Toyota Motor Corp. is putting its efforts to accelerate the development of fuel cells on rails with a new train named Hybari: Hydrogen Hybrid Advanced Rail vehicle for Innovation.
The new train comes just after the company announced earlier this week, it was moving ahead with the development in North America of a heavy-duty truck powered by fuel cells. Toyota already offers a fuel cell-powered vehicle, the Mirai, in the U.S.
Toyota said is teaming up with the East Japan Railway Co. and Hitachi to develop the fuel cell-powered train. Under the agreement, railway vehicles will be equipped with hybrid systems that use hydrogen-powered fuel cells and storage batteries as their source of electricity.
“By collaborating to develop these test railway vehicles, we aim to further improve the environmental superiority of railways and realize a sustainable society,” Toyota said in a statement. The train will begin testing March 2022.
Hydrogen ensures minimal environmental impact as it does not emit any carbon dioxide when used as an energy source and it can be produced from various raw materials using renewable energy.
Combining their railway and automotive technologies, namely JR East’s railway vehicle design and manufacturing technologies.
Hitachi’s railway hybrid drive system technologies developed with JR East, and Toyota’s technologies acquired through development of the Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle and the SORA fuel cell bus, the three companies will adapt the fuel cells used in automobiles for railway applications.
Toyota will develop the fuel-cell device and Hitachi will develop the hybrid-drive system. The Japanese government has been actively promoting fuel cell technology and Toyota has been a leading champion of fuel-cell technology.
Toyota also recently reached into China to help promote fuel-cell technology, including FAW Corp. Ltd, Dongfeng Motor Corp., Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Beijing Automotive Group Co. and Beijing SinoHytec Co. for commercial vehicles.
The FCEV market in China, primarily for commercial vehicles, is growing at a pace not seen anywhere else in the world.
The alliance in China is based on the belief that industry-wide efforts to build the foundations for the widespread adoption of FCEVs under an open structure rather than measures by individual companies will be essential for the spread and firm establishment of FCEVs in the Chinese market, which is undergoing these extreme changes, these six companies, which share a common vision for FCEVs, decided to establish an R&D joint venture, Toyota officials said in statement when the agreement was announced.
Under the manufacturers of completed vehicles, which represent China’s extensive commercial vehicle development know-how and market experience along with SinoHytec and Toyota, which have experience with FC system development as well as results in the market, believe that they can work together as partners to promote the spread of FCEVs and develop competitive fuel cell systems that comply with regulations in China.
The six companies will come up with product plans and create a structure to develop a series of technologies from components including FC stacks that satisfy performance needs in China and fuel-system controls ready for installation in the vehicles.