In an effort to mitigate the ridiculous amounts of smog that cloud China’s biggest cities, local scientists have teamed up to develop the world’s first hydrogen-fuelled tram.
Manufactured by the Sifang Company, which is a subsidiary of the China South Rail Corporation, in conjunction with several research institutions around the country, it gets enough power from one tank of hydrogen to travel 100 kilometres at a top speed of 70 km/h, and can transport at least 380 passengers at a time.
The vehicle, which has been in development for the past two years, has reportedly just rolled off the production line in coastal city of Qingdao last week, so it’s expected to be hitting the streets very soon.
What’s so awesome about it is its only emission is water - the temperature inside the fuel cell will be controlled to stop any nitrogen oxides from forming - so it’s doing zero damage to the environment, and at the same time, it doesn’t sacrifice any practicality. It only takes three minutes to refill, and due to the relatively quick routes taken by Chinese public transport users, drivers will only have to refuel a few times a day. It's also cheap to run, the researchers report.
"The average distance of tramcar lines in China is about 15 kilometres, which means one refill for our tram is enough for three round trips," Liang Jianying, chief engineer of the Sifang Company, told the Xinhua news agency.
The tram is a testament to the Chinese government’s commitment to do something to figure out its smog problem. Just last year, the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry reported that almost 90 percent of its cities had fallen below the threshold for air safety standards. Now it's time for the rest of the world to follow suit and get some of these awesome trams on their streets.