While the principle of an electric car is simple to understand, the change from an internal combustion engine (ICE) car will require changes in behaviour. How and when you charge the EV for instance. As electric cars and their supporting infrastructure are still a maturing technology while they have many strengths, there are limitations. Over time with improvements to battery technology and charging infrastructure many of the current limitations/compromises will for the most part disappear. However, until that point, especially when it comes to EV towing you will likely find these guides/articles helpful.
If you click the link above you will be directed to my electric tow car list which I’m frequently updating with new vehicles and their specific towing capabilities. However, before you do, I think you will find the articles/guides below help to give you a better understanding of the capabilities/limitations of electric tow cars. Which will ultimately help you to pick the best electric tow car for your needs.
Towing with an electric car consumes a lot of energy, typically a 50% reduction in range should be expected. Therefore a required visit to a rapid charger during a journey should also be expected. Sure, you will find rapid chargers along most freeways/highways in the US. However, can an electric car towing a trailer/RV actually use them?
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology is still maturing, hence when it comes to towing as I discuss frequently within my articles there are still issues that need to be addressed. So what about PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) are they the best of both worlds? Within this article, I discuss the pros and cons of BEVs and PHEVs.
The simple answer is yes, electric cars/trucks can tow, but only some electric vehicles are given an officially rated towing capacity. Furthermore, with electric cars which ones can/cannot tow and their towing capacity may surprise you. With this article, I also discuss some of the core benefits of electric cars when it comes to towing which will ultimately make them the superior tow cars to ICE vehicles.
While the weight of an RV/trailer is part of the reason the range of an electric car will be reduced while towing, increased aerodynamic drag is also a significant factor. Therefore, this will put pressure on RV/trailer designers to consider aerodynamic qualities more into the design of their products to give their customers longer towing ranges. Even in these early electric tow car days, owners are finding noticeable differences in towing ranges with different leisure vehicles.
As the range of an electric car/truck can be significantly reduced while towing, buyers will be drawn towards electric tow cars providing the longest range. Typically when towing, the range of an EV will reduce by 50%. Therefore, while range anxiety under normal driving conditions with an EV is becoming less of an issue, towing range anxiety is a different matter. However, you obviously cannot purely pick an electric tow car on its towing range, it also has to meet your towing capacity requirements.
As the range of an electric car when towing can be significantly reduced, when you do stop to charge you want to be able to get energy back into the battery as quickly as possible. Therefore with this article, I discuss which electric tow cars/trucks have the fastest maximum charging speeds. However, I also discuss how charge rates are not linear, and real-world charging speeds do vary from vehicle to vehicle. To achieve the maximum charge rate of a specific electric tow car/truck you also have to use a compatible rapid charger. More details on that topic in the guide below.
As towing can significantly reduce the range of an EV, typically by 50% (maybe more) getting energy back into the battery during a journey as quickly as possible will be important. Hence, during a long-distance towing journey its likely you are going to need to rapid charge, also known as Level 3 charging. With this guide, I discuss the various options for rapid charging in the US. Including the current status of the US rapid charging networks and how they are evolving. Such as the various different rapid charging plugs and different charger speeds. Also, will these rapid chargers be set up for towing vehicles?
Let’s presume you have reached your destination with your electric tow car and RV/trailer, what are your charging options? As the owner of a small RV site myself, I discuss the example of charging an EV at an RV site. For instance, how many miles per hour of charge will you get from an RV service post? While some RV parks will be able to offer dedicated EV charging, for some RV sites that will simply not be possible due to high installation costs or infrastructure limitations. Therefore, you need to be aware of all your destination charging options.
Instead of MPG (Miles per Gallon), when it comes to electric tow cars and measuring/comparing efficiency its either Wh/Mile, Miles/kWh or MPGe. Now, understanding how efficiently an electric car is using its onboard energy can be confusing. With Wh/Mile a lower figure is more efficient, whereas with Miles/kWh and MPGe a higher figure means higher efficiency. With this guide, I hope to clear up the confusion, along with discussing how towing impacts the efficiency of an electric tow car.
As towing can significantly reduce the range of an EV a new concept has been developed, the self-propelled trailer/RV. The first prototype examples produced by Dethleffs and Airstream can indeed increase range while towing along with other benefits. However, there are also drawbacks to this approach as I discuss in this article.