Innovative clean energy and infrastructure powering Milan’s e-Bus fleet


An innovative medium-voltage switchgear, free of greenhouse gases, is being deployed in Milan’s bus depots in an effort to power its bus fleet, which is expected to 100 per cent electric by 2030.

Schneider Electric’s innovative and sustainable technologies are at the heart of the renewed medium-voltage electrical distribution system, delivered by Alstom for Milan’s Azienda Trasporti Milanesi bus depots in Viale Sarca and Giambellino.

Their new SM AirSeT medium-voltage switchgear uses air insulation and shunt vacuum interruption technology instead of the greenhouse gas SF6. It also has advanced digital capabilities and connectivity for improved safety, security, efficiency, modern asset management, and network optimization.

From ambition to action

In pursuit of its ambitious sustainability goals Azienda Trasporti Milanesi is committed to using electrical distribution panels without greenhouse gases. This is one of the first projects in which SM AirSeT has been used in the infrastructure sector. The switchgear is at the centre of Azienda Trasporti Milanesi’s new electrical distribution system and will support their goal of an all-electric bus fleet. The transport company plans to convert their entire fleet of 1,200 diesel-run buses to fully electric vehicles by 2030. Schneider Electric’s innovative, environmentally-friendly SM AirSeT switchgear will support the necessary e-bus charging infrastructure.

Using panels with this technology avoids 560 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Azienda Trasporti Milanesi. In addition to improving sustainability, SM AirSeT also increases operational and maintenance efficiency by using Schneider Electric solutions for connectivity, communication, automation, and supervision.

“Thanks to our capacity for innovation, we can satisfy the most stringent end-to-end sustainability requirements without any compromise in terms of performance, efficiency, and operational optimization,” said Fabio Chiesa, Head of Transportation Infrastructure at Schneider Electric.

Why SM AirSeT with pure air technology?

SM AirSeT uses only pure air insulation combined with a new Shunt Vacuum Interruption (SVI) technology created by Schneider Electric. It is compact – the same size as a traditional SM6 switchgear panel. It also features advanced digital functions that can be integrated into automation and supervision systems. In addition, it supports condition-based maintenance processes that maximize service continuity and use thermal monitoring technology to identify temperature anomalies that can lead to overheating.

It has received Schneider Electric’s Green Premium label for sustainable performance. This is reserved for Schneider Electric solutions that are designed for circular performance with features such as improved durability, upgradability, and recyclability. They also comply with environmental regulations, provide instructions for end-of-life handling, and include environmental disclosures such as the Product Environmental Profile (PEP).

Also, the SM AirSeT retains the same operating methods as traditional switchgear, so it is easy to use and requires no additional operator training. In addition, it uses arc flash mitigation technologies that increase operator safety and it supports new modes of interaction – such as interfaces that use augmented reality for virtual switchgear access.

So far, Schneider Electric has supplied Alstom, the contractor in charge of execution, with 32 SM AirSeT switchgear units for this ongoing modernization project, which are complemented with switchgear and energy management systems (EcoStruxure), as well as maintenance and support by dedicated teams.

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