Project Description


TYPE: Rail
CLIENT: Coventry City Council



TDI was engaged to design, develop and build an innovative, very light rail vehicle which will be part of a new transport solution for Coventry.
The Coventry VLR vehicle is a zero emission battery electric prototype representing a novel, low-cost, low-carbon, rail-based public transport system, interoperable with existing rail systems and will ultimately be capable of operating without a driver.
The vehicle is significantly lighter than existing rail platforms, enabling the use of novel, low-cost lightweight infrastructure, improving affordability to smaller cities such as Coventry.

TDI introduced its localised manufacturing centre (‘LMC’) concept for the build programme and engaged a Coventry based build partner.  The TDI team was based on site to provide technology transfer support and project manage the build.  Final electric systems build and Factory Acceptance Testing was completed by TDI.

Due for delivery in 2021 (in the year of ‘Coventry City of Culture’) TDI’s prototype vehicle will be capable of carrying 20 seated passengers and a maximum of 70 including standees. It will be tested at the BCIMO in Dudley before a permanent tracked route is installed across Coventry and a fleet of vehicles manufactured.


Able to navigate the tightest of routes, down to 15m radius corners
Less than 1 Tonne per metre length, significantly lighter than existing rail vehicles
High Voltage opportunity charging and blended regenerative braking increases route frequency capability
Designed for operation on both a new lightweight trackform and existing Midland Metro Infrastructure
Employing an automotive approach while meeting Tramway Regulations and Rail Vehicle Accessibility standards


Service Life: 20 years
Power: >175kW continuous power
Speed: <70kph
Range: >10 km (route dependant)
Guidance: Steel track with resilient wheels
Passengers: 20 Seated and 50+ Standing crush load
Accessibility: RVAR compliant
Dimensions: 11000L x 2650W x 3175H
Door Opening: 900W x 1950H
Exterior Bodywork: Lightweight Carbon Composite panels

The project combines an unrivalled level of rail industry expertise with a range of additional, cutting edge innovations from autosport and automotive industries.