A group of AA line managers being trained on jump-starting, jacking and charging electrified vehicles. Picture: SUPPLIED
A group of AA line managers being trained on jump-starting, jacking and charging electrified vehicles. Picture: SUPPLIED

Preparing for an increased electric vehicle (EV) presence on SA roads, Jaguar Land Rover is training a group of Automobile Association (AA) line managers to deal with EV-specific roadside assistance.

Jaguar Land Rover’s training academy in Pretoria is giving AA technicians practical lessons in working on Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace, plug-in hybrid Range Rovers, and mild-hybrid Land Rovers, with most of the procedures taught being applicable to EVs from any manufacturer.

It is a milestone for the AA, which has performed assistance and recovery of internal combustion powered vehicles in SA for 90 years.

Some EV-specific issues include jump-starting; when an EV’s small, 12V battery (similar to those in any car) runs flat due to prolonged standstill, it’s possible to boost it so the more powerful, high-voltage battery to begin recharging the low-voltage system.

The 12V battery in an EV is responsible for features such as infotainment, power windows and electrically assisted steering, but it’s also needed to start the car — just as with an internal combustion vehicle.

The group was given a practical test of safely entering and jump-starting an unresponsive vehicle that relies on electricity to unlock doors, release bonnet latches and disable security systems. Instructions were also given on how to manually override drive selectors and electronic handbrakes to pull an EV onto a flatbed tow truck in neutral.

Though procedures for changing flat tyres is much the same as with any vehicle, the AA was trained on the importance of safe lifting points with consideration given to many EV, high-voltage batteries being low in the floor where jacks could damage them.

Technicians are also trained to recognise colour-labelling, such as bright orange, high-voltage cables and any components tagged with yellow warnings, along with lessons in recharging procedures. These include that EVs should never be charged with extension cords or multi-adapters.

Richard Gouverneur, MD of Jaguar Land Rover SA, said: “As the SA car parc rapidly evolves, and more electrified vehicle offerings from various manufacturers come to the fore, it’s vital that all industry stakeholders are kept up to speed with the changing environment.

“The role the AA plays in the motor industry is critical on many levels, and we are happy to share our expert knowledge of EVs and the way they work with such a respected organisation.”

Willem Groenewald, AA CEO, said: “EVs are the future of mobility and it’s critical for the AA to stay on the cutting-edge of this technology to service the needs of all our customers.”

Fewer than 500 EVs have been sold in SA in the past five years, accounting for just 0.03% of passenger car sales. However, an AutoTrader survey recently found that 68% of respondents were interested in buying an EV in the near future.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.