I live in Bordeaux and what that surprises me is that the tram here are connected to an overhead power line in certain stations and nothing at all for the others.
The stations whom the tram is connected to an electric source is numbered at around 4 stations while the rest, like 20+ of them is without any connection.
Is this possible given that the on board battery looks inexistant to me?
And after some research: (from wiki)
There are other methods of powering electric trams, sometimes preferred for aesthetic reasons since poles and overhead wires are not required. The old tram systems in London, Manhattan (New York City), and Washington, D.C., used live rails, like those on third-rail electrified railways, but in a conduit underneath the road, from which they drew power through a plough. It was called Conduit current collection. Washington's was the last of these to close, in 1962. Today, no commercial tramway uses this system. More recently, a modern equivalent to the old stud systems has been developed which allows for the safe installation of a third rail on city streets, which is known as surface current collection or ground-lev.el power supply; the main example of this is the new tramway in Bordeaux.[/quote]
Apparently, the tram here is the world's first second-generation tram that draw's power from the ground, instead of overhead electrical cables. The choice is mainly due to aesthetical reasons (to not distrupt the architectural views) but the drawback includes frequent distruptions (as the techonology isn't perfected yet), which really do annoy people here.
The manufacturer, Altrom signed a contract with CUB (communauté urbaine de Bordeaux) which promises to share future profits from sales of this kind of tram in return for us being the guinea pig.
Recently, the on time rate is getting better and better, and according to a website, reaches 99% already.
Cities like Anger, Reims and Orléans will have this kind of tram soon.