Škoda Transportation will deliver ultracapacitor systems for 114 trams destined for Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Ludwigshafen in Germany. Skeleton Technologies won the contract to supply the ultracaps.
The ultracapacitor system enables the streetcars to recuperate braking energy and to reuse it for acceleration. Ultracapacitors have an advantage over batteries for this kind of application, mostly due to their ability to recharge in seconds and stability.
Czech Skoda Electric says it decided to work with the company from Estonia because of the quality and efficiency of the Skeleton’s products, which provides a “very clear competitive advantage,” explains Stanislav Wizur, Škoda Electric Strategic Purchasing. “We have worked together with Skeleton Technologies to develop the most efficient energy storage solution for modern trams, keeping in mind the power restrictions for grid infrastructure in a number of cities around Europe.”
For Skeleton Technologies the present contract is just the start of its locomotive business and proof that companies and transit operators “do not need to go to China or the United States for battery and ultracapacitor production,” said Skeleton Technologies CEO Taavi Madiberk.
Skeleton Technologies that describes itself as a global leader in graphene-based ultracapacitors and energy-storage systems was founded in 2009 and says to have raised over 51 million euros since to support manufacturing scale-up in Germany and Estonia. The latest announcement was an expansion of the plant in the town of Großröhrsdorf near Dresden.
Also for Skoda Electric, this is not the first partnership for alternative propulsion systems. Skoda Electric has the intent to jointly develop, sell and service fuel cell electric buses using the technology of Proton Power Systems reportedly.
Note that Skoda Electric is not part of the Volkswagen Group unlike the Skoda brand for cars but runs under the roof of Skoda Transportation. The Czech outlet specialises in making electric motors for public transport, so for vehicles such as buses, tramways, and suburban trains.