JR East to test hydrogen fuel cell trains in Japan

East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, has announced a plan to test new electric-powered trains using hydrogen fuel cells from fiscal 2021.

The railway operator will spend about ¥4 billion on the development of a two-car setup and test runs, aiming to commercialize such fuel cell trains by fiscal 2024.

The trains will be equipped with both fuel cells and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.

The system will have a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour and is expected to travel about 140 kilometers per tank of hydrogen.

The test runs will take place on several JR East lines, including the Nanbu Line.

The company tested a hydrogen fuel cell train some 10 years ago. But it suspended development of such trains due primarily to problems related to the performance of the batteries.

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