The Citroën Ami is an unapologetically quirky quadricycle that we will undoubtedly see more of in the coming months and years. Designed for use in bustling cities and towns, the Ami offers a more affordable way to go electric on four wheels. With UK regulations allowing 16-year-olds behind the wheel of the Ami, it will also provide a younger demographic with an introduction to electric vehicles.
The Ami has an unsurprisingly small 5.5kWh battery, providing the vehicle with a modest maximum range of 46 miles and a top speed of 30mph. However, many factors impact an EV’s achievable mileage, including the weather, driving style and payload. Therefore, vehicles with an already limited mileage may be at an even greater risk of running out of charge before they can reach a static charging station; this was the case for one Ami driver who ran out of power while test-driving the vehicle.
The vehicle achieved 40 miles before coming to a complete stop. The RAC responded to this case by deploying a standard patrol vehicle with the Original ADS Charge Pod system onboard. Charge Pod gave the car a power boost of 4 miles, enabling the driver to reach the nearest public charging station.
Charge Pod is a fantastic solution to the problem of flat or low-charge EVs. The system has been designed to be ultra-lightweight and compact, meaning it can be fitted into roadside recovery vehicles. Fleets like the RAC are, therefore, able to offer an EV charge at the roadside from a standard patrol vehicle. The fact that Charge Pod can be fitted seamlessly into existing patrol vehicles is a significant benefit when providing an out-of-charge service to EVs.
An alternative method of dealing with a flat EV could be to use a flatbed recovery truck. However, Citroen has designed the Ami for use in busy cities, and, as it is a compact vehicle, it can effortlessly drive through space-restricting areas. Therefore, if an Ami was to run out of charge in a location unsuitable for a flatbed recovery truck, roadside assistance companies must equip themselves with a solution which negates space. By installing Charge Pod, the RAC is effortlessly adapting to the transition to electric vehicles and maintaining its notorious reputation as a leading roadside assistance organisation in the UK.
A Mercedes EQB was out of charge and was left stranded in the middle of the road. With no charging station in sight, the driver called the RAC for assistance. Fortunately, the RAC have equipped themselves with the fastest and safest solution to this highly dangerous scenario.
The vehicle ran completely flat, so the driver was unable to pull over in safe location. The RAC responded by deploying a standard patrol vehicle as a matter of urgency. When the patrol vehicle arrived the EV was plugged into the onboard Charge Pod system which gave the vehicle a power boost. Within 10 minutes the vehicle was provided with enough power to move into safe location. Charge Pod then charged the vehicle until it had enough power to reach the nearest static charging station.
Charge Pod is the most suitable solution to this problem for a number of reasons. Firstly, many vehicle manufacturers design EVs so that if they do become completely flat, they automatically activate the parking brake. Although this is a crucial safety function, it means they cannot easily be put into neutral so they can’t be lifted with an all-wheels-up trailer. Therefore, a power boost is required so that the handbrake can be released, and the EV can be moved/ driven. It is therefore essential to have a system which you can simply plug in and at a touch of a button allow it to charge the vehicle, it means that the patrol, casualty vehicle driver and any passengers can stand away from the road whilst the EV is plugged in and being charged.
Secondly, if a portable battery was used to deal with this problem, there is only a limited amount of power available. This means that there is an additional risk of the battery running flat before the EV has been provided with enough charge to move. Due to the size and weight of the battery packs, a non-standard vehicle would be required, therefore limiting the number of patrols able to help the customer. This could increase the time the customer/vehicle is left stranded in the road, which heightens the risk of road traffic incidents.
Charge Pod is the size of a standard shoe box and is powered by a vehicle-mounted generator, so it is always ready and available for use. Because of its uniquely small and compact size, standard patrol vehicles which are already in service can be equipped with the system.
For more information about the Charge Pod system, please click here.
A transport and logistics company has added four all-electric vehicles to its low emission fleet. Whilst it is fantastic to see companies committed to drive their emissions down and commit to electrification, it is crucial that organisations are provided with the support they need as they shift from conventional internal combustion engines to electric. Thankfully, the RAC are prepared for any problem an electric vehicle fleets may be faced with at the roadside.
