A solar powered railcar has been granted approval to carry passengers in Hungary just in time for the tourist season. Called “Vili,” the railcar will run on a scenic route between Kiralyret and Kismaros, close to the capital Budapest.
The 760mm-gauge vehicle has solar panels on its roof that cover an area of 10 square meters. The panels charge batteries installed under the passenger seats. The regenerative braking system also charges the batteries.
Vili has a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour and runs on two 7kW microprocessor-controlled asynchronous electric motors. It is also equipped with differential gears built into the axles that help reduce friction, energy use and wear-and-tear by reducing the rotation of the wheel discs on the inner rail.
Hungary’s Borzsony 2020 developed Vili’s mechanical parts while the electrical systems were developed by Hungarotrain.
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First solar-powered train in Europe
The Hungarian train is not the first solar-powered train in Europe. That distinction belongs to the “Green Train” which runs from Paris to Amsterdam. The difference however is that the Green Train does not carry its own solar panels but run on the power generated from panels on the roof of a tunnel in Antwerp. Aside from the train, the 16,000 solar panels on this line also power signaling, lighting and heating of railway stations.
Photo credit: Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry