AltCar 2011: EV Mobile Charger brings electrons to the side of the road

Cross Country Automotive Services Mobile Charger
Cross Country Automotive Services Mobile Charger
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Somewhat surprisingly given the early stage of the EV rollout we're in, there are already lots of ways to recharge empty electric vehicles along the side of the road, both official (see choices from AAA, Club Assist and Nation-E) and DIY. At the 2011 AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, CA, this weekend, another option, the EV Mobile Charger from Cross Country Automotive Services was on display and it's got something that would make Hank Hill proud: a propane tank.

Yes, this little trailer would be right at home in Arlen, TX but that's not where the first units will be deployed. Currently, there are two in use in Los Angeles, one in San Diego, one in Phoenix and moree are coming to Portland and Nashville. Astute readers will notice that these cities mimic the roll-out of the Nissan Leaf. When the all-electric Ford Focus hits the stage, the locations where the mobile charger will be used should grow.

When mounted on a trailer or onto the back of a tow truck, the EV Mobile Charger burns propane in a Generac two-stroke engine to generate electricity and then feeds the energy to a car through an Eaton EVSE. This way, the EV Mobile Charger can put a few miles of range into a pack in 15 minutes. Thus, this isn't a DC Fast Charge solution, but it's still useful for both driver and tow truck operators.

The reasons that a roadside charger are better than a tow are many, and fairly easy to figure out. Spending 15 minutes with the car plugged into trailer is more convenient than loading an EV onto a truck, driving to a dealer or a local charge point and waiting around there while the battery fills up. The EV Mobile Charger also has another feature that should get tow truck business operators to take notice: a $9,999 MSRP. Bigger versions of the EV Mobile Charger (to charge four vehicles at once or a complete van conversion that includes a comfortable waiting area with WiFi), are also possible.
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Cross Country Automotive Services Launches Nation's First Electric Vehicle Mobile Charging Roadside Assistance Program

Initial metro markets include Los Angeles; Phoenix; Nashville; Portland; San Diego; San Francisco and Seattle
Service designed to address electrical vehicle range anxiety
Program features environmentally friendly mobile chargers
First electric vehicle charge in conjunction with program completed on August 26 in Phoenix

MEDFORD, MASS, AUGUST 29, 2011 – Cross Country Automotive Services (Cross Country), a leading provider of driver and vehicle assistance services in North America, is introducing the nation's first mobile charging warranty roadside assistance program for electric vehicle owners.

The program offers emergency charging assistance – approximately 5 miles of range for as little as 15 minutes of charge – to drivers whose electric vehicle batteries have been depleted, relieving driver anxiety about being stranded. Services will be provided through specially equipped mobile charging units manufactured to serve the emerging electric vehicle (EV) service market.

The seven initial markets where the program will be available are: Los Angeles; Phoenix; Nashville; Portland; San Diego; San Francisco and Seattle. The first mobile charge within the program was successfully completed on August 26 in Phoenix, taking only 15 minutes to provide driver with an additional 5 miles. Cross Country will be adding additional mobile charging units to other areas throughout its national service provider network across the country.

"Serving as the roadside assistance provider for a number of electric vehicle companies, Cross Country recognizes the need to provide unique solutions that are specific in assisting the emerging number of electric vehicle owners, ensuring they will receive the same high levels of service and peace of mind they've come to expect whenever they were behind the steering wheel," said Dave Ferrick, senior vice president at Cross Country. "As a result, we've developed a program that offers mobile chargers in the largest number of markets of any roadside assistance program in the country. Our green solution relies on propane fuel, which burns cleaner than gasoline and avoids significant weight to the service truck, thereby not impacting the truck's fuel efficiency."

These mobile charges may be mounted on small trailers, and consist of 10 kWh propane-powered generators that efficiently charge the disabled electric vehicles.

Available to both Service Providers and dealerships, the chargers offer the capability to quickly and safely charge multiple vehicles concurrently through a Level 2 charging protocol, delivering consistent utility grade power. In addition, the charger is capable of back-to-back services without the need to recharge any onboard batteries.

For more information, visit

About Cross Country
For nearly 40 years, Cross Country Automotive Services has been a pioneer and thought leader in creating and delivering technology-enabled service solutions for the auto and insurance industries.

Cross Country manages roadside assistance programs in the U.S. on behalf of global automobile manufacturers and U.S. insurance carriers, providing solutions for the nearly 6 million roadside service events experienced by their consumers each year. In addition, Cross Country provides accident scene management, vehicle release management and total loss screening services for insurance carriers, customer care services and connected vehicle services for a number of automotive manufacturers.

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