The AA is to roll out a ‘free-wheeling hub’ to allow its patrols to safely tow vehicles which normally cannot be lifted, including electric vehicles (EV) and SUVs.
The device means vehicles can be safely towed on two wheels and is now being used by more than 900 patrols.
Previously it was not possible to tow some vehicles with seized brakes, failed wheel bearings or electric handbrakes, or 4x4s and many EVs.
Some manufacturers recommend that you should not tow their EVs as the car’s motor is always mechanically connected to the wheels and does not have a true ‘neutral’ gear.
But AA chief engineer Steve Ives, who has worked at the AA for over 40 years, was determined to find a solution.
He came up with a ‘free-wheeling hub’ that patrols can fix to the rear wheels of stricken vehicles, so that these can be towed rather than having to wait for a flatbed recovery vehicle.
Steve said: “I love the challenge of coming up with solutions to seemingly impossible situations.
“I worked on the concept for many hours in my shed at night and eventually crafted a wooden prototype.
“This has now been further developed and put into production with our partners AE Oscroft, and is working well.”
The free-wheeling hub works in conjunction with the AA’s multi-fit wheel and new heavy-duty multi-fit wheel for larger vehicles, enabling patrols to fit temporary spare wheels to almost any vehicle.
It has its own heavy-duty high-speed bearing making the wheel turn independently from the car.
The AA collaborated with presswork and prototyping specialist AE Oscroft to develop the solutions.