Jaguar Land Rover teaches the AA how to deal with electric vehicles

29 March 2021 - 09:34 By Motoring Reporter and AASA
AA line managers receive training on jump-starting, towing, jacking and charging electrified vehicles.
AA line managers receive training on jump-starting, towing, jacking and charging electrified vehicles.
Image: Supplied

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has partnered with the Automobile Association (AA) to prepare for a future of electric mobility in SA by training a group of line managers on EV-specific roadside assistance and vehicle recovery.

JLR's training academy in Pretoria opened its doors to the AA to share its technical expertise on a range of electrified vehicles, and while the practical lessons involved Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace, plug-in hybrid Range Rovers and mild-hybrid Land Rovers, most of the procedures taught are applicable to EV products from any manufacturer.

Roadside assistance and recovery of electrified vehicles is, for the most part, not dissimilar to practices the AA has performed in SA for more than 90 years, but EV-specific guidance was offered on safety-critical aspects and common issues experienced by customers historically.

Of specific interest to the group of line managers was the procedure of jump-starting a fully electric vehicle. In an instance where an EV’s small 12-volt battery (similar to those in any car) runs flat due to prolonged standstill, it’s possible to boost this small battery in order for the more powerful high-voltage battery to begin recharging the low-voltage system. The 12-volt battery in an EV is responsible for simple features such as infotainment, power windows and electrically-assisted steering, but it’s also needed to ‘start’ the car — just like with any internal combustion vehicle.

“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, says AA CEO Willem Groenewald. “Jaguar Land Rover’s training provided useful practical knowledge for our staff; we are always learning and improving our skills — all with the customer in mind — so this training was timely and important for us.”

The group was put to a practical test of safely entering and jump-starting an unresponsive vehicle which 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 in order to pull an EV onto a flatbed tow truck in neutral.

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

General information on the importance of colour-labelling, such as bright orange high-voltage cables and any components tagged with yellow warnings was relayed, along with basic lessons in recharging procedures.

These included tips on the various messages a vehicle sends via coloured lights near its charging port, the differences between AC and DC cables, and the fact that EVs should never be charged with extension cords or multi-adapters.