Growing demand for sustainable travel options has led to predictions of an electric car boom, and RAC believes its new technology will respond to the unique needs of these vehicles
Breakdown cover specialist RAC has launched a lightweight portable electric car charger in anticipation of an expected boom in the low-carbon vehicles.
The EV-Boost system was developed in partnership with automotive engineering firm Original Ltd, and is capable of delivering a roadside charge from a standard RAC patrol van sufficient to get a stranded electric vehicle safely to a nearby charge point.
The first six RAC patrol vans equipped with the EV-Boost system will take to the roads in June in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
RAC head of roadside rescue innovation Chris Millward said: “Our solution enables our patrols to help stranded electric vehicle drivers at the roadside with a power boost, equivalent to a top-up from a fuel can for a petrol or diesel car, to get them on their way again.
“Other solutions that are available require valuable van space to be taken up by heavy portable chargers that negatively affect fuel economy and also need to be recharged after use.
“With nothing like it on the market, the real challenge was to develop a mobile electric car charger system which is compact and light enough to fit into our normal patrol vehicles, without compromising on space.”
Easing drivers’ fears of charge point density
The new announcement has come after a recent partnership between general insurance giant Liverpool Victoria (LV=) and charge point location aggregator Zap-Map.
The partnership was made to address drivers’ concern over the number of charging points available for electric vehicles – something RAC’s new technology also hopes to address.
Zap-Map co-founder Melanie Shufflebotham said: “It’s great to see the RAC leading the way and introducing this new mobile electric vehicle charging system to its fleet of vans.
“While the UK public charging network already has over 14,000 public charge points and is growing at a rapid rate, this service will give electric car drivers additional confidence as they plan longer electric journeys.”
Why do electric car drivers’ require an emergency portable charger?
RAC claims that electric vehicles present a particular challenge as many can’t be towed normally and ideally should be transported with all wheels off the ground, which usually requires a flat-bed vehicle.
If an electric car runs out of charge in a busy urban location or even just a narrow road, the firm says it can’t be towed to the nearest charge point – and is likely to cause traffic jams and frustration.
Mr Millward added: “The number of electric vehicles on the road will grow rapidly in the next few years, in particular we are seeing increased interest and take-up from business and fleet managers.
“It is critical that we have an effective mobile power source for these cars in an emergency giving electric vehicle owners complete peace of mind.
“The RAC is constantly looking to evolve and invest in technology to meet the changing needs of drivers and their modern vehicles, and this electric vehicle charger fits perfectly with this strategy.”
The RAC EV Boost charger works with all Type 1 and Type 2 connections, ensuring it will charge 99% of electric vehicles on UK roads today.