As we see the transition to electric vehicles, drivers are adjusting to this technology and the range variation of electric vans could mean that drivers find themselves caught short of a few miles. This was the case for this van driver whose vehicle claimed he had 4 miles of range remaining before coming to a complete stop on a hill when he was just 3.1 miles away from a charging station. The driver phoned the RAC for assistance.
The RAC deployed a standard patrol vehicle which has the Original ADS Charge Pod system installed, which provided the vehicle with a roadside power boost so the vehicle could be driven to the nearest static charging station with no trouble at all. One particularly significant specification of the Charge Pod system in this scenario is the fact that it has 100% duty cycle, so it never runs out of charge. Alternative methods of dealing with an out of charge EV, like a battery powered EV charger could have proved problematic. Battery powered systems only have a limited amount of power available, and when dealing with vans which have particularly large batteries, there is a high risk that the charger itself will run out of charge before the van has received enough charge to reach the nearest static charging station.
The adoption of the Charge Pod system into its fleet illustrates the RAC’s historic legacy of being at the forefront of offering solutions for all motoring needs and has proven their ability to adapt seamlessly to the biggest change the automotive industry has ever experienced.
Fleets are crucial to the decarbonisation of the country as they present an enormous opportunity to scale the progress of electrification. It is widely acknowledged that the electric car market is experiencing profound growth with an estimated 400,000 all-electric cars on the road in the UK; however, we are not seeing the same figures translating in the sales of electric vans. Although van ownership continues to rise to 4.6 million, only 0.3% (or 13,800) are running on electric.
There are many obstacles facing van users and fleets, which are hindering the growth in electric van sales, which are still far behind the electric car market. A prominent issue van fleets are facing is the lack of infrastructure to support electric vans. For example, even charge point operators have admitted that public charging facilities are tailored to car usage rather than vans which means impracticalities like the spacing and positioning of chargers can make it impossible for a van to manoeuvre in and out of. It is therefore essential that roadside assistance companies take action to support the challenges facing van fleets both through this transitional period and for when the mass adoption of electric vans takes place.
Despite the challenges the charging infrastructure poses to electric van drivers, some companies have invested heavily in electrifying their fleet. For example, Sunbelt Rentals – the UK’s largest rental equipment provider has recently signed a £1.1 million electric van deal with the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) which will see 22 new VN5 electric vans introduced to their fleet. As part of Sunbelt Rentals’ strategy for positive change, the ‘Our Planet’ action plan is the company’s blueprint for a greener future and has pledged a commitment to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by 35% by 2030. By adopting the VN5’s into their fleet, the company are clearly making this vision a reality.
Making the switch to an electric van fleet from a diesel driven one, is not a seamless transition. Sunbelt Rentals have already experienced the problem of having an electric van being run flat before it was able to reach a static charging station. Luckily, the RAC have anticipated this problem and have invested in the pioneering Original ADS Charge Pod system which was able to provide an emergency power boost to the flat electric van from a standard patrol vehicle, so that it could be driven to the nearest van-suitable static charging station.
By implementing the Charge Pod system into the RAC’s fleet, the RAC are alleviating the concerns the charging infrastructure poses and are providing electric van fleets with the crucial reassurance they need that they are fully equipped to deal with any problems electric van drivers may be faced with, wherever they are.
Because there are more challenges with providing an ‘out-of-charge’ service to electric vans than cars, it means all other solutions to the problem of out of charge electric vans are not fit for purpose.
Portable batteries are one alternative. However, portable batteries only have a limited amount of power available before they need to be recharged. Due to the size of the battery on an electric van, it means that the portable battery is at a higher risk of running out of power before the electric van has enough charge to reach a charging station. The roadside assistance company will then be left with the same problem they were sent out to deal with. Additionally, because of the size and weight of the battery pack, there is not enough room in existing patrol vehicles to implement this solution. Roadside assistance companies would therefore need to purchase a separate vehicle to provide this single service to EV drivers, which would increase costs considerably.
