Just a day after we reported about Norfolk Southern’s new battery-powered locomotive, news has arrived from Japan that the East Japan Railway Co (JR East) has developed a rail car equipped with lithium-ion secondary batteries. The company is planning to test-run the rail car this month and aims to develop charging equipment and commercialize the rail car in the near future.
The project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions and noise by eliminating exhaust air from the engine and also reduce maintenance by reducing the number of machine components in the rail car. The “NR Train Smart Battery-kun” is equipped with nine lithium-ion battery units that collectively generate about 163kWh of power.
The battery setup propels the railcar to a top speed of 100kph and a range of about 50km on a flat terrain. The test car can also be driven by overhead wires, which apart from powering the rail car can recharge the batteries as well. In addition to overhead recharging system, the batteries will also be charged with a regenerative breaking mechanism. JR East is also planning to build charging facilities at railway stations so that the car can be charged when it makes a stop at a station.