AA gears up for electric car breakdowns

Spark and ride - AA Patrols look to the future

19 October 2012

AA attends electric vehicle breakdowns

If your electric vehicle runs out of power, the AA could come to the rescue

If your electric vehicle runs out of power, the AA could come to the rescue with the equivalent of a 'gallon of petrol' via a portable fast charger.

This is just one initiative being tested as the AA invests around £750,000 training its patrols on the most comprehensive collection of electric and hybrid vehicles in the UK. It aims to raise awareness of their high-voltage drive systems – that run at up to 600 volts – and to help maintain its leading fix rate* at the roadside.

Current thinking

Donald MacSporran, the AA's Head of Technical, says: "Our patrols have technical information on electric vehicles as soon as they come to market but, as their numbers increase, it's important they have the hands-on knowledge to work safely on them".

Donald continues: "Our patrols work on any make or model of vehicle, so we have to keep evaluating new technology to better understand how we can fix potential problems at the roadside.

"Most of the common breakdowns are no different to a conventional vehicle but there are important differences, for example, how to jack them up if the battery is set in the underside or knowing that the motor is definitely off rather than just powered down, which could mean it starts up at any time."

Charging to the rescue

"We're also looking to the future by testing a portable fast charger that would give drivers the equivalent of a 'gallon of fuel' to get them to the closest recharging point."

We previously trialled electric scooters in London and we currently have two electric patrol vans in our fleet. We also have fast three-phase charging points at our Basingstoke headquarters and Oldbury operational centre, which we hope to make available to the public in the future.

* Which? magazine Breakdown Providers survey, September 2012.

(19 October 2012)