AA adds fully electric recovery trucks to its fleet

  • UK’s biggest breakdown assistance provider adds three electric recovery trucks
  • These are part of a trial to help the AA become net zero by 2035

The next time you’re stranded at the roadside because your car has suffered a mechanical issue, it could be an electric vehicle that comes to your rescue.

That’s because the nation’s biggest breakdown service provider, the AA, has added fully electric trucks to its fleet, becoming the first UK-based roadside assistance firm to use EVs to recover stricken petrol and diesel cars, vans and motorcycles.

Edmund King OBE, president of the AA, said: ‘Introducing these exciting new concept vehicles to our fleet is an important step towards our goal of becoming a net zero company by 2035.

‘As a market-leading organisation, we are committed to showing the way as the country transitions to a zero emissions future.’

Electric recovery truck: This is the new fully-electric Volvo FE Slidebed set to be deployed by the AA as part of a trial of battery-powered breakdown assistance vehicles

The breakdown company says the addition of electric trucks is part of a ‘test and scale’ approach to decarbonising its fleet.

It admits that the complexity of the services they provide means they are trialling ‘structured tests’ of different alternative fuel recovery vehicles in real-life settings to understand which perform best and what hurdles its staff could face.

Currently, the AA has a fleet consisting of 3,000 roadside assistance and recovery vehicles.

This will include a new fully electric Volvo FE Slidebed, Iveco eDaily Powerload and Iveco eDaily crew van equipped with a heavy-duty Compact Recovery Trailer (CRT).

These new electric additions are most likely to patrol cities with low emission zones already in place, such as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ). 

The Volvo is the largest of the trio.

It can carry up to 6,000kg on its recovery bed and up to 2,000kg on its 2nd car lift. 

The vehicle has a range of 170 miles and a recharge rate of 2.25 hours when using a 150kWh rapid charger. 

The Iveco eDaily Powerload has a smaller 3,000kg payload but features a unique remote vehicle loading system, meaning patrol staff are not required to do this manually. 

Only a concept vehicle for now, it has a minimum range of 100 miles – which the AA says is ‘adequate to cover its intended low-emission zone application’ – and plugging into an 80kWh rapid charger will boost the battery from ‘low charge’ to fully charged in less than an hour.

The AA last year purchased 118 Volvo FL recovery trucks (pictured) with combustion engines that are certified to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil made from renewable resources

The AA last year purchased 118 Volvo FL recovery trucks (pictured) with combustion engines that are certified to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil made from renewable resources

Finally, the eDaily van also has recovery capacity thanks to the CRT, which is already used by diesel vans in the AA’s fleet that can ‘carry casualty vehicles of up to 3,250kg’ and can also recover motorcycles, EVs and 4x4s.

The van has a twin battery set-up with a maximum range of around 160 miles and the same charging time as the Iveco truck. 

The AA is already using recovery trucks with combustion engines that run on low-carbon hydrogenated vegetable oil, providing the AA with flexibility in its future fuel options. 

The company says these greener vehicles will ‘form the foundation of learning for scale deployment in the near and long-term future’.

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