BYD, China's leading new-energy vehicle manufacturer, unveiled its first light train Thursday, a low-cost overground metro system suitable for hundreds of medium and small cities.
The train system, "Yungui," which when translated means Cloud Rail, costs one-fifth of a regular metro line and cuts the construction time by two-thirds, according to BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu.
He said compared to metro lines in Beijing and Shanghai, Yungui has been tailor-made for smaller cities or the tourist and commercial zones of big cities where a full-developed metro system is not viable.
BYD is one of at least five Chinese companies capable of producing urban light trains, said Zhong Jianhua, deputy director of the experts committee for China Association of Metros. The other manufacturers include China Railway Engineering Corp. and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd.
Zhong said the light train was essentially "made in China" as about 90 percent of the equipment was produced locally and is expected to become a new driver for growth of China's rail transport sector.
More than 20 Chinese cities have subscribed to building such light trains with a combined rail length of 3,000 kilometers, Zhong said, adding that demand would boost the country's rail transport sector.
He said the China-made light rail had been equally welcomed in the developing world, particularly in Southeast Asia. Exports may begin when the market is mature.