Today's electric vehicles can get up to 300 miles on a single charge, but that can produce "range anxiety" — the fear of running out of power.
That thought was on the mind of several Drive readers who e-mailed in after reading a recent Star Tribune article about whether the electrical grid has the capacity to power the proliferating number of electric vehicles hitting the roads. They wondered if owners of electric vehicles qualify for roadside assistance should their batteries go dead.
The answer is yes, said Jesse Simon, senior manager of marketing and communications for AAA Minneapolis. But the services the auto club offers depend on the type of vehicle a member owns.
AAA provides jump-starts, fuel delivery and battery replacement for members with gas-powered vehicles and most hybrid vehicles. The club does not provide jump-starts or battery replacements for drivers whose vehicles are 100% powered by electricity. Not to worry, Simon said — AAA won't leave a motorist stranded on the side of the road.
"If a member with an EV calls for battery-related service, we most likely would tow their vehicle to a service station, dealership or charging station," he said. "We can still provide many services for members who drive electric vehicles. This includes mechanical first aid, flat tire service, lockout service, extrication and towing."
AAA and many of its tow providers don't have mobile battery charging service, "as we haven't identified this as a significant need by our members," Simon said. As demand for EVs grows — nearly 60% of all passenger vehicles sold by 2040 will be electric, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, an arm of the Bloomberg news and research firm — Simon said AAA anticipates that "we'll need to expand our service offerings for EVs at some point in the future."
Allstate Roadside can provide on-site jump starts if an electric vehicle is a hybrid — meaning it is equipped with a 12 volt battery, said spokeswoman Tanya Robinson. A fully electric vehicle must be towed to a charging station, or the vehicle owner's home, she said.
But that could change. Though not yet offered in Minneapolis, Allstate is able to bring a portable roadside charging station and offer a fast charge to stranded EV motorists in cities such as Austin, Texas, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
"More are coming online in the very near future," she said.
State Farm's Emergency Roadside Assistance offers an array of services and pays the cost incurred by insured drivers who experience a breakdown, and the service "applies equally to any vehicle covered under this policy," including electric vehicles, said spokesman Ben Palmer.
Work begins on Hwy. 12
A treacherous stretch of Hwy. 12 in western Hennepin County notorious for fatal crashes is about to be made safer.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Tuesday will begin adding a center median barrier from County Road 6 to Baker Park Road and a roundabout at County Road 90 in Independence. Hennepin County is building a roundabout and bridge at County Road 92.
The two-lane highway, which city leaders and the Highway 12 Safety Coalition have dubbed the "Corridor of Death," will be closed between County Roads 6 and 92 through Sept 17. The detour will be via Watertown Road.
Follow news about traffic and commuting at The Drive on startribune.com. Got traffic or transportation questions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @stribdrive or call Tim Harlow at 612-673-7768.