ADAC is a German mobility oriented service provider. The group includes 28 subsidiaries and associate companies, offering a comprehensive service portfolio from insurances to financing, testing & information, consulting and leasing. As an advocate for traffic safety, ADAC offers special training and multiple traffic safety programs across the DACH region.
Additionally, ADAC offers breakdown service for its more than 21 million members. In 2019, ADAC supported more than 3.7 million breakdowns.
With e-mobility on the rise, requirements change, and breakdown service has to adjust to new conditions, in this case new vehicles with new challenges. We talked with Katja Legner, Spokesperson at ADAC to find out, how the service infrastructure has changed, to cater to the mobility transition.
ees International: Thank you very much for this interview! With the charging infrastructure maturing and batteries becoming more efficient, electric cars are becoming more and more popular. How have you experienced the transition so far?
ADAC: According to the Kraftfahrtbundesamt, there were about 83.000 electric cars on German streets by 1st of January 2019, an increase of more than 50 percent to the year before. For the same time period, we registered an increase of 65 percent of emergency calls by e-car drivers. So yes, we experience a transition towards more electric vehicles.
ees International: How are you preparing your service operations for the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road? Are there any specific skills or new tools required?
ADAC: Our service operators are constantly getting trained according to the demand. More and more of our 1700 breakdown service assistants are electrically instructed persons – qualified mechanics, able to identify and ideally fix problems concerning the drive battery. Apart from that, we did a pilot project on V2V(Vehicle-to-Vehicle)-Charging in two larger cities for drivers with empty batteries. This project has already ended with results to be evaluated.
ees International: How do you make sure that the help car does not run low on power itself?
ADAC: There’s a special mechanism that prevents the help car from running low on power. As soon as the provider approaches to the minimum of 30 percent power of his own battery, the charging process will automatically stop.
ees International: Will we see these help cars as part of the ADAC service vehicle fleet in the future?
ADAC: We’ll have to sort out the results of the pilot first, but maybe in larger cities, or on autobahns, it might become an additional service.
ees International: Is ADAC planning to electrify further service vehicles?
ADAC: Yes, we are planning to supply our service vehicles with several regenerative traction systems for battery engines as well as hydrogen engines and others. Since service cars need to carry a lot of heavy equipment, like replacement batteries, payload is a main issue; we have to analyze the choices.
ees International: When a vehicle broke down – what are the main differences in services for a combustion engine and electric motor? Do you have any tips for drivers of electric vehicles that require assistance?
ADAC: The main difference in services surely is the high voltage coming along with electric vehicles. Our mechanics are getting trained to handle those cases. And, it certainly helps, when drivers specify their car and the nature of its breakdown – bearing in mind that most breakdowns of electric vehicles do not concern the drive battery, but the starter battery. That’s what we see from our annual breakdown statistics.
ees International: Looking at the service infrastructure – from your perspective; Is Germany ready for mainstreaming electric cars?
ADAC: There’s still a lot to do, especially concerning standards on charging systems and their handling. Germany certainly needs to get way more charging columns for direct and alternating current. Ultimately, the number of charging stations must grow continually according to the increase of electric vehicles on the market. This is why we cooperate with one of the largest energy supply companies in Germany, EnBW. With ADAC e-charge, we offer easy access and standardized prices for more than 100 000 charging points around Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and Italy.
Thank you very much for the interview, Katja Legner!
The interview partner:
Katja Legner, Spokesperson