I was towed four times in the first twelve months of owning my electric car. Aside from the colourful characters driving tow trucks, there is little about the experience to enjoy. Waiting in the freezing cold on your own, often in the middle of the night, sometimes in tears.. So here are my top tips to scrap all that and get towed in style!
#1 Choose A Great Pick-Up Location
According to the charging companies, the public chargers won’t connect with your car unless you have some charge left to register the connection. Which means you should never let your car run your charge completely empty. The truth is, you should know if you’re going to need to be towed while you still have about 5-10 miles left on the charge. You’ve made it to the charger and it’s broken and you know you don’t have enough charge to get to the next one. But you do have enough to make it to a great cafe around the corner. Whip your phone out! Check Google Maps, find the perfect spot for you to spend an hour sitting on your own, or ask a friend to meet you. Don’t wait by the side of the road, in depressing services or a dark high-rise carpark. Get out there and spend that hour somewhere happy and preferably with good coffee.
The trick is to order coffee and food, and as soon as it arrives, call the towing company. It should take approximately an hour (or less) for them to get to you and the driver will call when he’s onsite. It doesn’t make a difference to them whether they collect you here or at the charger around the corner. Just make sure wherever you pick has space for the tow truck to manoeuvre and load your car – a good wide street or a carpark. And pay your bill early so you can dash out when he arrives.
#2 Keep Warm
Whether you’re standing outside watching your car get loaded onto the truck, or sitting in the driver’s cabin – it will probably be cold! Keep a spare coat in your boot for times like these.
#3 Get To Know Your Local Tow Truck Driver
Now these are some unique characters. I know the life stories of the tow truck drivers I’ve had and they’re all filled with love and tragedy. I don’t know what it is about this industry but they’re a unique set. I’ve heard of flooded houses, wives leaving for best friends, dead bodies on the side of roads. They give advice, on life and driving, ie. always wind your window up in this area because I collected a guy here who died when a pheasant flew in his window.
#4 Keep Calm
The first time I got towed I thought it was one of the worst things that had happened to me. Why? Because getting towed sounds terrible and is associated with things going very, very wrong. But I was wrong. Unfortunately if you own an EV and have to rely on public chargers then towing is an inevitable part of life at the moment. The infrastructure still has a way to go. It is not a big deal. At worst, with the above tips, you’re delayed by 1-1.5 hours to your final destination, and most of that time will have been spent drinking coffee somewhere very pleasant. You choose which direction the driver takes you, so they’ll simply tow you to the next charger, on their gas. You’ll sign the papers, say cheerio and all is absolutely ok. Be strong, it’s all an adventure and if you wanted an ordinary life you would never have bought an EV in the first place!