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.
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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, pretty much all motorway service stations in the UK now have rapid chargers. However, can an electric car towing a trailer/caravan actually use them?
While the 50% range reduction figures I provide for electric tow cars in my articles are a good guide to go buy, we need to discuss scenarios where the range reduction could be more significant. We also need to discuss how the number of charging stops and charging rates/time can vary. In other words, the difference between theory and practice.
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.
As my electric tow car list linked above discusses new electric tow cars and the latest versions of existing electric tow cars their specs on range and charging speed etc may not be applicable to models you find on the second-hand market. Therefore this article discusses how you can find the exact specifications of used-second hand EVs. Therefore when you then browse sites such as AutoTrader/eBay you will have a full understanding of used EV capabilties.
The simple answer is yes, electric cars can tow, but only some electric cars 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. The subject of the UK 2030 new petrol/diesel car ban is also discussed, and the implications to the UK caravan/tourism industry.
While the weight of a caravan/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 caravan/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 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 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 have the fastest maximum charging speeds. However, I also discuss how charge rates are not linear, and real-world charging speeds do vary from car to car. To achieve the maximum charge rate of a specific electric tow car 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. With this guide, I discuss the various options for rapid charging in the UK. Including the current status of the UK rapid charging network and how its evolving.
Let’s presume you have reached your destination with your electric tow car and caravan/trailer, what are your charging options? As the owner of a small caravan site myself, I discuss the example of charging an EV at a typical caravan site. For instance, how many miles per hour of charge will you get from a caravan service post? While some caravan sites will be able to offer dedicated EV charging, for some caravan 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 or Miles/kWh. 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 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/caravan. 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.