In June, the Chinese company CRRC Corporation introduced an electric train that runs on virtual tracks, now officially reaching the streets of Zhuzhou, in China’s Hunan province.
The Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) could reduce polluting emissions and traffic by only investing a small part of what is needed to build a new subway or tram system. This 100% electric train can carry up to 300 passengers in three carriages through the city at speeds of 43 miles per hour.
No need for traditional train tracks for ART, which runs on dotted lines painted on the streets, assisted by hundreds of sensors. The caterpillar train has been described as a hybrid between bus and tram, and is 100% powered by electricity. Channel NewsAsia reported that ART could help speed up public transportation in Zhuzhou before spreading to other cities in China.
The train can go more than 15 miles after 10 minutes of charging. It appears that the ART has lithium titanate batteries and is charged via a quick charge facility.
The ART measures just over 31 meters, and instead of steel wheels it has rubber tires. A double head system allows the train to travel without the need to make a U-turn. The life of the track train is about 25 years.
People’s Daily Online reports that ART is cheaper than the typical subway, which in China costs between 400 and 700 million yuan, about 60.1 and 105.3 million dollars per kilometer. Compared to electric trams, which cost between 150 and 200 million yuan, or between 22.5 and 30 million dollars per kilometer, ART “is only a fifth of the investment.”
The train will be tested in Zhuzhou before it is put into public service in 2018.