San Francisco cable car ‘big’ 19 on a test run. (Muni
With eight NGT6 low-floor trams on order from Heiterblick through the Sächsische Tram project (Leipzig, Chemnitz and Görlitz), in order to qualify for an innovation grant from the Coal Replacement Fund, a ninth tram has been added featuring a hydrogen power train that eliminates the need for an overhead wire, the first practical example on a European street tramway. This would make it easier and cheaper to extend a tramway to new areas. 
The hydrogen tram will be developed in association with Fa and Hörmann Vehicle Engineering (HVE) in Chemnitz, and is further supported by EUR 8M from federal funding. Other partners are Fa, Flexiva Automation & Robotik and the Technical University in Chemnitz. The latter will develop a refuelling strategy. 
Another problem to be solved is weight, with a tank full of hydrogen to be accommodated. 
Delivery is expected at the end of 2026. Dr Volkmar Vogel, Senior Vice-President of HVE said, ‘The advantage of a hydrogen-powered tram is that no overhead lines are required. It is therefore not to replace existing tramways, but rather be an alternative for new routes’.  
There are now 27 hydrogen-powered railway trains operating in Germany, although reliability has been a problem. Görlitz has already tested a hydrogen-powered bus. 
Computer-generated image of the Görlitz hydrogen tram. (HVE) 
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