Roadside rescue to give power boost to stranded electric vehicles

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The RAC will equip more of its roadside assistance units with EV Boost technology – the modern-day equivalent of a fuel can for electric cars.

The RAC and specialist engineering company Original ADS have developed a compact van-mounted charger capable of getting ‘flat’ electric vehicles (EVs) to the nearest working chargepoint or home. Currently EVs which have run out of power have to be recovered on a flatbed truck.

The RAC hope that the service will give more drivers the confidence to switch to electric.

Following two years of use in the field, the original 3.5kW charger has been developed into a 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 plans to have 200 vans equipped with a charger by the end of 2021, with a further 120 coming online in 2022 – meaning one in 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, the EV Boost is the size of a shoe box. 

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.

“We’re ideally placed to be able to help any EV driver, whatever the problem, just at the time the electric car market begins to accelerate at an unprecedented pace.

“We believe these roadside capabilities will go a long way towards reassuring drivers who are keen to ‘go electric’ that that we’ve got them covered should they run out of charge or be unlucky enough to reach an out-of-order charge point.

“They also demonstrate to our car manufacturer partners and fleet operators just how serious the RAC is about supporting the switch to an all-electric future.”