AAA Goes Electric


The American Automobile Association, or the AAA, has announced the operation of the first roadside assistance service able to assist hybrids and electric car vehicle users. The new trucks providing the Triple A service would be able to recharge batteries for electric vehicles.

Each vehicle would be able to provide about ten to fifteen minutes of charge time for vehicles with discharged batteries. With this emergency charge, the vehicle would be able to drive to up to fifteen miles to a charging station to be able to complete the charging of the electric vehicle.

The mobile charges would be at Level 2 (240 volts) or Level 3 (480 volts) chargers, making them able to charge batteries at a faster rate than a normal household outlet.

AAA said that the initial deployment of these service trucks with charging capabilities would be in six major areas such as Portland in Oregon, Seattle in Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles in California, Knoxville in Tennessee and Tampa Bay in Florida.

The charging system was built by Green Charge Networks. The system has a lithium ion battery pack that can be removed for mobile charging. Further models are designed to house generators that are powered by alternative fuels and other sources. The charging levels for the electric cars are as follows:

  • A Level 1 charging station is the normal 120-volt outlet in a normal home. A full charge for a normal battery pack for an electric vehicle takes twenty hours.
  • A Level 2 charging station would have a 240-volt alternating current outlet. The normal time for a normal battery pack for an electric vehicle would take six hours.
  • A Level 3 charging station is a direct current charging allowing up to 500 volts direct current. The normal time for a normal battery pack for an electric vehicle would take only thirty (30) minutes.

The announcement was made during the Plug-In 2011 Conference and Exposition. AAA provides its 52 million strong membership with travel, insurance, financial as well as automotive related services.