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Electric Cars

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many electric cars are estimated to be in use in the London area; what range of speeds the average such car is estimated to have; and if he will make a statement. [36845]

There are 1,432 electric vehicles currently licensed in Greater London. The range and speed of these vehicles is not known but new commercially available electric cars currently available in western Europe are estimated to have an average range of 80 km–49 miles—and an average maximum speed of 86 kph–53 mph.The Government are considering the role that electricity and other alternative fuels and vehicle technologies might play in minimising pollutant emissions from road vehicles. To this end, the development of electric vehicles has been followed with interest; but despite recent technological advances, their price, range of operation and performance still compare less favourably with that of petrol and diesel vehicles, particularly for passenger cars.However, electric vehicles do seem to be more suitable for centralised low mileage delivery fleets like those operated by local authorities and bus companies. Such vehicles could offer air quality benefits while avoiding the limitations of electric operation and have been included in the Department's £1.2 million trial of alternative fuels.