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The Charlotte City Council in North Carolina yesterday selected Siemens to build six new S70 streetcars for the Charlotte Area Transit System's (CATS) CityLYNX Gold Line.The units will be designed with advanced hybrid technology that features a battery storage system, which allows for operation in portions of the city's Uptown area without an overhead wire.Siemens' battery-storage technology was first demonstrated in San Diego, where it achieved a world record for longest distance traveled by a battery-powered tram from one charge in 24 hours, according to the company's press release.The new streetcars will run on the second phase of the Gold Line and replace the legacy green and yellow trolleys currently in operation. The new phase will add 2.5 miles to the line.The units have features aimed at enhancing the riding experience and operational performance, Siemens officials said. Those features include traffic light preemption, a pedestrian-friendly front mask, an automatic passenger counter with 3-D infrared sensor technology, larger windows, and an unobstructed floor with room for bicycle storage and wheelchairs.The order is valued at $40.4 million, The Charlotte Observer reported.Meanwhile, the Charlotte City Council also approved a $94 million construction contract with Johnson Bros. Construction for the Gold Line's second phase, according to The Observer. Work is expected to begin in 2017, with the project wrapping up by summer of 2020.
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