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AAA to Provide Diesel Road-Side Assistance to Electric Cars

Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:55 pm

2012 Ford Focus Electric consumers and forum members will likely feel both relief and anxiety at the prospect of AAA being able to provide road-side assistance to electric car drivers. As revealed in North Carolina, the proposed solution is to send a large diesel truck to provide fast-charge services for cars that have run out of electricity. Obviously, these diesel trucks and electric vehicles are diametric opposites in the world of vehicle emissions. Seeing as how most electric car drivers aim to reduce carbon emissions and their environmental impact, they may be unwilling to utilize a road-side service, that will have such an opposite impact.

AAA plans to initiate its services in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; and Knoxville, Tenn, with other areas to be added later.

AAA will be able to provide electric car drivers with either a 15-minute jolt of Level 2 (240-volt), or Level 3 (480-volt) charging, aimed at getting drivers to the next nearest charging point. Level 2 will provide you with three miles of travel and Level 3 with fifteen miles. The primary standard for charging electric vehicles is Level 2 charging, comparable to the voltage required by an oven or clothes dryer. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric would unfortunately be unable to use Level 3 charging.

The prototype truck unveiled today in North Carolina uses a giant lithium-ion battery to charge the cars, but AAA says “Other vehicles will be equipped with generators powered by alternative fuels and other power sources.” These “other power sources” are speculated to include conventional fuels, including petroleum diesel that most tow trucks currently run on.

Of course, with the existing infrastructure for electric car charging, it is possible that three or fifteen miles of battery boost provided by the AAA tow truck would still not be enough to reach the next nearest charger or to return home. But of course, AAA is committed to relieving the anxiety of drivers, and 2012 Ford Focus Electric forum members might take some comfort in this proposal.

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