The AA has signed a partnership agreement with electric vehicle charging business Swarco eVolt to support electric vehicle drivers. As part of its managed services offer, the AA team will support drivers if they need help at an eVolt charge point, handling calls about both the electric car and electric charging infrastructure.
Justin Meyer, managing director of Swarco eVolt, said the agreement is a significant development for the EV driving community: “By partnering with the UK’s largest motoring organisation, we are showing Swarco’s commitment to making EV driving as seamless and enjoyable as possible,” he explained.
“Driving an electric vehicle is very different to a fuelled car, and while the environmental and economic benefits are incentivising thousands of drivers to make the change, it is important they are supported in getting used to the new way of driving and refuelling.
“As an EV driver, refuelling routines are different,” said Meyer. “Home charging, ‘grazing’ top- ups at convenient work and leisure locations, and using a trusted public charging network when travelling on longer journeys all become part of the EV driver experience.
“Networks vary and so does the charging technology. There are different subscription models, driver apps and payment platforms, so it can sometimes be understandably confusing for new drivers. We want to help them every step of the way.”
Drivers using a Swarco eVolt charge point on the E.Connect network who call the helpline number will be directed through to the AA and its customer service team whose priority is to help get them ‘charged’ and back on their journey.
The AA team will be able to talk a driver through basic user instructions and troubleshooting for all eVolt charging points, whether it is the contactless 150kW Raption charger which simultaneously charges DC/DC; the slimline 50kW DC Raption charger with triple AC/DC outlets for all rapid-charge-enabled EVs; or the eVolve AC units.
The AA will also be able to help drivers if they are unable to start a charge because, for example, they are using the wrong subscription model, or the cable does not work, or a previous user has pressed the unit’s emergency stop button.
The customer support is facilitated by Swarco eVolt’s intelligent E.Connect back-office solution which gives the AA customer service agent the location and live status of the charging point the driver is calling from. This means they can see any technology issues or faults that need to be reported to Swarco’s technical team.
If there is a technical fault, or the charging point is out of use, the AA will direct the driver to the nearest alternative charging point and call in technical support from Swarco and its team of service engineers. If the issue is with the driver’s vehicle, then the AA can help to get them back on the road.
“We believe this focus on customer service, and SWARCO eVolt’s agreement with the AA, is a positive step forward for the provision of EV charging in the UK,” said Meyer.
“It will make a real difference to the EV drivers already on the road and to new ones in the early stages of getting to grips with charging technology so they can get more enjoyment from their EV driving experience.”
Dean Hedger, EV new business development manager at the AA, said: “We are experienced in providing managed services support for manufacturers, fleets and financial institutions to help keep their customers’ vehicles moving.
“As we develop our EV expertise, including having the largest group of EV Level 2 trained technicians in the UK, the logical next step is to ensure we can support the infrastructure that goes hand-in-hand with EV vehicle roll-out. The Swarco team has recognised that they can benefit from AA call handling expertise and we look forward to working together to evolve the offer over the coming months.”