There is now a wide selection of electric cars with official towing capacities and the selection is growing year on year. So I thought I would produce an article on what I believe to be the best electric tow cars currently on the market. I’ll be updating this article over time when new electric tow cars come onto the market. Along with proving category winners, there will also be honourable mentions and a PHEV option where applicable.
Introduction To The Best Electric Tow Cars
The main objective of this website is to promote pure electric vehicles also known as BEVs (Battery Electic Vehicles). However, as I’ve written about in my articles such as Charging While Towing – The Biggest Challenge and BEVs vs PHEVs for the next few years at least a pure EV (BEV) is not going to be the best option for everyone.
Therefore, for each towing category along with the category winner which will be a BEV I will reference a PHEV option. While the electric range of any PHEV will not be a significant contribution when towing very few cars are daily tow cars. Hence, certain PHEVs with a reasonable EV range (around 50 miles plus) can be an EV most of the time, apart from towing.
The Tesla In The Room…
I’ve been mulling over how to prepare this ‘best electric tow car’ list without an over-emphasis on Tesla vehicles. After all, towing uses about twice the amount of energy (sometimes more) than driving around when not towing. Hence, having access to the Tesla Supercharger network is obviously pretty handy.
However, as of writing this article, Tesla is conducting trials in the EU opening up the Tesla Supercharger network to other electric vehicles, which would obviously change things. Then again, many non-Tesla electric cars are not well set up to use the Tesla charging bays (charge socket in a different position).
I’ve decided to provide this list of what I believe to be the best electric tow cars currently on the market under different budgets. Best electric tow car under $40K, $50K etc. This obviously differs from how I’ve structured my electric tow car list, but I think it works better in this instance.
US vs UK Electric Tow Car Differences
I have a separate website (electrictowcars.co.uk) where I also have a best electric tow cars list. However, that list is not really applicable to US buyers as I detail in this article on US vs UK electric tow car differences. Hence, I’ve based my selection based on the US towing capacity of the vehicles listed.
Best Electric Tow Car Under $40,000
Please note, I’m including vehicles that have an ‘effective’ price under $40,000 once federal tax credits have been factored in. In other words, these vehicles in several cases do not have a base price under $40,000.
At this price point, there are two very similar vehicles the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and the KIA EV6 with Standard Range battery packs offering between 220 miles for the IONIQ 5 and 232 miles for the EV6. The EV6 is the more efficient of the two vehicles and it also benefits from the slightly higher towing capacity of 2,300 lbs. Both cars have a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) setup.
There is also the option of the Polestar 2 Single Motor with its 270 miles of EPA range and 2,000 lb towing capacity. However, with its single motor front-wheel drive (FWD) setup, that’s not ideal for towing as in several instances the front wheels will struggle from traction.
The final option is the first electric vehicle made available in the US from the Volkswagen group. While it definitely has its faults, I think its currently the best option for an electric tow car under $40,000.
So to be specific about this, the VW ID.4 AWD Pro has an effective based price (after tax credits) of just over $38,000. The ID.4 AWD Pro as the name implies is the only electric vehicle at this price point that has an all-wheel-drive system, that obviously has its benefits for traction when towing.
In terms of towing capacity at 2,700 lbs the ID.4 AWD Pro is also the most capable of the EVs rated to tow at this price point. With regards to the EPA range, it comes in at 249 miles, hence better than the IONIQ 5/EV6 but obviously not as good as the Polestar 2.
There are also two areas where the ID.4 struggles against the competition, one is its media controls and software. As you will see in my referenced reviews on the car in my article linked above, its capacitive buttons and laggy software are not its best features by any stretch.
Furthermore, the rapid charging speed of the ID.4 is also not marketing leading at 125kW. Hence, as range reduction when towing is significant, its relatively slow rapid charging speed is not great. Especially not compared to the rapid charging speeds of the IONIQ 5 and EV6.
However, I think overall due to its average range, above-average towing capacity and the benefits of the AWD system I think the VW ID.4 AWD Pro currently deserves the nod as the best electric tow car under $40,000.
Best Electric Tow Car Under $50,000
Stepping up the budget to $50,000 there are some new electric car tow car options to consider. For instance, the Volvo XC40 Recharge which features very similar under pinings to the Polestar 2. However, the Volvo XC40 Recharge has a much higher towing capacity of 3,300 lbs, but its EPA range of 223 miles and 150kW rapid charge are less impressive.
There is also a dual motor version of the Polestar 2 which benefits from more power compared to the single motor FWD versions as well as better traction. However, with the same battery size and reduced efficiency due to the additional motor the range is reduced to 249 miles.
Really, at this price point its the Hyundia IONIQ 5 and KIA EV6 AWD Long Range versions which are the most compelling options as electric tow cars. Of the two, there is a clear winner when it comes to range, charging rates and towing capacity…
Personally, I prefer the looks of the Hyundia IONIQ 5, however it also appears those angular looks are a detriment to the efficiency of the vehicle. The IONIQ 5 AWD Long Range has an EPA range of 256 miles, whereas the KIA EV6 AWD Long Range has an EPA range of 274 miles.
