A new rapid-charging station in Dudley will provide light rail vehicles with a low-cost alternative to the traditional overhead line electrification. The charge station will top-up battery-powered Very Light Rail (VRL) vehicles wirelessly and autonomously at scheduled three-minute stops.
The Furrer+Frey All-In-One OpBrid charger is already in use for electric buses in Spain and the Netherlands, but now the technology can be used to support light trams as well as buses. The charge station is part of a multi-million-pound project to develop Coventry’s Very Light Rail system, the aim is to provide the region with environmental and air pollution benefits of a tram network, but at a fraction of the cost.
Noel Dolphin, UK managing director of Furrer+Frey, said: ‘We are delighted to be building on our long history of rail electrification with this world-first charging solution for Very Light Rail. ‘With the right set-up the unit will work across buses, bin lorries or even heavy rail – helping us to tackle the climate emergency. ‘The software was made by our team in the UK and we plan to manufacture future units here in Britain.’
Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, added: ‘Dudley Council is keen to promote the use of cutting edge technology to drive innovation across the borough.
‘The VLR project is one example of new technological innovations we are proud to develop and be at the forefront. We will be the first area in the UK to trial this ultra-rapid charge station and it’s one example of our ambition to develop cutting edge innovations which in turn will encourage investors to Dudley, create jobs and build strong career opportunities across Dudley.’