The new tech, called EV Boost, has been developed in-house by the RAC. The custom-built system is the first lightweight mobile EV charger capable of giving out-of-charge electric cars a battery boost.
All orange RAC vans carrying the EV Boost system will be branded with a bright green logo – which the firm hopes will help overcome electric car range anxiety.
Recently, 8 in 10 motorists admitted one of the biggest barriers to electric car ownership was running out of charge.
The system works will all Type 1 and Type 2 connections, so will be able to assist nearly every electric vehicle currently in use in Britain. The charger is a 3.5 kW device, but there are already plans to double this, to a 7 kW fast-charger.
It is a small and lightweight device that works from a second alternator fitted to the RAC patrol vans. The modular tech can be quickly fitted to any regular RAC patrol van – which is why the breakdown firm hopes to quickly expand it to the majority of its recovery fleet.
Crucially, it doesn’t rely on lugging heavy and bulky portable chargers around, taking up space and hurting fuel economy. Power is generated from running the van’s engine long enough for the motorist to reach the next available EV charger.
It will only be fitted to new Euro 6-compliant diesel vans, to minimise emissions.
RAC head of roadside rescue innovation Chris Millward said: “Our solution enables our patrols to help stranded EV 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.”
Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of EV charging map Zap-Map, said: “It’s great to see the RAC leading the way and introducing this new mobile EV charging system to its fleet of vans.
“Whilst 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.”
The new RAC EV Boost tech goes live in June, initially in London, Birmingham and Manchester. It will then be expanded to areas where there are high call-outs from EV drivers.