To achieve commercial success, the battery vehicle must meet the operators’ performance requirements in full and must do so at a total cost of lifetime ownership which is competitive with the equivalent gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle.
A demonstration programme involving 71 electric vans and buses, known as Dodge Silent Karriers, is now well established and some results are presented. Following the satisfactory performance in service and the favourable operator reaction to these vehicles, an improved vehicle, the Dodge ‘50 Series, ’ is to go into production in October 1981 at a rate of up to 20 per month. A whole life ownership cost comparison with the diesel vehicle shows that at present Government support is needed equivalent to about 14% of the total lifetime cost in order to achieve parity. The subsidy requirement is expected to reduce to zero by 1987.