By Drew Johnson
Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2011 @ 2:02 pm
 
Range anxiety remains one of the biggest hurdles facing electric vehicle technology, but Nissan has announced a new project with the Japan Automobile Federation that could be the first step in alleviating range concerns.

When a gas-powered vehicle runs out of fuel, the remedy is fairly straight forward - simply re-fill the tank and be on your way. However, that situation is far more complicated when an electric vehicle is involved, prompting Nissan and JAF to collaborate on a roadside assistance vehicle that is designed specifically to aid EVs that have run out of juice.

Described as an electric vehicle "safety net" by Nissan, trials of the EV rescue service kicked off today in Japan. Although Nissan failed to reveal specific details of the project, it is assumed that the roadside assistance vehicle is equipped with some form of a quick-charge station, giving the stranded EV enough battery power to get to the nearest stationary power outlet.

"As EVs gain wider consumer acceptance, it is important to create a roadside assistance system that can help motorists driving EVs which have run out of battery power, as well as to build a charging infrastructure," Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Nissan's senior vice president of External and Governmental Affairs, said. "Nissan is leveraging the development and trial operation of this roadside service vehicle with charging equipment - and the accompanying staff training - to strengthen cooperation with JAF and to benefit customers. This will build confidence in EV use and contribute toward achieving a society with low carbon emissions."

Nissan hasn't announced plans for similar trials in the United States or Europe, but the idea of roving charging stations could prove to be a short-term fix until battery capacities catch-up with the buying public's range expectations.