Italdesign has revealed details of a partnership with CRRC Guangzhou Electric Locomotive. The Italian company’s dedicated industrial design division has joined forces with the Chinese transport giant to produce a new tram for Guangzhou, which is the third most populous city in mainland China.

It is the first metropolitan tram that CRRC Guangzhou Electric Locomotive has ever made. Italdesign was chosen because of the vast experience in the field that it has built up over the years working on numerous similar projects in Europe and – more recently – in the Middle East.

The tram is due to be presented in the autumn and it is the product of more than 18 months of hard work. The team of designers from Italy worked side by side with their Chinese clients on the development of an end product that presents a modern take on classic stylistic traits from Cantonese traditions and culture.

“The graphic part is unquestionably the most eye-catching aspect, but as always we took an all-round approach to our work,” stated Nicola Guelfo, the Head of Industrial Design Styling. “We did a lot of work on the ergonomics, for both the passengers and the staff. For example, the layout of the seats is based on careful analysis of the flows in and out of carriages. Meanwhile, when we were working on the driver’s cab – which is perhaps the most cutting-edge and technological part of the whole tram – we had regular, extended discussions with staff in order to appreciate their needs and requirements on the move.”

There were two core influences on the design: Guangzhou’s traditional “dancing lion” inspired the external livery and lines, while the handrails inside took their cue from the distinctive architectural structure of the Canton Tower, which is one of the latest landmarks to appear in the city.

The whole project revolved around the ergonomic analysis. It is a 70% low vehicle, which means that 70% of the length of each carriage is at pavement level. This makes it easier to board and alight from the tram, especially for passengers with prams and wheelchairs.

“We are very pleased with this project,” concluded Nicola Guelfo. “I believe that it perfectly epitomizes the approach for which we have become renowned over the years: first and foremost, we see our clients as partners. The results underline the benefits of working alongside them. We recently saw the first moving prototype of the tram and we were rather satisfied to note that it is very faithful to our proposal, which means that we comprehensively met the requirements and expectations of CRRC Guangzhou Electric Locomotive.”