The American Automobile Association (AAA) decided it would be a good idea to introduce electric car charging trucks in areas where EVs were proving more popular. This service was rolled out in 2011 taking in the likes of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Orlando. Even competitors of the AAA readily acknowledged that the business model behind this service made perfect sense and it would eventually be a winner. So, five years later how has the service been received by electric car owners?
Surprisingly low call out numbers
The AAA has around 54 million members and is called out around 32 million times each year, the majority of time to motorists who have run out of fuel. Again, even these statistics seem to back up the idea of a mobile electric car recharging service but so far the take-up has been minimal to say the least. When you bear in mind that this particular service included adapters to fit each and every electric vehicle on the road, what more could the AAA do?
The company readily acknowledges that callouts for electric vehicle recharging assistance are numbered in the thousands rather than tens of thousands. When you bear in mind there are in excess of 250,000 electric vehicles on the roads of America surely this service should have attracted the attention of motorists?
Sensible driving by EV owners
Despite the fact that many critics of electric cars have cited range capacity as a major problem the information from the AAA suggest otherwise. A recent survey confirmed that the majority of electric car owners tend to leave themselves around 20% battery charge in reserve to ensure that they don’t run out of “juice”. So this would suggest that the vast majority of electric car owners are happy with the current recharging network across America and more than capable of planning their own journeys.
A number of electric vehicles also contain low charge warnings which are more aggressive than their traditional fuel counterparts. Some vehicles emit a warning noise when the battery charge reaches a certain level which continues until the charge is replenished. This may be one of the reasons why the AAA recharging vans have been on the whole underused but it is mainly down to driving habits.
AAA considers extending service
In theory there is no reason to suggest why a mobile electric car recharging service would not be successful in the longer term. As the number of electric vehicles on the road continues to grow it seems inevitable that more and more people will eventually run short of fuel as we have seen with traditional fuelled vehicles. It will be interesting to see how the AAA, and other similar companies, adapt their services to the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads.
The feedback to date suggest that range anxiety/journey capacity issues are not really a concern for those who have driven and continue to drive electric vehicles. They seem to be more of an issue for those who have yet to sample the delights of this alternative mode of transport.