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Electric Car Batteries

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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45.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what financial or other aid his Department is giving to the development of the electric car; and whether he will make a statement.

My Department is supporting substantial work on an improved type of battery, on which progress towards the widespread use of electric vehicles depends. Studies of market prospects are being up-dated; the methodology of testing performance against petrol and diesel equivalents is being examined; and a report on refuelling networks is to be published later this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the possibility of providing a network of service stations for the rapid exchange of batteries for electric cars.

The Transport and Road Research Laboratory expects to publish a report on this subject by the end of this year. This will be based partly on its own work and partly on a commissioned study by the Electrical Research Association.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in the development of the sodium sulphur battery, particularly in relation to its possible application to electric cars.

Development work on the sodium sulphur battery is being done by Chloride Silent Power Ltd., British Railways Board and United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, with policy and financial support from the Departments of Industry and Transport in a five-party consortium. Likely first applications are thought to be to medium-sized vans and railways rather than to electric cars, where journey range will be a particular difficulty. Progress has been encouraging, but, for any applications to transport, there are still formidable problems to be resolved.