 million tonnes of freight goods and 172 million passengers.
“Our strategy is to equip the Shuttles with advanced technology, recyclable and safe products, so at Eurotunnel we need absolute confidence that, when called on, the onboard batteries will deliver totally reliable backup power to ensure the continuity of vital services essential for passenger comfort and safety. Saft’s outstanding track record and the fact that the batteries are built in France convinced us that their new generation batteries will meet these needs over a long service life,” said Nicolas Chochoy, Eurotunnel project manager.
The major part of each Eurotunnel journey takes place in the Channel Tunnel itself. This means that reliable backup power is even more crucial than on regular rail services. So to ensure passenger comfort and safety, Eurotunnel relies on the Saft batteries to support critical onboard systems such as ventilation, display panels, door opening and lighting, fire detection, video, radio and computer systems as well as supporting auxiliary starting systems such as raising the pantograph.
The new generation batteries that will be fitted to the Shuttles have been developed specifically by Saft to deliver high performance, reliability and a 15-year plus service life in a compact, fully recyclable package that offers the perfect cost-effective replacement or upgrade for existing rolling stock. A total of 200 of the new batteries will be installed underneath the Shuttle vehicles to replace the existing Saft batteries, which will be recycled.
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