JR East HYBARI hydrogen unit FV-E991 at Nakahara in Kawasaki (Photo: Hamagoi/Rail Lab).

JAPAN: East Japan Railway is to begin testing its prototype HYdrogen-HYBrid Advanced Rail vehicle for Innovation two-car hydrogen multiple-unit during March.

Plans for the Hybari unit were announced in June 2019, and agreements for its production were announced in October 2020.

The Series FV-E991 test train has one powered car and one trailer. Toyota Motor Corp supplied the fuel cells which are based on designs used on buses and other road vehicles, and Hitachi supplied the hybrid driveline with lithium-ion batteries charged by the fuel cells and regenerated braking energy.

The maxium speed is 100 km/h, and an operating range of about 140 km/h is expected.

The unit’s blue livery represents the water created by the chemical reaction in the fuel cells.