RAC is to begin using an electric patrol vehicle to attend its two most common breakdowns – batteries and tyres – which together account for nearly half of all call-outs.
It is piloting a zero-emission Renault Zoe Van E-Tech which can carry the necessary tools and parts needed to fix four out of five breakdowns on the spot, without its 245-mile range being compromised.
The van carries up to six replacement 12V car batteries, two tyres, a trolley jack, a battery tester, the RACScan diagnostic tool as well as standard patrol tools.
RAC’s first 55kW Renault Zoe patrol van will be deployed in various settings, both urban and rural, to assess its efficiency as a patrol vehicle.
Unlike delivery companies which can carefully plan their routes, the RAC deals with about 7,000 random events every day meaning a 200-plus mile range was a critical requirement.
RAC group operations director Paul Coulton said, “We have been assessing various electric vans for some time but have been frustrated by the fact there isn’t one on the market that can do what our diesel-powered patrol vans can do at the moment in terms of carrying 500 parts and tools and towing broken-down vehicles, with a range that’s even half what one of our standard vans can do on a full tank.
“While we continue to talk to manufacturers about our requirements, we’re confident we can put an electric RAC patrol van into effective use on the road by carefully deploying it to jobs that won’t require towing.
“This first RAC all-electric patrol van may be small, but it’s easily capable of successfully attending nearly half of the breakdowns we get called out to on a daily basis.”