On trial

Battery driven cars have been the subject of a number of high profile trials in order to publicise their suitability as city cars.

In 1994, for the winter Olympic games, the city of Lillehammer in Norway bought ten electric vehicles from Norwegian car manufacturer Pivco. Last year, the Olympic Games featured EVs in Atlanta with electric APS buses which transported athletes around the Olympic village.

Renting cars on a self-service basis as a way of promoting the technology to the public is happening at several centres. The food company Tulip, uses PSA, and Praxitele uses Renault. Users rent vehicles from a site equipped with a recharging point from which they are constantly monitored.

The island of Jersey has announced a scheme, beginning this year, to hire Toyota RAV4 EV electric vehicles with recharging stations at five hotels, provided by the Jersey Electric Company. The EVs will have a range of 134miles, enough to cover the island on one charge. Powered by a NiMH battery developed by Toyota and Panasonic, the project will provide a platform for the system to be evaluated under a five year agreement. Because these batteries are 10% lighter than lead acid equivalents, they have double the storage capacity. The RAV4EV has a maximum power of 45kW, peak torque of 165Nm and a top speed of 77mph. Recharging takes 10 hours from 20% to 100% capacity.