Location: Philadelphia, PA
Fleet Type: Light Service EV Vehicles and Mobile EV Charging Vehicles

 

Narrative

The next time an AAA Member calls for Emergency Roadside Service, an electric vehicle may come to the rescue. AAA Club Alliance is investing in a growing number of electric vehicles to respond to its ‘light service’ calls, including gas-powered vehicles with dead batteries or flat tires. AAA is making this transition in the best interest of its members, the organization and the planet.

AAA Club Alliance began expanding its fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in 2012 with the help of The Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation (EP-ACT). Support of America’s transition to alternative fuels, rolling out two dozen AAA service trucks fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG), which offsets AAA’s carbon footprint by more than 300 tons of carbon dioxide per year over fossil natural gas. In the Philadelphia area, AAA operates 23 CNG vehicles and five propane fueled vehicles.

The greening of AAA’s fleet continued in 2023 with the addition of electric service vehicles. In the Philadelphia area, AAA operates six EV light service vehicles, providing services such as fuel delivery, lockout services and flat tire changes, to AAA Members. AAA also operates two mobile EV charging vehicles, providing a roadside assistance charge for AAA EV Members who run out of charge, providing enough range to get drivers home or to the nearest charging stations.

Nationally, AAA began taking steps to make the consumer transition to EVs more secure by expanding its service for EV owners across the United States in December 2022, launching a pilot program offering roadside charging for EVs in 16 metro cities, including Philadelphia. That pilot is now a standard AAA Member benefit in the Philadelphia area.

Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and as the advancements of models and range continue to improve, they become an even more viable option for many people. Range anxiety has been the number one barrier between consumers and wider EV adoption. AAA’s mobile electric charging vehicles are another example of why the auto club continues to be the premier roadside assistance provider, getting Members back on the road safely.

AAA is monitoring this transition and investing accordingly to ensure they can provide services and support for Members who own electric vehicles. The auto club plans to convert 100% of its service fleet in the Philadelphia area to EVs by the end of 2025.

Outputs & Outcomes

The outcomes from AAA Club Alliance efforts to transition to alternative fuel fleet vehicles begin with cutting down the carbon footprint, reducing fuel costs, and providing a mobile charging service to the auto club’s members. 

AAA Club Alliance believes it is their responsibility to conduct business in an environmentally responsible way. The auto club has been committed to employing alternative fuels to both control costs and protect the environment. That is why they have initiated the transition of fleet vehicles to environmentally safe fuels such as CNG, propane and electric vehicles.

The environmental benefit expected from these alternative fuel vehicles will come from 3 quantifiable areas: 1) reduced vehicle tows; 2) reduced truck idle time; and 3) an increased adoption rate of EVs. The annual environmental benefit for this project is estimated at a reduction of 15,000 gallons of gasoline, resulting in a reduction of 73 tons of CO2 per year. Calculated over the projected 7-year life of the truck, the total environmental benefit of the project is estimated to provide fuel displacement of 102,000 gallons of gasoline and a total greenhouse gas reduction of 511 tons of CO2 per year.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Range anxiety and stranded vehicles are still concerns for members when selecting their next vehicle to purchase. When faced with the anxiety of having to tow a stranded vehicle and the costs that it could bear upon the owner, these reasons have been a contributing factor towards limited, broader adoption.  Knowledge of the availability of electric mobile charging could provide the confidence needed for AAA Members who are currently thinking about buying an EV to make the decision to do so.

AAA Philadelphia Road Service Fleet has introduced a revolutionary renewable natural gas (RNG) fueled battery truck that will provide green battery charges to both EVs and regular vehicles. The auto club boasts the first mobile EV charging service available in Pennsylvania.

The mobile charging unit is installed on a Ford F-350 that runs exclusively on Renewable Compressed Natural Gas. Power for the EV battery charger is provided by two on-board lithium-ion battery packs allowing for clean, quiet battery charging.

AAA’s Philadelphia Road Service Fleet has long been a test bed for alternative fuels. With the knowledge gained and help of EPACT AAA Club Alliance has expanded its EV footprint to Connecticut, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia.

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 AAA Club Alliance Fleet Story

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