China may have figured out wireless trams
This December, wireless streetcars will start carrying passengers in Guangzhou, China. The new trams will run using supercapacitor batteries instead of overhead wires.
Cities around the world, including Washington, have been increasingly interested in wireless streetcars ever since Bordeaux, France started using them in 2003. But Bordeaux's trams use an underground third rail that's proven too expensive for widespread use.
The Guangzhou system will use batteries that automatically recharge from an underground power supply at passenger stations. One recharge takes 10-30 seconds, and powers the tram for up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles).
And a similar system is in the works for another Chinese city, Nanjing.
That's good news for DC, where laws prohibit overhead wires at key locations near the National Mall. Streetcars like Guangzhou's could solve that problem.
It's not clear how much extra this type of wireless tram would cost. Expense doomed the Bordeaux method, so that is a serious concern. But if the price is right, the technology finally seems to be there.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
- Metro floats cutting service for the Green, Yellow, Orange, and Silver Lines
- The Baltimore Red Line does need a tunnel, despite its cost
- Fears over parking are threatening a new bus service in Richmond
- The five most frustrating things about Metro's problems
- "Convincing" and "enjoyable" "even with the wonkiness"
- By 2019 it will have taken 34 years to build the Silver Line
- How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 57