Hyundai Rotem said Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Motor on the development of fuel cell electric trams with a low-floor design that improves accessibility and provides larger windows and more airspace. They would also team up to develop fuel cell electric locomotives.
Hyundai Motor will provide fuel cells and related technology, while Hyundai Rotem will develop a system interface between trams and fuel cells. They aim to develop trams capable of traveling up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) at a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour with a single charge. Production of a prototype will be completed next year.
Because of its eco-friendly characteristics, fuel cells are considered the next-generation renewable power source. Fuel cells produce heat, electricity and water through a thermochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has called for the commercialization of hydrogen-powered trains after 2025.
The Hyundai auto group leads a government campaign to replace combustion engines gradually with hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries. South Korea has unveiled a roadmap to secure its firm leadership in the global market by producing 6.2 million fuel cell vehicles by 2040.
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