Electric vehicle recovery – is your business properly equipped?

In December 2022, one in three new cars registered was electric. Increasing numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road brings new challenges for recovery operators as most manufacturers recommend against towing electric cars.

Why do EVs breakdown?

Common reasons for breakdown include wheel and tyre issues as well as running out of charge. Typically in an EV breakdown, the car needs to be moved either for repair or given enough charge to get it to an onward point for charging. 

Why can’t EVs be towed?

Most EVs do not have a neutral gear, unlike traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars they have only one gear – that means they can’t be towed in the same way. Even if you can select neutral, towing with four wheels on the ground is likely to damage the car. 

How do the big breakdown operators manage EV breakdowns?

The RAC has been fitting its vans with EV Boost, a system that uses the diesel engine and a generator to produce electricity to provide an initial charge. This is fed to the electric vehicle using a choice of two connections that work with around 99 per cent of electric cars to boost the EV battery. The RAC expected to have EV Boost chargers in a fifth of its vans by the end of 2022. 

The RAC also uses a Heavy Duty 4×4 Patrol van. This truck has a fold-out, four-wheel trailer in the load bed and is capable of recovering all-wheel-drive and electric vehicles without towing them in the conventional way.

The AA started using a ‘freewheeling hub’ in 2021. This attaches to the stricken vehicle and allows it to be towed without its wheels touching the road and rotating. That allows a patrol van to tow an EV without needing a full-size trailer or flat-bed truck.

What recovery trucks can be used For EV breakdowns?

Manufacturers recommend EVs should only be transported on a flat-bed truck or on a trailer, with all four wheels off the ground – some may allow towing if the driven wheels are off the ground. Either a Flatbed Tow Truck or Lift Flatbed Tow Truck are recommended.

How can Wiseman Finance Help?

If you’re looking to invest in a new or used recovery vehicle, we can help you find the best recovery truck finance. We know the recovery market inside out and work with the best specialist finance providers in the industry. 

When you work with us, our friendly team will walk you through the entire process to make it as simple as possible. If you’re considering a new recovery vehicle, it is useful to think about:

  • Budget and affordability
  • Deposit 
  • Finance term
  • Preference on lease type 
  • When you need the asset 
  • Full asset details of the asset if already identified

Call us to find out more on 03301133093

For more useful information on EV recovery: Department for Transport guide for recovery operators working with EVs


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