The RAC is piloting the Renault ZOE van as a roadside assistance vehicle and is the first major break-down company in the UK to do so.
The ZOE van will be used for most common breakdowns including battery and tyre replacement.
The patrol vehicle carries up to six replacement car batteries, two tyres, a trolley jack, a battery tester, diagnostic equipment as well as their standard patrol tools.
The RAC deals with around 7,000 random events daily, meaning range was a key factor in the decision. Thanks to the Zoe's 242 mile WLTP range, the ZOE is able to attend multiple incidents between charges. Obviously, the ZOE is not suited for towing broken down cars, so the van will be used for attending to the most common breakdowns including the replacement of batteries and tyres, which equate to nearly half of roadside call-outs.
Don't let the interior size of the ZOE deceive you, as it can hold a payload of up to 387kg*. The RAC van carries up to six replacement car batteries, two tyres, a trolley jack, a battery tester, diagnostic equipment as well as their standard patrol tools.
The RAC is trialing its Renault ZOE patrol van in a variety of locations across the country in both rural and urban environments so its efficiency can be monitored on a long term basis.
Paul Coulton, RAC group operations director, is optimistic about the zero-emission ZOE van being a part of their fleet:
“We are very excited to be putting our first electric zero-emission patrol van into service. 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. We’re already leading the breakdown industry in terms of EV breakdown with our award-winning RAC EV Boost technology which can get flat or severely depleted electric cars going again without the need for heavy and bulky portable batteries, and our All-Wheels-Up rapid recovery system, which enables a standard patrol van to safely tow a stricken EV with all four wheels off the road, so this was a logical next step.
“This first RAC all-electric patrol van may be small, but it’s easily capable of successfully attending nearly half of the breakdowns we get called out to on a daily basis. We’re confident it will prove the old saying that good things really do come in small packages.”
*368 kg on ZOE Van Business+ and 387 kg on ZOE Van Business.