The Kiha E200, Japan To Introduce The World’s First Hybrid Train


When I heard about this Kiha E200, this is commuters’ paradise, I remember taking the subway in NYC, talking about the pollution, and noises, most commuters don’t have much choice. I recall while living in NYC, I spent many hours on the train and managed to read amongst the noises. If only the US would have worked toward something such as this.

The Metro-North and the Amtrak, which I took in the past are a bit better than the NYC subway, comparing to cars, trains are a relatively small contributor to global warming, and in the United States, railways contribute just 4 percent of transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. The Japanese train boosts fuel efficiency by 20 percent and reduces emissions by up to 60 percent.

Japan is a world leader in the development of hybrid cars and low-emission buses and plans are already well advanced to run a hybrid tram in Tokyo, this is very admirable that they’re working toward a technology that’s going to save the environment.

The Kiha E200, as it is known, is equipped with a diesel engine, two electric motors under each of its cars and lithium ion batteries on the roof. The diesel engine only kicks in with a rumble when needed to climb a hill or if the batteries run low. The batteries are recharged when the train slows down. After the power is switched off, the motors continue to turn for a while, and that energy wasted in a non-hybrid train is used to recharge the batteries.

The Kiha E200, which seats 46 and can hold 117 people including standees, is debuting on a line that runs about once an hour on a 79-kilometer (49 mile) route through a mountain resort area. Hybrid car is somewhat expensive, and hybrid train is no exception, the Kiha E200 train cost almost $1.7 million, double the price of a standard train, but I’m hoping that as the technology develops, the price will come down.

Read more here, and here.