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Japanese streetcar runs on NiMH batteries

While we here in North America seem to be working on new and alternative ways to power our cars — be it biodiesel, ethanol, or gas-electric hybrids — it seems that researchers in Japan are working on something of a grander scale. Instead of just moving around a person or two, they want to move dozens at a time.

The SWIMO streetcar, developed by Kawazaki Heavy Industry, acts much like the streetcars you’d find in San Francisco, except with one significant difference: it runs solely on Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

It doesn’t cover all that much distance — a single charge will keep it going for about 10 kilometres (just a touch over 6 miles) — but if you imagine it getting a quick boost at each station, the SWIMO (Smoothy WIns MOver) can serve a major metropolitan area without too much trouble.

The plan is to implement the streetcar in Japan early next year.

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About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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