A new family of solid polymer electrolytes (SPE) based on polyoxyethylene (POE), KOH and water is investigated in view of its use in rechargeable batteries. After a short review on rechargeable batteries, the preparation of various electrolyte compositions is described. Their characterization by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray diffraction and microscopy confirm a multi-phasic structure. Conductivity measurements give values up to 10 sup -3 S cm sup -1 at room temperature. Their use in cells with nickel as negative electrode and cadmium or zinc as positive electrode has been tested; cycling possibility has been shown to be satisfactory. (C.B.) 113 refs.