Auto Express is a weekly motoring magazine sold in the United Kingdom. The magazine is Britain’s biggest-selling car magazine, with a circulation of over 30,000. In addition, the Auto Express website receives over 4 million visits per month. Auto Express is well-established for the latest news surrounding motoring issues, reviews and tests of the latest cars.
In issue number 1,774 (5-11 April 2023), Auto Express tackle issues around EV roadside assistance and range anxiety concerns. Naturally, Current Affairs Editor Tristan Shale-Hester looks to one of the biggest names in the business to see how they are adapting to provide EV support at the roadside. The article explains the RAC’s formidable EV Boost (aka Charge Pod) solution designed and developed by Original ADS.
A clear emphasis is made on how alternative methods of dealing with out-of-charge electric vehicles at the roadside have significant limitations, which may render them useless in certain situations. James Gibson, the RAC’s head of technical, explained that the RAC “wanted a solution for our EV customers that didn’t just involve picking up the vehicle and moving it”. There are several reasons why this would be an unpreferable response to the problem. For example, when some EVs are flat, the parking brake automatically activates, making it difficult to move the car in some scenarios. Therefore, EV users will require a short power boost to release the handbrake.
Using portable battery-powered EV chargers is highlighted in the story as another possible choice, but they also have their problems. RAC’s head of technical again explained why batteries were unsuitable for the RAC: “A 50kWh battery pack weighs about 700kg, which is a lot to carry around in the back of a van just in case you need it…”. Given the substantial weight of a battery-operated unit, this kind of product would substantially hinder the efficiency and capability of the RAC’s fleet. Using portable batteries would mean the RAC would have to significantly reduce the amount of equipment they carry used for other roadside assistance jobs, or they would have to purchase separate vehicles specifically for EV support. For these reasons, portable batteries do not fit into the RAC’s existing business model. By comparison, the Charge Pod system (in its entirety) weighs around 35kg, which, thanks to its engine-mounted generator, ensures it is always ready for use and never requires recharging.
Overall, the RAC’s preference for Charge Pod (EV Boost) over all other potential alternatives for dealing with out-of-charge electric vehicles is made clear throughout the feature. Its benefits to the RAC’s fleet are, however, best demonstrated by Shale-Hester when he explains that the “RAC has been fitting EV Boost to more of its vans and increasing its charge rate, too. More than 200 patrols are currently fitted with 5kW charging capability, while a 7.5kW version is on the way”.
To learn more about Auto Express magazine, check out their website here: Auto Express | New and Used Car Reviews, News & Advice
For more information about RAC roadside assistance for EV drivers, click here: RAC Electric Cars | RAC
To find out more about the Charge Pod system, click here: Charge Pod: The Lightweight and Compact Mobile EV Charger (originalads.co.uk)