AAA's Mobile Electric Vehicle Charging truck
What happens when your electric car runs out of charge? It’s a question we regularly get asked by readers and its one that for a while, there’s only been one real solution.
Just like a gasoline car, you need to make sure you have enough fuel to make your trip.
But everyone makes mistakes once in a while, and we’re sure most people have run out of fuel at least once in their life.
Traditionally, the AAA has been at hand for stranded motorists whose cars had run out of gas, but now the breakdown service has introduced a fleet of emergency charging stations capable of helping stranded, flattened electric car drivers on their way.
With specially fitted trucks carrying a large lithium ion battery or a gasoline generator capable of providing enough power to charge an electric car, the service will cover six metropolitan areas, including Portland Oregon, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Knoxville and Tampa Bay.
Members of the AAA will then be given 10 to 15 minutes of charge at either Level 2 or Level 3, allowing them to find the next nearest charge station or complete their trip.
Just like running out of gasoline however, running out of charge isn’t a daily occurrence for most drivers. With most electric cars on the market now offering in excess of 70 miles per charge, one overnight charge is normally enough to provide enough power to satisfy all but the most demanding of commutes.
Ironically, the AAA is rolling out charging trucks in metropolitan areas where charging networks are already starting to appear, rather than along stretches of road where there may be a genuine chance that someone could run out of charge.
In other words, areas not already covered by an existing charging network.
Those reservations aside, the AAA’s investment in supporting stranded electric car owners is to be applauded.
2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - charging point
As we’ve found out before, a 2011 Nissan Leaf driven at 75 mph will cover around 50 miles before it runs out of power. Drive it at 65, and the range increases to around 70. Cruise along at 55, and you’ll hit nearly 100 miles.
For new electric car owners, that may be a tough thing to get used to.
For them, this service is invaluable, as it allows those with genuine range anxiety to make the switch to electric cars knowing there’s someone who can charge them up if the worst happens.
We hope it won’t happen lots, but at least now, we know someone will be able to help.