Although some EVs have a ‘tow mode’, the majority of EVs carry the risk of being damaged if they are towed. Therefore, one alternative solution for an electric van which has run out of charge, is to be recovered with all wheels lifted and driven to a static charging station. However, flatbed recovery trucks cannot be used in certain locations. For instance, some narrow streets and multi-storey car parks are extremely restricted on space. Therefore, accessing a customer in certain locations is not possible. Furthermore, it is in the interest of all companies to reduce their environmental impact where possible. The CO2 emissions of deploying a flatbed recovery truck are up to 30 times higher than when a standard patrol vehicle equipped with Charge Pod is sent to assist. Then, to transport the van to a static charging station once it has been recovered will lead to an even greater carbon footprint.
In contrast, Charge Pod is a lightweight and compact charging system which offers 100% duty cycle, so it can be fitted onto patrol vehicles which are already in service and as it never runs out of power, thanks to the purpose-built vehicle mounted generator, it is always ready for use and can provide any electric vehicle on the roads today with as much charge as is needed to get an EV to a static charging station. It is for these reasons Charge Pod is the best emergency charging solution for EVs on the global marketplace.
Zipcar are leading the charge across London, giving Londoner’s access to over 400 electric cars whenever they need them. As part of Zipcar’s customer service, they ensure their vehicles are charged overnight, so they have plenty of charge for when their customers use the vehicles the following day. However, after the vehicles have been used, they are regularly dropped off with very little charge remaining, meaning they are not always left with enough charge to reach a static charging station. This proved to be the case for two of electric rental cars at Zipcar’s storage facility at Heathrow airport.
Both vehicles were left parked just over the road from a static charging station but were completely flat and were unable to reach a power source, so the RAC were called to provide a power boost to the vehicles from the Original ADS Charge Pod system which are installed on standard RAC patrol vehicles.
Charge Pod once again proved itself to be the most suitable solution to this problem. For instance, some roadside assistance companies use flatbed recovery trucks to transport electric vehicles to a static charging station. In this instance, this would have been an incredibly wasteful use of resources and cause unnecessarily high CO2 emissions to deploy a large flatbed recovery vehicle to transport the cars over the road.
RAC act as first responders to flat electric ambulance…
London’s first electric ambulance was just over a mile away from the hospital when it ran out of charge and was left stranded at the roadside. The RAC were prompt to respond and deployed a patrol vehicle to provide an emergency power boost to the ambulance from the on-board Original ADS Charge Pod system.
Charge Pod was the best possible solution in this scenario because other alternatives could have proved problematic. For example, if a van filled with portable batteries was sent to attend, there would only be a limited amount of power available to provide the ambulance with the amount of power needed to enable the vehicle to reach a charging station. This particular ambulance is a Renault Master Z.E which has a large battery (57kWh) in order to provide the vehicle with as much range as possible. Therefore, if you only have a limited power capacity to provide the roadside charge, then you cannot guarantee that the vehicle will be provided with enough range to enable it to reach a static charging station. In contrast, the Charge Pod system has an engine mounted generator on the patrol vehicle so that it has 100% duty cycle meaning it will not run out before the EV has enough charge to reach a static charging station.
Another possible solution was to get a flatbed recovery truck to transport the ambulance and its crew to a static charging station. However, this method is considerably more damaging from an environmental and an economical perspective. The CO2 emissions of deploying a flatbed recovery truck are up to 30 times higher than when a standard patrol vehicle equipped with Charge Pod is sent to an ‘out-of-charge’ EV job. The cost of deploying a patrol vehicle armed with the Pod is also considerably cheaper for roadside assistance companies than sending a flatbed recovery truck.
Furthermore, the RAC has a renowned reputation for fixing 4 out of 5 breakdowns at the roadside. The foundation of this remarkable statistic is due to the capability of the RAC patrol vehicle. Charge Pod has therefore fit seamlessly into the RAC’s existing business model and has further enhanced the capability of the standard patrol vehicles which are already in service.