We have now reached a point where most new electric cars provide a range over 200 miles which is more than enough for most peoples daily driving needs. Therefore, for normal daily driving ‘range anxiety’ is becoming less of a concern. However, towing with an electric car is a different matter entirely. When towing the average result is a 50% range reduction. Hence, looking for an electric tow car which will provide you with the longest range is a key consideration along with the electric cars maximum towing capacity.
As the electric car market is constantly changing with new and improved models I’ll do my best to keep this article as up to date as possible. Currently, as can be seen in the image above the Tesla Model 3 provides the longest range of electric cars which can tow. Whether the Tesla Model 3 can tow the caravan/trailer you need it to is another question entirely. You can use my electric tow car list to see the different maximum towing capacities of each electric tow car on the market in the UK today.
Longest Range Electric Tow Cars
So below is a list of electric tow cars currently available for sale in the UK or confirmed for future sale. I’ve not included some cars featured in my electric tow car list (Cybertruck etc), as its still not completely clear if those vehicles are actually coming to the UK.
As with all the facts/figures I provide they are from the EV-database.uk. Hence the range figures below are real-world average range figures. I’ve quoted the longest range available for each electric car. The towing range is then 50% of the real-world range figure when not towing. Now, as I’ll discuss more below, the actual towing range can vary considerably based on lots of factors.
|Electric Tow Car||Range (Not Towing)||Towing Range (50 %)|
|Tesla Model 3||290 miles||145 miles|
|Tesla Model X||290 miles||145 miles|
|Nissan Ariya||275 miles||138 miles|
|Mustang Mach E||270 miles||135 miles|
|Tesla Model Y||260 miles||130 miles|
|Skoda Enyaq||250 miles||125 miles|
|Polestar 2||245 miles||123 miles|
|VW ID.4||245 miles||123 miles|
|Mercedes EQC||230 miles||115 miles|
|Audi E-Tron||230 miles||115 miles|
|BMW iX3||225 miles||113 miles|
|Jaguar I-Pace||225 miles||113 miles|
|Volvo XC40 Recharge||205 miles||103 miles|
What Gives One Electric Car More Range Over Another?
A bigger battery? Sure, a larger battery with a higher energy capacity will give an electric car a longer range. However, simply comparing the stated battery capacity of one electric car with another to determine which will have the longest range will often provide a false result. Why? Well, there are more factors to a longer range than just the size of the battery. Furthermore, the stated battery capacity may be very different from the ‘usable’ battery capacity of the car.
Several electric cars have a percentage of the battery capacity restricted/locked-off. The Audi E-Tron 55 being one of the best examples. It has a battery capacity of 95kW but in reality, it has a usable battery capacity of just over 83kW. Why would Audi do this? Well, with current lithium-ion battery technology charging to 100% and discharging to 0% will rapidly reduce the life of the battery. Hence, capping off some of the battery capacity means the life of the battery can be extended.
Capping off some of the battery capacity also means you can charge the battery faster with less risk of damage. Hence, as you can see in my article on which electric tow cars can charge the fastest, the Audi E-Tron is one of the fastest charging electric cars. Now, if you purely look at the maximum charge rates of different electric cars you wouldn’t expect that to be the case. It appears by capping off some battery capacity Audi are more comfortable with their battery management system letting electrons fly when rapid charging.
Efficiency Is Key To Longer EV Ranges
While a bigger battery is one factor that can lead to one EV having a longer range over another, how efficiently an EV uses its onboard energy is another significant factor. For instance, as I show in my guide to electric tow car efficiency there are significant differences between how efficient a Tesla Model 3 (250 Wh/mile) is compared to an Audi E-Tron (380 Wh/mile).
Now, you may correctly state, ‘Chris, that’s not a fair direct comparison!‘ And your right, the Tesla Model 3 has an unladen weight of 1919 kg and the Audi E-Tron 55 has an unladen weight of 2595 kg. Hence, its always going to take more energy to move a heavier vehicle. A better direct comparison would be Tesla Model X (325 Wh/mile) with an unladen weight of 2533 kg. While the Audi E-Tron 55 still has 62 kg on the Tesla Model X, that cannot fully account for the 55 Wh/mile difference in efficiency. There are clearly other factors going on, more efficient motors, more efficient software etc.
Aerodynamics Matter, Big Time
While the styling of cars has always to some degree considered how efficiently air passes over the body, hence its aerodynamic qualities, its even more important with electric vehicles. That’s why you have EV manufactures getting rid of unnecessary vents/ducts, and why camera wing mirrors are becoming more of a ‘thing’. You will even find some EV manufacturers bragging about how their car has a very low ‘drag coefficient’, which is how aerodynamic efficiency is measured.
So how aerodynamic the electric car is will impact its range. However, towing a trailer/caravan then puts the aerodynamic qualities of the trailer/caravan into play. In my article on The Impact of Aerodynamic Drag on Towing Range, I discuss this issue in more detail. Put simply, the aerodynamic qualities of the caravan/trailer can significantly impact the towing range of an electric car.
Higher Speeds Mean Shorter Ranges
While more efficient hardware/software in an electric car can improve its range, along with a bigger battery and more aerodynamic designs, higher speeds will always result in shorter EV ranges. At higher speeds, aerodynamic drag increases exponentially. Hence, if you want to get the longest range out of any EV you need to have a delicate approach with your right foot.
This is applicable to any EV in all driving conditions. However, its particularly applicable to electric tow cars pulling a caravan/trailer where aerodynamic drag is even more considerable. I provide a good example of this in my guide to efficiency article with a Tesla Model Y towing a caravan. Travelling at 70 mph resulted in a towing range of 76 miles. While dropping the towing speed to 65 mph resulted in a towing range of 103 miles!
Conclusions On The Longest Range Electric Tow Cars
So what should you take away from the above information? Well, the table above can be used as a general indication of which electric tow cars currently provide the longest ranges. However, the reality is in the real-world range in a specific scenario (especially when towing) will likely produce a different result. The weight of the trailer/caravan, terrain/elevation changes and the combined aerodynamic profile of the car/caravan/trailer will all come into play.
The key to providing accurate real-world electric tow car ranges will come from better software. Electric tow car route planners are going to have to consider all of the factors above to be able to provide reasonably accurate towing range predictions. Until that point, anyone with an electric tow car needs to plan ahead and know all their rapid charging and destination charging options to plan a successful/stress-free trip.