Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) is set to develop a lithium-ion battery system that enables new bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen line to run without overhead power in emergencies.
The new N700S train series is scheduled to debut in fiscal 2020. If the new battery system can be implemented, it will mark the first time in Japan that bullet train cars would run on an internal power source.
Currently, Shinkansen trains need to be towed when there is a power outage. The N700S series is characterized by its small motor and light weight. These features will make space for carrying batteries beneath the carriages. With the internal power source, even if a power cut occurs when a train is running in a tunnel, the cars will use battery power to move to where passengers can safely disembark.
JR Central will develop the light, small batteries with Toshiba Infrastructure Systems and Solution Corp. and other companies. The development team aims for the cars to run several kilometers at a speed of around 30 kilometers per hour and will start testing the system within 2018.
Commenting on the project, JR Central President Koei Tsuge said, "It's a compilation of weight saving, which we have been tackling for a long time. It's innovative technology."