A clever new piece of technology has been introduced to help broken-down electric vehicles and four-wheel-drives be towed without engine damage.
Currently, it isn’t possible to tow some vehicles – such as many EVs and 4x4s – along with cars dealing with seized brakes or failed wheel bearings.
Many manufacturers recommend that EVs shouldn’t be towed as the car’s electric motor is mechanically linked to the wheels and can’t be placed in neutral. Towing one can cause lasting damage to the car’s powertrain.
However, Steve Ives, chief engineer for the AA, has come up with a solution. It’s a freewheeling hub that rescue patrols can fix to the rear wheels of a broken down vehicle, allowing it to be towed while saving time by avoiding the need for a low-loader.
The system – first created in wood form in Ives’ shed at home – is now being piloted by 200 AA patrols across the country, before a full rollout to all 2,100 patrols by June next year.
Ives said: “I love the challenge of coming up with solutions to seemingly impossible situations. I worked for many hours in my shed at night and eventually crafted a wooden prototype. This has now been put into production and is working well.”
In other motoring news, Vauxhall has introduced a new front-wheel-drive variant of its Grandland X Hybrid to give buyers a cheaper entry into the range.
While the all-wheel-drive Grandland X Hybrid utilises a twin-motor setup – with one at the front and one at the rear of the car – the front-wheel-drive variant ditches that rearward motor.
It enters the market priced from £32,390, coming in underneath the four-wheel-drive’s £35,590 entry price.
According to Vauxhall, the car’s efficiency has improved. The manufacturer claims 15mpg more than its four-wheel-drive stablemate at 192mpg, while emissions sit at 25g/km CO2. The all-electric range has been improved too, meaning 34 miles of petrol-free driving should be possible.