The AA’s first electric vehicle charging breakdown van has been on the road in Wellington for more than a year – giving EVs a boost at the roadside 2 to 3 times a month on average.
The AA Battery Service van, which launched in late July 2020 to help curb ‘range anxiety’, is fitted with a lightweight EV charger. In 20-25 minutes, it enables enough charge to drive up to 10 kilometres so AA Members can get home or to a nearby charging station.
AA Battery Service General Manager Mandy Mellar says the response to the van has been fantastic - prompting plans to expand the service to other areas in the near future.
“Wellington AA Members who have used the service have been really impressed, and our technician gets lots of questions about the van when he attends battery-related breakdowns of internal combustion engine vehicles,” says Mandy.
“A few weeks ago when there was a wintry blast in the capital he went to three EV break down jobs in a row. One was for a Member’s car which was showing they still had 5km so they thought they’d make it home but because they were using their lights, heater etc. meaning a higher drain on the battery and it ran out of juice. He was really grateful that our technician could come to him at the roadside and give enough of a top to get him home.
“Another of the jobs was for a Member who knew about the service and specifically asked for the van to come; he was really impressed.”
While she’s remaining tight-lipped about details of the plans to expand the service for now, Mandy says it won’t be long before more EV owners will benefit.
“We launched the service in Wellington as it’s home to the highest number of EVs per capita. After a successful trial, and with the heightened interest in EVs since the Clean Car Discount came into effect, we know more Kiwis will be looking forward to having this service available for peace-of-mind.”
The van is available to AA Members between 7am and 11pm, 365 days of the year at no additional cost. Outside of these hours, and outside of Wellington, the AA currently provides Members whose EVs break down a tow.
The AA also provides AA EV Charge Finder, a platform built in collaboration with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and other industry partners, which collects live information from safe and monitored charge points across the country to help drivers plan their journeys.
For EV charger assistance Wellington AA Members can call 0800 500 222, or request assistance via the AA Roadservice app.