RAC tests electric patrol van

Motorists who have broken down could find that their rescuer is driving an electric van after the RAC said that it would start testing a Renault Zoe.

Electric vans cannot tow broken-down vehicles but the RAC said it planned to use it for breakdowns that could be dealt with on the spot, which account for four out of five calls.

It said that the Zoe Van E-Tech was one of only a few electric vehicles that could carry all the tools and parts for the most common repairs without compromising its range of 245 miles.

The van will be used primarily to deal with problems with batteries and tyres, which together account for almost half of call-outs, and will carry up to six replacement batteries and two tyres.

The RAC said that it intended to test it in a variety of places “to assess its efficiency as a patrol vehicle”, with a view to deploying more of them.

At present it has a fleet of about 1,600 patrol vehicles.

Paul Coulton, group operations director, 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.”

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