The AA has doubled the size of its Fuel Assist fleet having recently taken delivery of a further 20 vehicles equipped with fuel retrieval system technology designed and installed by Whale Tankers of Solihull – the UK’s leading manufacturer of high quality vacuum tankers and a diverse range of waste applications equipment.
Developed in-house by Whale, the bespoke fuel retrieval system is designed to help the AA’s Fuel Assist service meet the ever-present issue of motorists inadvertently filling their vehicles with the wrong fuel. Indeed the fleet newcomers will better assist the AA in satisfying the needs of some 150,000 motorists in the UK who face this problem each year.
Designed to handle every stage of the process required to get the motorist back on the road as quickly as possible, the fuel retrieval system has been installed within 20 LDV Maxus, AA Fuel Assist liveried vans. The original order for the first 20 vehicles supplied in November 2007 deployed the use of both Mitsubishi pick-ups and LDV Maxus vans.
Having established a demand for a Fuel Assist service – available to members and non-members – on the back of receiving some 60,000 calls annually with people facing fuel-filling problems, the AA approached Whale to develop an intrinsically safe fuel retrieval system. The new vehicles are therefore capable of recovering ‘contaminated’ fuel from a vehicle’s tank, which is then stored safely, before refuelling correctly. Also incorporated is a separate carbon vapour recovery system. Not surprisingly, the Whale system complies with the latest requirements for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2007 SI No. 1573.
Having originally developed a prototype system that was protected by a series of push buttons and relays, Whale has since further refined the technology by incorporating additional safety features ‘driven’ via a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and Whale software that displays a series of diagnostic and electronic warnings with full reporting through a digital display.
Commenting on behalf of the AA, Technical & Training Manager, Donald MacSporran said: "Based on the number of calls we continue to receive from members of the public who experience problems of incorrect fuelling, it became apparent that we needed to expand the size of the AA Fuel Assist fleet. The performance of the initial 20 Whale vehicles has been impressive, as has their input in helping deliver a system that is both intrinsically safe and which satisfies our demanding requirements, as well as those of the Health & Safety Executive and our insurers."
Whale Tankers Managing Director, Mark Warmington adds: "We are delighted to have supplied the additional fuel assist vehicles to the AA. It is an exciting project and forms one of many that we are currently involved in across our customer base. Despite the depressed economic climate that prevails at present, Whale remains committed to developing new products and technologies as a means of driving the business forward."