Driving Innovation

ComEd’s Emergency Roadside Charger Jumpstarts the Fleet that Supports the Grid

March 28, 2024

As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, ComEd is leading the charge by electrifying its fleet and embracing innovative solutions to support its growing number of electric vehicles (EVs).

As part of our Path to Clean commitments, we are on track to plan and operate a grid that’s capable of delivering 100% carbon-free power and support up to 1.8 million EVs in northern Illinois by 2030. Together with Exelon and our sister utilities, ComEd is also committed to electrifying fifty percent of our utility fleet vehicles through a combination of fully electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and vehicles will build in idle mitigation capabilities by 2030.

As the latest example of the company’s commitment to reduce its environmental footprint and enhance the efficiency of its operations, ComEd’s Fleet Services team helped develop an Emergency Roadside Charger (ERC), a first of its kind mobile charging system implemented by the company to provide roadside charging for new all electric fleet vehicles that cover a lot of ground here in the 11,000 SF mile service region.

“We have a strong start to our electric fleet right now but, as we continue to grow, we needed a solution for emergency roadside assistance,” said Norman Curtis, Director of Fleet Services at ComEd. “Our utility crews cover long distances every day, and our work can be unpredictable—especially when we are responding to outages during a storm. Having technology like the Emergency Roadside Charger helps ensure that our evolving fleet can stay nimble and best support our customers.”

Meet ComEd’s Emergency Roadside Charger

Unlike traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs require a different approach when it comes to roadside assistance, which prompted ComEd to explore innovative solutions to meet this need.

ComEd’s ERC features a lithium-ion battery pack with an EV charging station attached to it, providing fleet vehicles with approximately 30 miles of range during a one-hour charge. This portable charger can be placed in the back of any ComEd pickup or mechanic truck and driven out into the field to support vehicles whose batteries are running low.

ComEd took ownership of its first Emergency Roadside Charger in January 2024 and is currently piloting the technology in the field. 


ERCs keeping ComEd’s fleet and crews operational

While running out of power is never the plan, unforeseen circumstances like severe weather or time-intensive repairs can necessitate a backup plan. The flexibility of the ERC allows it to be loaded into a variety of ComEd vehicles, serving as both a reactive and proactive tool to ensure ComEd’s fleet remains operational.

“The most impressive feature of the ERC is that it’s not dedicated to one vehicle,” explains Norman. “It can be hauled by many of our vehicles to go out in the field to support any of our electric or hybrid vehicles. With a growing number of electric vehicles at ComEd, having that versatility and flexibility is critical to provide proactive or reactive assistance to our crews.”

Additionally, ERCs will accompany ComEd crews when deployed on mutual assistance calls across the country. This ensures that ComEd’s EV fleet and equipment remain charged and operational.

“As ComEd continues to walk the talk and leverage the latest technologies to enhance its operations, the energy company is proud to empower its fleet with ERCs to help power the way for a cleaner, greener future—one charge at a time,” said Norman.

We expect to roll out additional cutting-edge equipment to support an increasingly green fleet as we continue to ensure the highest levels of service for customers amid the clean energy transformation.