Saft nickel batteries to deliver vital back-up power for Alstom’s Chennai metro trains

Saft’s new SRM+ high energy nickel-based batteries will provide back-up power for 42 metro trainsets that Alstom is building for Chennai, in India.

Paris, November 6, 2013 – Saft, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, has won a multi-million euros contract for the onboard batteries for 42 train sets currently under construction by Alstom for the new Metro system that will serve Chennai, India’s fifth largest agglomeration with a population of over 8 million.

The Chennai metro project, which is the first major order for Saft’s new SRM+ high energy rail batteries, shows how Saft is responding to the significant opportunities presented by India, one of the world’s largest railway markets. Currently, train passenger numbers in India are in excess of 8 billion annually, and are predicted to increase by a further 5 percent in 2013-14. 45 Indian cities already have populations in excess of 1 million and more than 10 urban rail projects are in progress or planned across the country.

Alstom is supplying 42, 4-car train sets for Phase 1 of the Chennai metro project that consists of two interconnected lines, serving 32 stations over a 45 km route. These lines will carry more than 500,000 people daily with frequencies between two trains as short as 3 minutes. The first 9 trains are being manufactured in the Alstom Transport Lapa plant in Brazil, while the other 33 trains are being produced in India, in the newly built Sri City plant, Alstom’s first rolling stock factory in India. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2014-2015.

“To deliver world-class solutions for the expansion of India’s rail infrastructure, we need to work with world- class suppliers,” says Henri Poupart-Lafarge, President of Alstom Transport. Saft is therefore the ideal partner for the Chennai metro project based on the proven reliability and performance of its railway batteries. Furthermore, the premium service support provided by Saft’s Bangalore facility will help us achieve our target for a high level of localization.”

“The Chennai metro battery project is a vital breakthrough with a key strategic OEM in the BRICs area that confirms the successful launch of our new SRM+ batteries developed to provide rail operators with exceptional reliability and reduced operating costs throughout a 15-year plus service life,” says Xavier Delacroix, General Manager of Saft’s IBG Division. Effective project coordination between Saft and Alstom’s new factory in India will be provided by the world-class AMCO Saft India Limited factory in Bidadi, Bangalore.”

Two battery systems, each comprising 85 of Saft's specialised SRM+ rail batteries housed in a customized, sliding under floor tray, will be fitted by Alstom to the Chennai metro train sets. They will provide reliable backup power for up to 60 minutes to support emergency lighting, air conditioning, door operation and communication systems in the event of an interruption to the main power supply.

SRM+ combines Saft’s SRM sintered/PBE construction; field proven over 20 years of service and millions of track kilometres, with the advanced plate and electrolyte technology deployed on its industry leading MRX design. This ensures total reliability for high energy backup applications, even in the toughest operating conditions, including the extreme temperatures experienced in India.