BYD’s local distributor EVDirect is launching a new business that will come to the rescue of electric vehicles that have run out of charge.
Called EV2U, the company will have a fleet of vans that can be dispatched to provide a small amount of charge to a flat EV – enough to get it to a charger.
EVDirect CEO Luke Todd announced the new venture in a comment on a LinkedIn post.
“…If you had of [run] out of charge we could [have] sent one of our EV2U mobile charging vans which could have topped you up with 10 kms range,” said Mr Todd.
“We will roll the EV2U mobile chargers out nationally during 2023 to minimise range anxiety and improve overall usability of EVs.”
While specific details have yet to be announced, Mr Todd told CarExpert more information will be announced around the middle of the year – noting it will be a busy year for the core EVDirect business as the BYD brand grows locally.
“It’s been something I’ve had in the works for a few years, because I’ve seen different approaches right throughout China and how some of this range anxiety and breakdowns are managed,” said Mr Todd.
“I’ve seen plenty of ideas and I’ve known there’s a solution and we’ve pulled together some technology that enables a very reasonable cost and quick top-up.
“We plan to roll it out across the country and involve local mechanics… [as] their first step into EV acceleration.”
He said it could draw local mechanics into the EV ecosystem, suggesting a mechanic could have a mobile charger available to them.
The aim is to provide a “community service”, giving a small amount of range to an EV user that will be enough to get them to a charger. Mr Todd says it won’t be limited to BYD owners, either.
“It’s not going to sort of get you hundreds of kilometres… It’s more targeted at the odd occasion where you might forget and get down to zero or of equal importance, the emergency side of things if somebody happens to break down on a bridge or on a main arterial,” he said.
While our nation’s automotive clubs like RACV offer breakdown services, Mr Todd says EV2U isn’t intended to be a rival.
“Our ambition is not to take head-on NRMA or RACV, they’re still a very valuable part of the motoring ecosystem, it’s an approach from us to build out the ecosystem to support EVs,” said Mr Todd.
“It’s not overly difficult to provide this top-up service as just part of the general ecosystem of having more EVs on the road.”
NRMA has already introduced mobile EV chargers in two of its vehicles, initially patrolling Wollongong and the ACT. It plans to expand the service across New South Wales, focusing on areas with higher EV uptake and call rates.
These output 9.6kW of charge from an on-board 4.8kWh lithium-ion battery, which the NRMA says is enough to add around 1km of range to a vehicle every two minutes.
The organisation first trialled this service back in 2011, when EVs were much less common but range anxiety was arguably even more potent.