The test vehicle, which is called Hybari, will employ fuel cells developed by Toyota for its hydrogen-fuelled Mirai cars and Sora buses, and a hybrid drive system developed by Hitachi. Hybari will also incorporate regenerative braking systems for additional power generation.

The prototype train will be a converted two-car FV-E991 EMU, and is expected to have an operational speed of 100km/h, with a range of approximately 140km before refuelling.

Testing of the train is scheduled to begin in March 2022 on the 4.1 km Shitte - Hama-Kawasaki Nambu Branch Line in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Diagram demonstrating the technology of the Hybari JR East hydrogen-electric hybrid train

The project is a key feature of JR East’s target to achieve net zero carbon emissions in all rail operations by 2030, and across its entire business by 2050, as outlined in its Zero Carbon Challenge 2050 strategy.

As part of the plan, JR East also plans to open a hydrogen refuelling station at Takanawa Gateway Station and develop renewable energy assets through its JR East Energy Development subsidiary.