Sleepless in Seattle? Sure. Helpless in Seattle? Not if you're a plug-in vehicle driver with AAA.

Washington State's largest city was the recipient of the first Level 3 roadside EV-charging truck from the American Automobile Association, Plug In Cars reports. AAA estimates that the emergency charges will be designed to provide about five miles of driving range and would typically take less than 10 minutes. AAA also estimates that the truck will get about 20 calls a year from stranded plug-in motorists.

That Washington State would be the first to get this type of AAA truck isn't a surprise, given the apparently rapid adoption of plug-in vehicles there (relative to the rest of the US). The state has about 325 publicly accessible charging stations, or almost six percent of the US total, according to numbers from the US Department of Energy. By comparison, Washington State accounts for about 2.3 percent of all US registered vehicles.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando as well as Knoxville, TN, and Portland, OR, are among the cities with AAA plug-in charging trucks, though Seattle is the first to get a Level 3 variety. AAA first announced its intention to develop EV-charging trucks in 2011.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Baldur Norddahl
      • 2 Years Ago
      They should simply modify a Tesla Model S to allow other EVs to charge from the Tesla battery. It is actually surprisingly that nobody thought of that.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Baldur Norddahl
        Not a bad idea ! Definitely some technical challenges of being able to charge other EVs, butt . . . I'd get the big pack. Still probably cheaper than this soot-belcher w/soot-belcher on-board.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      Drive around in a DIEsel truck, with a DIEsel generator, charging electric cars ! Most excellent.
      george
      • 2 Years Ago
      i wouldn't have an electric car. cost more to maintain than it does in gas savings.
        l.e.scott1974
        • 2 Years Ago
        @george
        true george and the tax savings are'nt that good anymore!!!
        dusty754
        • 2 Years Ago
        @george
        Really? Where are your figures? Seems that when it cost people 60 to 100 dollars to fill their fuel tanks every week, there should be some real saving using electric for the commute to and from work and running the local errands while leaving the gas powered unit for those long road trips.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is the same AAA that is lobbying for additional taxes&fees on electric vehicles.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      They built this truck for a potential of 20 cars per year? That makes no sense. It has no business case for AAA even if it was paid for by grant. Most of the time, any given stranded EV will be much closer to one of many standard trucks out on call. This truck, most of the time will be much further away, likely sitting in the back of the lot at the call station, collecting dust. For just 20 calls per year, they can much more cheaply use standard tow trrucks and tow EVs to a charging station.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        I agree. The rise of roadside charging is completely stunted by the fact that a flatbed is much cheaper and far more versatile. There's just no point. I actually think tow charging (tow the vehicle, let it regeneratively charge itself) is the only possible sensible alternative to flatbedding for the forseeable future. This is because tow charging could be done in a way that is very cheap on the towing and towed vehicles and also universal, you don't need a different truck for different EVs, you wouldn't even need a different truck than you also use for regular towing or flatbedding.
        WheelMcCoy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        It's a start. It's not just about 20 calls per year. This truck could attract new members, a source of revenue.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @WheelMcCoy
          but seems they're trying to get rid of customers ? My girlfriend got a 35% increase in her 6-month policy - 11 year customer, no tickets, no accidents (much better record than me). I recommended she shop and call them and tell them the results. AAA didn't care. She now has a good hands policy for less than her old premium.
        G
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Agreed. More efficient to tow to a charger than have a truck loaded with a generator sitting in storage.
        aatheus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        From another blog that I read, the truck is a 'roadside assistance' vehicle (non-tow). So it can jump-start gas cars and bring them gas. It's not what it was built for, but it isn't a unitasker.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatheus
          I've seen some of those non-tow AAA trucks too. Not all AAA trucks are tow trucks.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiojZ7HfCWo
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Those towing motorcycles would not work very well here. They are designed to appeal to tow companies that compete fiercely with each other to "get there first". Where it is NOT the car owner who calls a single company for a tow, but whoever notices the brokedown car and gets there first. They advertise getting there first because the motorcycle is allowed to Lane Split in heavy traffic to arrive on the scene first. HOWEVER, once the car is connected... they can only tow up to 35 mph! So arriving first just to get the business... but arriving late to get the car to the destination because of the slow speed. Worthless!
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          "Those towing motorcycles would not work very well here...... .......HOWEVER, once the car is connected... they can only tow up to 35 mph!" Where is "here"? I live in the second most densely populated state in the US. 35 mph is plenty quick enough to get to the nearest gas station or charge point. Maybe worthless where you are, but perfectly fine here.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Another cheap option would be to use a small car or motorcycle (possibly an electric car/ motorcycle) to deliver a small battery (or generator) trailer to the stranded motorist. And then lead the motorist to a charge point. Of course, this would require the stranded EV to have a trailer hitch.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Also those motorcycles wouldn't work in areas which aren't flat. Up a hill they'd have trouble towing because their load is so heavy and downhill they'd have trouble stopping.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          when someone pays for a tow... and waits for it... they are NOT going to just want to go to an outlet or gas station. They are wanting to go to their destination. They did not spend all that time waiting, just to go a few miles away. And they did not spend all that money to pay a tow driver, to travel a few miles.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Just tow them with a motorcycle
      jwallstrom
      • 2 Years Ago
      All the more reason to realize how ridiculous electric cars are. If they were so great, the President would be chauffered about in one. I believe he is not.
        dusty754
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jwallstrom
        Weight is the problem in the case of the President of the United States. His vehicle is armored.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jwallstrom
        Most ridiculous comparison ever. The president is driven around in a long armored diesel truck that only cosmetically resembles a car.
      aarrieta@vortalgroup.com
      Thanks for the information about police auctions very helpful. http://www.policeauctions.com/
      Rick Suddes
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is a waste of taxpayer money. If the cars are that good........ then they do not need taxpater money! It will never pay for itself!
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick Suddes
        Butt, I do wonder if AAA got a grant or some kind of gov. subsidy/credits to do this foolishness? Stupid normally does.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick Suddes
        AAA is not a branch of the US government.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't get it. What is meant by "level 3" here? There are no vehicles on the road that support level 3 charging. DC charging is not level 3 charging, it's actually on a separate ratings system. All current charging on cars for sale in the US, up to Tesla's 20kW AC and 90kW DC fall under level 1 or level 2 DC or AC charging. Furthermore, how is 3-5 miles in 10 minutes level 3 anything? I can put 25 miles in my LEAF at 6.6kW in 60 minutes. That's 4 miles in 10 minutes. And 6.6kW is most definitely a level 2 AC rate.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Where did you see AC and DC on a separate rating system??
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Thanks... I guess I was one of those people perpetuating the misinformation. I apologize.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Everywhere. ABG covered it before once. But here's a link: http://www.sae.org/misc/pdfs/chargingtable10-3-2012.pdf People call DC fast charging level 3, but it never was. It isn't on the same list as AC charging. When people call DC fast charging level 3, they usually should be saying DC level 2 (or maybe DC level 1). This includes AAA!
        aatheus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I think the numbers given in the article are a bit fuzzy. The AAA rescue trucks have a lightweight DCFC on board... I think the specs were 25kW instead of the 50kW Blink provides. It would be more like 1 mile per minute.
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