Freewheeling hub introduced to help rescue broken down electric vehicles

An innovative new piece of technology has been introduced to help broken-down electric vehicles and four-wheel-drives be towed without powertrain damage.

Currently, it isn’t possible to tow some vehicles – such as many EVs and 4x4s – along with cars dealing with seized brakes or failed wheel bearings.

Many manufacturers recommend that EVs shouldn’t be towed as the car’s electric motor is mechanically linked to the wheels and can’t be placed in neutral – so towing one can cause lasting damage to the car’s powertrain.

However, Steve Ives, chief engineer for the AA, has come up with a solution. It’s a freewheeling hub which rescue patrols can fix to the rear wheels of a broken down vehicle, allowing it to be towed while in the process saving time by avoiding the need for a low-loader.

The system – which was first created in wood form in Ives’ shed at home – is now being piloted by 200 AA patrols across the country before a full rollout to all 2,100 patrols by June next year.

Steve Ives, AA chief engineer, said: “I love the challenge of coming up with solutions to seemingly impossible situations. I worked on the proto-type for many hours in my shed at night and eventually crafted a wooden prototype. This has now been put into production and is working well.”

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