AA gives power to electric drivers

‘Wheel’ keep you moving

23 July 2021

  • AA predicts more than 40,000 EV breakdowns this year
  • EVs account for just 1% of breakdowns and running out of charge is rare
  • Top breakdown causes for EVs same as conventionally fuelled cars
  • Proportion of out-of-charge EVs reducing despite EV uptake growing 

Drivers are being reassured that Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a reliable and sustainable choice, as the AA dispels some of the myths commonly associated with EV ownership.

Principal among them is range anxiety – the idea that the car won’t have enough power for long-distance driving. But running out of charge is incredibly rare– in fact, it doesn’t feature within the top three EV breakdown causes.

The top two causes of breakdowns in an EV are no different to those of conventionally fuelled cars; namely the low-voltage 12v battery which can be found in all cars, and tyre faults due to potholes, punctures and wear. The third relates to charging equipment (cable, plug etc.).

Edmund King, AA president, said: “We are here to dispel the myths and help give power to electric drivers. We want to reassure potential EV drivers that 96% of EV breakdowns have nothing to do with battery range. The proportion of out of charge problems has halved in the last few years and in Norway, a more developed EV market, less than 1% of EV Breakdowns are due to running out of charge.

“But if EV drivers do run out of charge we have a solution that almost three quarters of drivers (74%) say they prefer*. Rather than trying to recharge EVs with 5-10 miles range where they breakdown, which may be dangerous, we will take the EV to a working charge point so that they can charge as much as they want in one session. Our award-winning freewheeling hub** even allows us to tow EVs that can’t be flat towed.”

Ben Sheridan, AA Patrol of the Year, added: “Many people don’t realise that there are two batteries in electric cars – one low voltage and one high voltage. In conventional cars, the low voltage battery starts the engine when you turn the ignition, and a flat battery is one of the most common faults we are called out to. In EVs it’s similar, but it starts the onboard computer system. A separate, high voltage battery powers the vehicle. If you do break down, we can help whether you drive a petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric.”

We are here to dispel the myths and help give power to electric drivers
Edmund King, AA president

Those who break down in an electric vehicle can call the AA or get help using the AA app or website. Electric cars are included in breakdown cover as standard and the AA has more trained Patrols for electric vehicles than anyone else. Additionally, all carry the AA’s state-of-the-art Freewheeling Hub technology, which means fewer breakdown worries and shorter waiting times for drivers.

The award-winning freewheeling hub is a clever way for AA patrols to safely move vehicles which cannot normally be ‘lifted’ and towed on two wheels. Previously it was not possible to tow some vehicles with seized brakes, failed wheel bearings or electric handbrakes, or 4x4s and many EVs. But AA patrols can fix the Freewheeling Hub to the rear wheels of stricken vehicles so that they can be towed quickly and safely.

It works in conjunction with the AA’s Multi-Fit wheel and new heavy-duty Multi-fit wheel for larger vehicles, which enables patrols to fit temporary spare wheels to almost any vehicle – including ambulances, caravans, commercial vehicles and EVs.

In the case of a car with two punctured tyres (for instance when the front and rear wheel both hit a pothole or debris in the road), AA patrols are now equipped with two Multi-Fit spare wheels, so the car can simply be driven to a garage for new tyres without the need to wait for a recovery truck.

The freewheeling hub also enables the movement of vehicles in confined spaces which cannot be reached by larger recovery vehicles.

EVs currently account for 1% of breakdowns. The AA expects to attend more than 40,000 EV breakdowns this year. Of these, fewer than 4% will be run out of charge. And while the number of EV breakdowns is increasing overall in line with uptake, running out of charge is a diminishing problem due to more accessible information to drivers and wide availability of public charge points.

The AA has now cemented itself as the number one motoring organisation ‘giving power to electric drivers’ as it offers whole life support for drivers on the road to electrification including:

*When asked whether they would rather have a mobile recharging unit add range at the roadside or be recovered to a nearby charge point instead, the majority (74%) of drivers said they would prefer to be moved straight to a charging point. (AA ‘Passenger Seat’ snap poll of 606 drivers, 4 – 9 June 2021).