RAC Launches First Mobile Electric Vehicle Charging Unit in UK

MAY 24 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 6

RAC Mobile Charger

RAC Mobile Charger

RAC Mobile Charger

RAC Mobile Charger

RAC, an automotive breakdown service in Europe, has launched it first mobile electric charging system onto the streets in Birmingham, UK.

Similar mobile charging units are in limited use in the US, but RAC is the first to offer such a service in the UK.

Called EVRESCUE, RAC’s mobile unit is a standard VW Transporter fitted with a 5 kW charger, which can give a boost to a stranded electric vehicle.  The idea is to provide just enough charger so that the electric vehicle can get to the nearest public charging station.

RAC is using Birmingham as a test bed for this mobile charging system.  RAC hopes to expand the deployment in the future.

RAC spokesman Tim Hartles stated:

“As the electric vehicle market develops, the need for a mobile transportable energy source is becoming more important, not only to reduce “range anxiety”, but also to provide temporary cost-effective power for electric cars. Whether it’s at the side of a road in an emergency, or in a car showroom, portable power that is flexible, available and mobile is very much in demand so we wanted to invest in the required technology to make sure the RAC was completely ready to meet this need.”

“By adding an EVRESCUE unit to a fully-equipped RAC van, a stranded electric vehicle will no longer require recovery after running out of energy as we will simply be able to give the vehicle a quick charge to get it going again. As well as the obvious cost savings this new solution brings, it enables fleets and businesses to make EV choices when purchasing.”

“If this pilot scheme is successful we will look to add EVRESCUE charging systems to more patrol vehicles in busy urban areas just as we have done with our 10 new mobile tyre-fitting vans which have been introduced to cope with the ever-increasing “puncture no spare” issue.”

“To that end we are in discussions with other progressive local authorities around the UK – including Scotland – to extend the reach of the trial.”

It’ll be interesting to see if this EVRESCUE program catches on.  Our guess is that it won’t since so few electric vehicle owners strand themselves by running out of charge, but we shall see.

Categories: Charging, General

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6 Comments on "RAC Launches First Mobile Electric Vehicle Charging Unit in UK"

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I heard from a rep at Zipcar that in San Francisco, people were unaware they were renting Fit EVs and were driving them down to San Jose without charging, so Zipcar had to tow a lot of them back. This would perhaps help.

I wonder if the renters thought the EV in “Fit EV” was a trim level of the Fit and didn’t realize that EV stood for electric vehicle.

Unaware of EVs
What about the desk clerk?
Sombody has to wake them up.

There are no desk clerks for ZIPcar. It is a car sharing service that is self-service.

AAA has these EV rescue tow trucks in the Bay Area. I talked to the owner of a franchise in SF and he said he couldn’t give a damn about EVs. He did it for green marketing.

We should all switch to Better World, the auto club that gives you a discount for driving electric and doesn’t lobby for cheap fuels and climate change lie AAA does.

I’d like to know what research RAC has done on this subject. How long do they expect to spend at each stop? How much charge does each visit include? How far do they expect vehicle to be from a charging station? A 5kW boost doesn’t seem worth it unless you run out of charge just outside you own neighborhood. If you’re on the highway between places it would take forever to get enough charge to make it to an EVSE.

Now, if the RAC trucks had a 50kW DC charger, they would have my attention.