AAA, North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, announced that it will launch the first roadside assistance trucks for charging electric vehicles.
“AAA has been a leader in addressing the needs of motorists for more than a century, and the introduction of mobile electric vehicle charging continues that tradition,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA automotive vice president. “As the electric vehicle market continues to emerge, AAA is ready to help alleviate some ‘range anxiety’ with the ability to provide a charge to electric vehicles on the roadside that gets drivers back on the go quickly.”
A news conference for the launch was held at the Plug-In 2011 Conference and Exposition where the initial truck deployment will launch this summer and fall as a pilot program in metropolitan areas across the U.S. that include Portland, Ore.; Seattle; the San Francisco Bay area; Los Angeles; Knoxville, Tenn.; and the Tampa Bay, Fla., area.
“While these six areas are part of the initial pilot program, we’ve had tremendous interest from AAA clubs across the country to offer this service to their members, and we anticipate expanding the program to additional areas in the months following initial deployment,” said John Nielsen, AAA director of auto repair, buying services and consumer information, during a news conference at Plug-In 2011.
It will provide Level 2 and Level 3 charging services for depleted electric vehicles and is capable of charging the vehicles up to 10-15 minutes. Vehicles can then travel up to 15 miles to an area charging station. The charging trucks are similar to AAA’s current service vehicles and can service traditional AAA Roadside Assistance capabilities to all motorists, such as battery testing, jump starts and replacements, tire changes, fuel delivery and lockout service.
“AAA’s mobile electric vehicle charging is intended to be a service similar to what AAA has provided to motorists with gas-powered vehicles for nearly a century,” explained Nielsen. “When your vehicle runs out of fuel whether it is traditional gasoline or electric ‘fuel’ AAA can provide you with a limited amount to help you safely reach a location where you can fill up your tank or your battery.”
Representing more than 52 million members, AAA launched the pilot program to keep up with the current demand for electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF launched in December 2010, while current manufacturer projections have 1.2 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.