Fleet News

RAC to equip a fifth of its fleet with EV chargers by 2022

RAC EV Boost

The RAC is working to install emergency electric vehicle (EV) charging units in a fifth of its patrol vans by the end of next year.

It has worked with specialist engineering company Original ADS to design and develop a lightweight and compact van-mounted charger, capable of getting ‘flat’ EVs to the nearest working chargepoint or home - rather than having to be picked up and recovered on a flatbed truck.

RAC EV Boost was launched as a 3.5kW charger in April 2019. Now with two years of use in the field, the RAC and Original ADS have succeeded in producing a new 5kW unit capable of faster charging, speeding up the time it takes to revive a flat – or seriously depleted – EV at the roadside.

Development work is also underway to perfect a 7.5kW charger, which the RAC and Original ADS believe will offer the best possible balance of cost, efficiency and charging time at the roadside.

The RAC says it is the only breakdown company in the UK able to assist customers with this technology.

As a result of the exclusivity agreement, the RAC plans to have 200 vans equipped to boost out-of-charge EVs by the end of 2021; with a further 120 coming online in 2022 – meaning one in every five RAC patrols vans will be able to give electric vehicles an emergency roadside boost.

Powered by a generator driven by the van’s engine and weighing just 35kg, RAC EV Boost avoids the need to use bulky, heavy and impractical portable batteries.

RAC chief operations director James Knight said: “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.

“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. We believe it’s faster, more efficient and better for the planet than having to send a big flatbed recovery vehicle or a van full of batteries.

“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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