The UK motoring organisation RAC is working to install emergency EV chargers in many more of its patrol vans. The on-route assistance programme is thus preparing for a larger rollout of electric vehicles in the UK.
Initially, RAC worked with specialist engineering company Original ADS to develop a lightweight and compact van-mounted charger, capable of getting “flat”, or empty, EVs to the nearest working chargepoint or home, rather than having to be picked up and towed on a flatbed truck. RAC EV Boost was launched as a 3.5kW charger in April 2019. Now with two years of field experience to aid development efforts, the RAC and Original ADS managed to develop a new 5kW unit capable of faster charging. Development work is also underway for a mobile 7.5kW charger.
Due to the exclusivity agreement, RAC plans to have 200 vans equipped to boost out-of-charge EVs by the end of 2021, with a further 120 to follow in 2022. Effectively, this means that one in every five RAC patrols vans will be able to charge electric vehicles on the road and provide the much-needed emergency roadside boost.
“We were very proud to be the first breakdown company to launch a solution at scale to help out-of-charge EV drivers, and we’re even more delighted to be the only roadside assistance company in the UK that can use this pioneering British-designed technology,” said RAC chief operations director James Knight, adding: “It means within minutes of arriving with one of our EV customers, our expert patrols can plug in and get the car topped up enough to be driven a short distance home or to a nearby chargepoint…And, if a customer breaks down in an EV for another reason our patrols have more unique equipment in their vans to help. If they can’t fix the fault there and then, they can tow it themselves with our All-Wheels-Up recovery system meaning there’s no need to wait for a tow truck. It’s like having a flatbed in the back of an RAC van.”
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