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Range Anxiety Reducer: AAA Unveils Mobile EV Charging Trucks

Range Anxiety Reducer: AAA Unveils Mobile EV Charging TrucksIn an effort to reduce range anxiety for owners of electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, AAA announced it will offer North America’s first mobile charging roadside-assistance trucks. The announcement was made Monday at the Plug-In 2011 Conference and Exposition.

The roadside-assistance trucks will be equipped with the capability to provide Level 2 and Level 3 charging for auto club members when their EV's batteries become discharged. The trucks will be able to provide 10 to 15 minutes of charge time, which should provide enough juice for the EVs to travel three to 15 miles to a charging station to top off the charge, according to AAA.

“As the electric vehicle market continues to emerge, AAA is ready to help alleviate some range anxiety with the ability to provide a charge to electric vehicles on the roadside that gets drivers back on the go quickly,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Automotive vice president.

Initially AAA will offer the mobile electric-vehicle charging trucks in six metropolitan areas across the U.S. Starting this summer AAA will begin testing its pilot program in the Portland and Seattle areas; the San Francisco Bay area; Los Angeles; Knoxville, Tennessee; and the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

According to AAA executive John Nielsen, AAA intends to expand the new service to interested members across the country. The pilot program will be used to research multiple technologies to determine which is best for different environments.

The roadside-assistance truck showcased at the conference uses a removable lithium-ion battery pack from Green Charge Networks, but other AAA vehicles will use generators powered by alternative fuels as well as other power sources.

Unlike mobile charging vehicles recently announced in other countries, AAA says its charging trucks will be similar to its other roadside assistance trucks and be able to provide traditional services including battery testing, jump starts and replacements, tire changes, fuel delivery, and lockout service.

“AAA’s mobile electric vehicle charging is intended to be a service similar to what AAA has provided to motorists with gas-powered vehicles for nearly a century,” Nielsen said. “When your vehicle runs out of fuel — whether it is traditional gasoline or electric fuel — AAA can provide you with a limited amount to help you safely reach a location where you can fill up your tank or your battery.”