The RAC is the first major breakdown company to use an electric vehicle for roadside call-outs.
The RAC has become the UK’s first major roadside assistance company to use an electric patrol vehicle.
A Renault Zoe E-Tech van will now attend selected breakdowns.
The Zoe was chosen by the RAC for its 245-mile battery range, plus its ability to carry tools and parts to fix the majority of roadside repairs.
Balancing the battery range of the Zoe with the need to haul equipment, the car will principally be responding to battery and tyre issues. These account for almost half of RAC call-outs.
The Zoe will carry a battery tester, trolley jack, RAC diagnostic scanner, six 12v car batteries and a host of additional tools.
To test the effectiveness of the electric Zoe, the RAC will use it in a wide range of scenarios – including both urban and rural environments.
The RAC admits that, for now, towing with the Renault Zoe is off-limits. It notes there is no electric van currently capable of towing broken-down vehicles.
RAC group operations director Paul Coulton said: “We are very excited to be putting our first electric, zero-emission patrol van into service. We have been assessing various electric vans for some time, but have been frustrated by the fact there isn’t one on the market that can do what our diesel-powered patrol vans can do at the moment.
“That means carrying 500 parts and tools, and towing broken-down vehicles, with a range that’s even half what one of our standard vans can do on a full tank.
“While we continue to talk to manufacturers about our requirements, we’re confident we can put an electric RAC patrol van into effective use on the road by carefully deploying it to jobs that won’t require towing.”