PROGRESS has been made on the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR) with the first rapid battery charger being commissioned for Urban VLR.
It has been developed at the VLR National Innovation Centre in Dudley and will be tested on the prototype Coventry VLR.
The new charger is estimated to charge battery-powered VLR vehicles in three minutes.
It uses a pantograph that lowers from above which allows VLR vehicles to be charged at scheduled stops or at the ends of routes.
The set-up is the first of its kind and allows for lighter batteries as well as saving drivers time.
The long-term aim is to use these chargers for buses as well as light rail vehicles as part of an electric public transport network.
Coventry VLR is designed to be a cheaper and easier-to-install alternative to traditional metros.
The development, which is supported by Coventry City Council, aims to draw up a full business case by next year.
The first phase of the line is targeted for opening in 2024.
Coun Jim O’Boyle said: “This is an important milestone for the Coventry Very Light Rail project, which demonstrates the tight integration we expect to have between Coventry Very Light Rail and our all-electric bus fleet, with both being able to charge at a single site.
“The charger is a key piece of the puzzle which, alongside the vehicle’s battery – avoids the need for overhead lines and means the system is zero emission.”