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Ford develop electric powered car
Ford Focus BEV
The lithium batteries can be charged from a standard household socket

Battery powered cars developed at Ford's Dunton centre near Basildon will take to London's roads next year.

The prototype Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are part of a government funded research project into ultra low carbon vehicles.

The cars are powered by a lithium battery pack and 100kW magnet electric traction motor, which can be charged from a standard 230 volt socket.

Fifteen of the models will be used in a pilot in the borough of Hillingdon.

Ford's Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle demonstrator project manager, Tim Nicklin, said the project, which is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board, is still in its early stages.

"They'll be used for research in the next few years into how people use electric cars, what their expectations of electric vehicles are, what the energy consumption is and those sorts of things," he said.

He explained there were a number of differences between this project, which uses a standard family-sized car, to other low-emission schemes.

"There aren't any direct equivalents of this on sale in the UK," he said.

"The battery-electric vehicles there are tend to be small, city centre 'quadra-cycles' or you've got hybrids where you're using a petrol engine to charge batteries that can then be used for traction.

"This is not a hybrid, this a pure battery-electric vehicle that you plug into the mains, charge it up over night like a mobile phone and then it's available to drive next day."

Ford estimate the cars will be able to run for 75 miles on a standard six to eight hour charge, though Tim is confident this is a conservative estimate.

Electric motor that powers the Ford Focus
The Focus BEV can reach speeds of up to 85mph from its 23kWh battery

"The range that we quote is based on a mixed pattern of urban and extra urban usage," he said.

"So somebody driving around town may well get more miles than the 75 we quote.

"I've driven this vehicle for over 90 miles on a charge, and I'm reasonably confident of being able to achieve 100 miles in an urban environment."

The prototypes will be used for a three month period by up to 20 households in Hillingdon starting in early 2010.

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