It’s easy to look at the world of consumer vehicles and their mass adoption of battery power, but totally forget the world of public transportation. Even with the Arrival of electric buses and electric robotaxis, some of us don’t live anywhere near an operating train line, so naturally we forget they could use batteries too.
Thankfully, the Japanese are expert bullet train manufacturers. They’ve launched their newest version of the famous mode of transportation, with giant batteries under 16 of its cars.
The N700S, as it’s been dubbed, runs between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka on the Tokaido Shinkansen line.
It has a top speed of 360 km/h, but usually keeps under 285 km/h. That’s such an inconceivable speed to us Americans, who can only compare air-travel. In fact, the 223 mph top speed makes it one of the fastest trains in the world. Not that you’d notice, because they’ve also added an upgraded active-suspension, which makes the ride smooth as butter.
Now, if you’re wondering why the train needs batteries, what with the third-rail and all, it’s actually a very clever backup system. Since the chances of earthquakes are relatively high in Japan, they’ve added the batteries in case the power supply to the train gets cut off.
In case of an emergency, the battery system will propel the N700S to safety, allowing passengers and crew to escape any possible sticky situations. As the first train remodeled in over a decade, these precautions are a welcomed addition.
It will be the first of 40 of these trains operated by Central Japan Railway Co. before 2022.