Breaking down the facts about EV roadside recovery

13 September 2021

As the UK transitions to electric vehicles, the face of roadside recovery is set to change.

The major breakdown companies are already responding to the paradigm shift in the automotive industry, with more manufacturers launching new EVs and hybrid vehicles with regularity.

Keeping the UK’s EVs on the road

Whilst EVs have a number of built-in safety features, from time to time, things will still go wrong and of course there is the risk of running out of power.

Reassuringly, the nation’s leading breakdown recovery companies, have recruited enough expertise – and devised sufficient recovery plans, to keep your EV on the road.

The AA has developed a technical team capable of recovering a variety of vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles.

The company states on its website: “Battery run out? We'll tow you to a charging point or your destination – whichever's nearer. Our trusty mechanics are High Voltage Awareness trained – so you're in safe hands. We'll repair all other faults as standard.”

The AA has also developed an app which locates over 500 different charging stations across the UK.

The company acknowledges that insurance premiums for EVs and hybrid vehicles are higher than petrol and diesel vehicles,

However, it suggests that over time, as the deadline for the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles looms, more people will switch to EVs and hybrids, meaning the cost of insuring them is likely to fall.

The AA’s website explains: “The insurance for an EV can be more expensive simply because the cars cost more than an equivalent conventional vehicle, and they're equipped with technology that's costly to repair or replace. But this can be offset by the safety driving features that come as standard with electric vehicles.

“The premium is also partly balanced by the money-saving benefits, such as the cost of charging, lower annual vehicle tax, and usually a discount on an urban congestion charge.”

The company also suggests that running out of charge on a journey, is largely a misconception.

“According to the National Travel Survey for England in 2019, people on average spent just 35 minutes a day travelling by car, whether as the driver or passenger. And the most common trips were for leisure, shopping and commuting.

“An electric vehicle is more than capable of handling this routine, with most EVs having a range of over 150 miles. And as speed or acceleration will soon reduce the battery, frugal driving will help preserve the maximum range.

“AA Members can be reassured that should the worst happen and you run out of charge, we'll tow you to the nearest charge point.”

Green Flag has devised its own approach to roadside recovery, when EV’s run out of charge.

“Range anxiety? What range anxiety?! If you run out of juice, we'll get your vehicle to the nearest charging point,” the website states.

Green Flag’s cover extends beyond roadside assistance and the company will also help repair vehicles stranded at home.

It also says: “If you need alternative travel after a breakdown, we'll get it sorted. Or, we'll find you accommodation, so you can recharge your own batteries.

“If your electric vehicle can't be fixed at the roadside, we'll take you and your passengers to a destination of your choice in the UK.”

At the RAC, training has also developed a team with the know-how to resolve any problems you have with your EV.

The company website comments: “RAC patrols are fully trained to know your electric car inside out. So you’ll be in safe hands with our experts.”

In 2019, the RAC launched the first lightweight, mobile electric vehicle (EV) charger capable of providing out-of-charge vehicles with sufficient power to access the nearest public charger.

This innovation proved a game changer, as for the first time, a recovery team did not have to carry heavy, bulky batteries that have to be recharged after each use.

Consequently, the RAC EV boost vans can charge 99% of stricken EV with a 10-mile boost to the next charge point.

Another challenge for EVs is that they cannot be towed normally and must be transported with all wheels off the ground, presenting a real challenge in busy areas.

However, the RAC vans can lift all four wheels off the ground

The company says that by the end of 2021, it will have more than 200 patrol vans across the UK, fitted with the EV Boost system and it anticipates adding more.

The RAC announced in May 2021 that it had developed a new 5kW charger and is working on a 7.5kW mobile charger.


A positive future

The present requires EV drivers to have breakdown service membership with the above companies – and the options are towing vehicles to a nearby charging station or providing a small charge that will get the vehicle to the next chargepoint.

With the growing number of EVs on the UK’s roads, costs are likely to come down and a more comprehensive breakdown network could follow. Of course, there are also likely to be many more publicly-accessible chargepoints too.

Additionally, technology is playing its part in devising practical solutions, involving EV driver collaboration.

The Ioniq 5 by Hyundai, which can be ordered with ‘vehicle to load’ technology, known as V2L. Among its features is an external socket offering the scope to charge other EVs.

The breakdown landscape for EVs is an evolving one but each change going forwards will be a progression, making it easier to resolve issues. Just another reason why EV take-up continues to gather pace.

Having a home EV charger can help to mitigate the risk of running out of power; why not contact Romatech to discuss charger options?

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