AAA in Washington officially launched its first mobile charging truck Wednesday, becoming one of the first AAA agencies in the nation to offer a helping hand to electric vehicle drivers who need that extra jolt.
The service is available to the Seattle/Bellevue region and can give a 15-minute level-3 charge (500 volts direct current), which provides about 10 extra miles for the typical electric car — hopefully just enough to get you to the nearest charging station.
Washington’s truck, which can also perform regular AAA emergency tasks like tire changes and gas delivery, is unique. It’s the first in the country to feature an electric vehicle charging generator that is powered by the truck itself.
There are three other similar charging trucks in Oregon and California, but those require gas or alternative fuel to power the generator, which is what charges the electric car.
“We were chosen because we were part of the group that came up with the idea,” said AAA spokeswoman Jennifer Cook. “We wanted to be first out there with this technology.”
AAA is already seeing the benefits of the new service. On March 4, the first day the truck was on the road, one customer’s Nissan Leaf had run out of battery.
“She went out to her vehicle and it was dead,” Cook said. “Thankfully, our truck fit in her parking garage and gave her enough energy so she could go to the nearest charging station.”
In addition to the four west coast trucks, AAA has plans to implement the service in Knoxville, Tenn. and Tampa, Fla.