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Some fresh electrons from Railfan News: by the end of 2019, JR Central will have a hybrid 4-car test formation. This will be a 4-car limited express type, which, if all goes well, will replace the KIHA85 someday. The KIHA85 is currently used on the Hida and Nanki services. JRC intends this to be the first Japanese hybrid to have an operational top speed of 120km/h. As I understand the article, batteries will be charged by both a diesel with alternator as well as regenerative braking. EMU-style traction motors will draw power from those batteries to propel the cars. This will reduce both cost and maintenance time. There will be only one engine per car, it will be silent during station stops, and this drive system lacks a gearbox, all contributing to an improvement in passenger comfort. Also, this type is expected to use 15% less fuel. If all goes well during one year of testing this prototype formation, endurance testing will begin (I'm not sure if this means revenue service or not). Following that, production cars could be manufactured in 2022. http://railf.jp/news/2017/06/08/090000.html