One in five RAC patrol vans will be equipped with EV breakdown assistance systems by the end of next year following a new deal with engineering firm Original ADS.
The original partnership between the RAC and Original ADS saw the pair design and develop a compact van-mounted charger capable of giving a boost to ‘flat’ EVs, enabling them to reach the nearest charge point. It replaces the need to have them picked up and recovered by a flatbed truck.
The new deal means that the RAC is now the only breakdown company in the UK able to offer this technology and will see hundreds of patrol vans fitted with the system – called EV Boost – over the coming months.
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.”
The first system launched in 2019 was a 3.5kW but now, after two years of field testing, the RAC and Original ADS have created a more powerful 5kW unit capable of delivering a quicker charger. Development is also underway of a 7.5kW charger – equivalent to a home wallbox in terms of power.
The exclusive agreement will see 200 vans equipped with EV Boost by the end of 2021, with a further 120 coming in 2022.
The system is generator-driven by the van’s engine and weighs just 35kg. Due to its small size, the technology doesn’t take up much space within a patrol van, ensuring there’s still plenty of room for the tools required to help with more conventional breakdowns.
Original ADS commercial director Lauren Saxton said: “We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the RAC on developing a truly world-leading lightweight and compact charging unit for flat or severely depleted electric vehicles.
“We have forged a brilliantly collaborative partnership which we hope will provide vital stimulation to the take-up of EVs, as knowing help is easily at hand in the event of running out of charge will bring important peace of mind to drivers to make the switch to electric. In short, we believe it will help to ensure ‘range anxiety’ becomes a thing of the past.”