Test drives focus on electric cars

As many as 20 households in the London Borough of Hillingdon are to test drive a new Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) prototype for three months.


The BEV prototype is based on the current European Ford Focus and uses a new all-electric powertrain from Magna, a lithium-ion battery pack with the capacity of 23kWh and a chassis-mounted 100kW permanent-magnet electric traction motor.


It will have a range of up to 75 miles and a top speed of 85mph. Charging the batteries will take between six and eight hours using a household 230V electricity supply.


The vehicles have been specially developed for the UK government’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicles demonstration programme.


Hillingdon Council will ask residents to apply to participate, accessing a charging infrastructure to be installed in and around the borough from early 2010.  Properties will be provided with domestic charging points.


The five vehicles will come from a fleet of Ford Focus BEV prototypes being produced by a consortium that includes Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University, as well as the London borough.


The new BEV demonstration fleet is being developed partly with public funding from the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes industry-led projects that reduce CO2 while benefitting the country’s transport system.