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Rail is already the cleanest and most efficient form of transportation. It has the lowest CO2 per km travelled of any form of mass transport. And yet with over 50% of train lines in the UK yet to be electrified, there is still a long way to go.
In the short term Hitachi is developing battery powered trains that can switch seamlessly between overhead power, onboard batteries and diesel. These will provide cleaner air in stations and city centres without the need for cost-prohibitive electrification in tunnels or over bridges. The batteries can be retrofitted to existing trains: in the UK for example Hitachi could potentially retrofit their fleet of 400 trains into battery-electric-diesel tri-mode trains relatively quickly and affordably. To find out more about Hitachi’s battery trains visit here.
For the longer term Hitachi is also investing in Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered trains. The test trains will be developed with Toyota and East Japan Railway Company. They will use a hybrid drive system and storage batteries developed by Hitachi, incorporating hydrogen powered fuel cells from Toyota. To find out more visit here.
Further down the line Hyperloop technology has the potential to travel faster than passenger aircraft, connecting cities in previously unthinkable times, without the CO2 emissions. The trains will levitate using magnets and ‘fly’ through a tunnel using a near vacuum to virtually eliminate resistance from air and tracks. Hitachi is partnering with HyperloopTT to develop the automated signalling systems; an essential part of travelling safely at 1200 kmph.
To find out more click here.