Remeber, both brands come under the same corporate umbrella and for the most part they are very similar underneath. Therefore, either the KIA engineers are better at designing software to run the motors more efficiently, or the exterior design of the IONIQ 5 is not as aerodynamic as the EV6, maybe both.
Furthermore, the KIA EV6 benefits from a higher towing capacity of 2,300 lbs compared to 2,000 lbs with the IONIQ 5. Then there is the rapid charging max speed which is around 233kW on the EV6 but only around 221kW on the IONIQ 5.
As I’ve said above, personally I prefer the look of the IONIQ 5. However, there is very little price difference between the two and the EV6 has the superior specifications on range, charge rate and towing capacity. Hence, I think the KIA EV6 AWD Long Range is the best electric tow car under $50,000.
If you cannot currently go full BEV but you still want to drive around on electric energy most of the time when not towing I think the RAV4 Prime is currently the best option. Around 42 miles of EV range and a towing capacity of 2,500 lbs.
Best Electric Tow Car Under $60,000
If you have this amound to spend on a BEV and you’re looking to tow, I think the best option currently available is pretty conclusive and you’ve probably guessed what it is.
Now, there are potential options such as the base Audi E-Tron Quattro with its impressive 4,000 lb towing capacity and while its rapid charging speed maximum is not marketing leading, it has a flat charging curve so charges up pretty quickly. However, the big problem with the E-Tron is poor efficiency and as a result a disappointing 222 mile EPA range.
Realistically at this price point there is a clear market leader when it comes to electric cars and even more so for electric tow cars…
First lets discuss range, the Tesla Model Y AWD Long Range has an EPA range of 330 miles. Hence, compared to the Audi E-Tron at this price point the Model Y can travel more than 100 miles more!
While the E-Tron is a larger car in general the interior volume/storage space is not that different. However, the E-Tron is much heavier and is less efficient, as a result even though the Model Y has a smaller battery than the E-Tron it goes much further.
When it comes to towing capacity the Model Y is rated at 3,500 lbs, hence it can tow quite a bit more than the cheaper electric tow cars listed above. Then there is the maximum rapid charge rate of around 220kW and of course access to the proprietary Tesla Supercharger network.
As I discuss in my article Charging While Towing – The Biggest Challenge, Tesla Superchargers are not well setup for vehicles towing (yet). Howwever, having access to them is still a massive benefit compared to non-Tesla vehicles. Hence, for a budget up to $60,000 I think the Tesla Model Y AWD Long Range is the best electric tow car.
Now, as I discuss in my article on the X5 PHEV, I’m disappointed in the EV range on the US specification vehicle (31 miles) compared to the UK spec car at 54 miles. Then again, I still think its currently the best PHEV option at this price point (factoring in tax credits) for towing with a capacity of just under 6,000 lbs.
Best Electric Tow Car (Truck) Under $70,000
We are now just entering the era of the electric truck and its going to be very interesting to see how things shape out. We have the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck, a very divisive design but its looking to be a very capable vehicle when it comes onto the market, eventually.
There is also the truck market leader Ford with the F-150 Lightning which looks like its going to be a strong seller. The F-150 Lighting will have a towing capacity up to 10,000 lbs and we are expecting an EPA range up to 300 miles, though I’m a bit concerned by its 150kW rapid charging rate.
Chevy has also announced the Silverado EV which would appear to best the F-150 Lighting in several areas on range (400 miles), rapid charging speed (350kW) and towing capacity (20,000 lbs). But the specifics on that max towing capacity are currently very vague and its going to be a long time before you can get a Silverado EV in this price bracket.
Though you cannot buy any of the above electric trucks currently, there is only one electric truck which is currently on sale and in the hands of owners…
While the R1T is Rivian’s first electric vehicle they have been developing their technology/platform for over a decade. As a result, Rivian have received significant investment from both Ford and Amazon.
In terms of power and torque figures they are really pretty nuts at 835 HP & 908 lb-ft of torque, hence easily enough to provide great towing performance for any trailer up to 11,000 lbs.
The size of the Rivian R1T is a bit of an odd one, its not quite as big as a full-sized truck such as the F-150 Lightning, hence its not the size of truck most commonly sold in the US. However, I think the intention is they can therefore sell the R1T pick-up and the upcoming R1S on the global market where compact trucks are more common.
When it comes to range, the current EPA range rating is 314 miles, though a longer range version in the future with close to 400 miles of range is expected. Of course when towing expect the range to be typically 50% of that figure so around 150 miles going from a 100% to 0% state of charge.
Conclusions On The Best Electric Tow Cars/Trucks
I’ll be updating this article over time as new versions of the electric cars/trucks above come onto the market (can be purchased) and new models in general. I’ve yet to discuss some even more luxury categories ($80,000+ etc) and I’ll get around to it.
Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to add some lower-priced categories under $30K of electric cars that can tow. Furthermore, here’s hoping that the towing capacity of the cars within the price brackets above increase, along with range and charging rates of course.
I would encourage you to save this article to your favourites to check future updates and I’ll be changing the title of the article to reflect future changes/updates. I would also very much encourage you to check out my electric tow car guide articles to learn more about range loss when towing etc. 🙂