Japan Develops the World's First Hybrid Railcar
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 Posted: 12:16 PM JST
East Japan Railway Company has developed a railcar equipped with a diesel hybrid system with the aim of "Reducing Environmental Burden." The hybrid system uses a diesel generator and rechargeable batteries to power its motor. In a world first on July 31, 2007, the company began commercial operations with this hybrid railcar on the JR Koumi Line (from Kobuchizawa in Yamanashi Prefecture to Komoro in Nagano Prefecture).
When the new railcar, the Series KIHA E200, starts, only electricity stored in the charged batteries powers its motor. When the railcar gathers speed, the diesel engine starts and electricity from both the diesel generator and the batteries are used to power its motor. When the brakes are applied, the diesel engine stops and energy is transferred to the batteries by using the motor as a generator. In this way, the engine is used only when a railcar gathers speed, so it is not necessary to have the engine run idle while a railcar is at a standstill.
Series KIHA E200, using the hybrid system, has reduced fuel consumption and boasts nearly 60% lower emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulates when compared with the conventional Series KIHA 110, which uses only engine power via a transmission to drive its wheels.
First published in November 2007 by Japan for Sustainability (JFS).
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