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.