In a concerted effort to reduce the smog clouds that hang over China’s biggest cities, local scientists have teamed up to develop the world’s first hydrogen-fuelled tram.
The energy efficient tram, which has water as its only emission, can travel 100km on one tank of hydrogen.
It can reach a top speed of 70 km/h, with a capacity to transport at least 380 passengers on each trip.
The tram is manufactured by the Sifang Company, a subsidiary of the China South Rail Corporation, in conjunction with several research institutions around the country.
The first vehicle has reportedly just rolled off the production line after two years of development in the coastal city of Qingdao and is expected to begin operating soon.
As the only emission is water – the temperature inside the fuel cell will be controlled to stop any nitrogen oxides from forming – it’s doing zero damage to the environment.
The hydrogen-fuelled tram takes only three minutes to refill, and due to the relatively quick routes taken by Chinese public transport users, drivers will only have to refuel a few times a day. So it's also cheap to run, the researchers report.
"The average distance of tramcar lines in China is about 15km, which means one refill for our tram is enough for three round trips," Liang Jianying, chief engineer of the Sifang Company, told the Xinhua news agency.
The tram is a testament to the Chinese government’s commitment to do something to solve its smog problem.
Just last year, the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry reported that almost 90 percent of its cities had fallen below the threshold for air safety standards.