How recovery companies are adapting to the rise of electric vehicles
“We started with a 3.5 kW charger, which we increased to 5 kW, which means we can deliver 10 miles of range in about 30 minutes,” RAC told Autocar. “Very soon we should have a 7.5 kW unit, allowing for faster emergency charging… By the end of 2021 we will have 200 vans equipped with EV Boost, and next year we will deploy 120. others, one in five, the RAC patrol vans will be able to give an emergency boost to electric vehicles. “
When drivers get stuck in dangerous places, whether it’s due to a lack of load or a more serious accident, there are other issues to overcome. Electric vehicles cannot be towed like their internal combustion engine counterparts, posing a new challenge for recovery companies.
“It is always safer to tow an electric vehicle with all four wheels off the ground,” the RAC said. “We added a cart to the existing quick-deploy trailers that all of our patrols have in the back of their vans, to create the All Wheels Up quick recovery system. If for some reason we need to tow an EV to a garage, more of our patrols can do that, rather than the driver having to wait for a large, separate bed vehicle to be called in.
RAC’s patrol vehicles are diesel powered and the company says it’s still the most convenient way to recover broken down cars as the appropriate electric vans are not yet ready for salvage requirements.
“There is currently no electric van that can carry the weight we need, tow disabled vehicles and have a range of more than 250 miles,” the RAC said. “We are constantly testing electric vans, and as soon as there is one that comes close to our requirements, we will test it. We are electrifying our company car fleet.
Along with the changes of equipment, mobile mechanics had to adapt to ensure that work on electric cars was carried out safely. The AA is making similar progress to that of the RAC. The company has been training patrol officers in electric vehicle recovery since 2012, using two levels of instruction. Level one patrol personnel are designated “Electric Vehicle Awareness”, having acquired knowledge of high voltage systems and electric vehicles, and are permitted to work directly on an electric vehicle, but not on a high voltage system. Level two patrols are “prepared for electric vehicles,” meaning they can “isolate and restore the vehicle’s high-voltage system where it might be needed for safety reasons,” the company said.