Test Runs of Battery-Powered Light Rail Vehicle to Begin
Jun. 14, 2006
Tokyo, June 14, 2006 – Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. today announced that it will start test runs in August of a tram car powered by its proprietary nickel metal-hydride GIGACELL* battery, developed for a next-generation light rail vehicle (LRV).
Kawasaki plans to complete production of the test car for the super-low floor LRV, dubbed SWIMO (Smooth WIn MOver), in 2007.
The test car is 15 m long, with a capacity of 63 passengers and a top speed of 40 km/h. The floor is only 33 cm from the ground at the entrance, making it easier for passengers to board. It has been kept flat to accommodate a variety of seat configurations. Kawasaki designed a new bogie that is the key technology in realizing the low floor height. The SWIMO generates power on reducing speed, which charges the GIGACELL battery so that it can power the vehicle and utilities. This greatly increases the LRV's energy efficiency.
The GIGACELL compensates for voltage reductions when the SWIMO is not near a substation, thus allowing greater distances between substations and a reduction in the overall number of substations. Consequently, maintenance requirements can also be reduced. Because the GIGACELL enables operations without a constant supply of electricity from overhead lines, traffic systems can be designed with a reduced number of lines, thus helping to preserve the beauty of the cityscape.
*GIGACELL is a trademark, or registered trademark of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. in JAPAN and U.S.