Demand for all forms of battery, plug-in, and mild-hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) has risen significantly, representing a quarter of total new car market share in July - or just over 44k new vehicles on the roads. With more than 33.5k charging connectors on the public network in the UKii, jumping almost 1k in just 30 days, the AA is responding to demand by launching a brand new EV Support Service.
Following successful implementation across the SWARCO E.Connect UK network over the summer months, the AA is set to roll out a dedicated EV Support package for several other operators in the domestic, workplace and public charging environments. Alongside award-winning contact centre staff to provide EV drivers with support at the end of the phone, the AA is also exploring a field-based technician option to maintain the country’s growing EV infrastructure.
Almost half of all drivers (47%) say they will consider buying an electric vehicle when they next change their car, according to an exclusive poll of 17,628 drivers*. Government incentives also support the drive to EV, with more than £1bn committed to incentivising the switch in the February 2020 Budget, and £500m dedicated to the roll-out of a super-fast EV charging network.
Dean Hedger, EV New Business Development Manager, said: “We have a deep and continued commitment to ensuring the availability of both the expertise and technology to meet the needs of fleets and drivers throughout their vehicle lifecycle. With more EVs on UK roads, it is important that we deliver a service that ensures excellent driver experience, for new users and EVangelists alike.
“The AA EV Support Service builds on our existing capability across the business, including having the largest group of EV Level 2 trained technicians in the UK. One third of the AA Prestige garage network is already EV capable, most of our company cars are already EVs or plug-in hybrids, and AA Drivetech provides specific EV driver training. The logical next step is ensuring we can support the infrastructure accompanying EV vehicle adoption.”
As part of the EV Support managed services offer, the AA will support drivers if they need help at the charge point, handling calls about both the electric car and electric charging infrastructure. Refuelling routines are different for EV drivers; networks vary widely and so does the charging technology available, hence the understandable confusion new EV drivers often face.
Hedger adds: “It is clear there is a way to go before universal adoption can be achieved. Perceptions need to change – but for that to happen, the reality must alter too. Batteries, range, payload and charging infrastructure are just a few of the areas which will need to develop significantly. That is why simplifying the journey for all EV drivers is a huge priority. We are keen to help both established and new EV drivers get to grips with technology so they can get as much enjoyment as possible from their EV driving experience, ensuring they are fully supported at every mile of their journey.”
The ‘EV and Future Fuels’ report can be downloaded from here
Edmund King is President of the Automobile Association and Director of the AA Charitable Trust for Road Safety and the Environment. He is also a Visiting Professor of Transport at Newcastle University. He has written several reports on transport and often appears as a transport commentator on radio, television, and podcasts. He was an advisor to the Citizens Assembly UK on climate change and drives an EV. He was awarded an OBE for ‘services to road safety’ in 2016. He was runner-up in the Wolfson Economics Prize 2017 alongside his wife, Deirdre, for their thesis on ‘Road Miles’. In 2020 he was inducted into the PRWeek ‘Hall of Fame’ and with his team won the PRWeek Best Public Affairs Campaign and PRCA Best Automotive Campaign for their work on ‘smart’ motorways.
A graduate from the University of London, Gavin holds a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and is a qualified accountant. He has presented and written on subjects as diverse as the blurring of HR and IT, the role of the CIO, customer service and the digital journey, driverless cars and technology deployment. Gavin has spent almost 20 years working in senior positions within BT and O2, including Managing Director of O2 Wifi and Telefonica UK, before joining the AA back in 2019 as Director of Business Services.
With more than 25 years’ in the motor industry, spanning fleet management, vehicle funding, sales and team leadership, Dean has extensive knowledge of the specialist needs of public sector, corporate, SME and operational fleets. He joined the AA in 2018, and, most recently, took on an EV advocacy role, speaking alongside fellow industry leaders on platforms with the Renewable Energy Association, Green Fleet, Solar Media, Green TV, the EV Café and many more. In collaboration with the AA’s senior management team, Dean is responsible for delivering new product and services innovation, focusing on EV capability in managed services, customer experience and digital integration.