Transportation / Mobility

August 31, 2006


Kawasaki Heavy Industries to Test Battery-Powered Tram

Keywords: Manufacturing industry Transportation / Mobility 

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a major Japanese heavy machinery manufacturer, announced on June 14, 2006, that the Gigacell, the company's nickel metal-hydride battery for vehicles, is ready for practical use. The battery is essential for developing light rail vehicles (LRVs). Mounting the Gigacell on the tram car provided by Chikuho Electric Railroad in Fukuoka Prefecture, the company will conduct a test run in August 2006.

The battery-driven LRV can run without a continuous power supply from overhead electric lines. Consequently, the number of overhead lines can be reduced, thereby helping to improve the landscape. Furthermore, such LRVs will not be affected by reduced voltage, even while running in areas far from substations. Thus, intervals between substations can be lengthened and some substations can be eliminated. With conventional trains, regenerative braking does not generate usable power unless there happens to be another tram running nearby. However, battery- powered LRVs can store such electricity and increase their energy efficiency ratio.

The tram car is 15 meters in length with a seating capacity of 63 passengers. The floor height of the step is 33 centimeters, and that of the cabin is 36 centimeters, thus ensuring that the height of the tram step is low enough to be close to the platform. The basic design for the ultra low-floor rail car, the key to the universal design of the tram, has been completed. The company hopes to make the best use of their experience in manufacturing rolling stock to produce better LRVs for passengers and the environment, aiming at more comfortable urban transportation as well as an improved environment.

Posted: 2006/08/31 06:52:03 AM
Japanese version