When towing a trailer/caravan with an electric car there is a general ‘rule’ that you should expect the range to decrease while towing by roughly 50%. The reality is the range while towing could be effected more or potentially less depending on lots of factors such as going up lots of hills etc. However, the main point being for this post you should expect a significant range decrease while towing with an electric car. Therefore, how fast a particular electric tow car can put energy back into the battery is very important.
Introduction To Electric Tow Car Maximum Charge Rates
Below I’ve included a table of electric tow cars and their maximum towing capacity and maximum charge rates. The links for each car go to the specific article I’ve written about them. Now, it is important to note that not all versions of a particular tow car have the maximum charge rate stated. The figure I’ve given is the highest for that particular model. For instance, take the Skoda Enyaq as an example. While most models have a maximum charge rate up to 125kW, lower-spec models only charge at a maximum speed of 100kW.
Its not as if Skoda or its parent company the VW group are the only ones to pull this trick by offering the same model not only with different sized battery packs but different maximum charge rates. However, the Audi E-Tron is another example, the E-Tron 50 has a maximum charge rate of 120kW while all other E-Tron 55 models charge at up to 155kW. The point being, different maximum charge rates on different specs of a car is something you need to be aware of.
|Electric Tow Car||Max Towing Capacity||Max Charge Rate|
|Tesla Model X||2,250 KG||250 kW|
|Tesla Model Y||1,500 KG||250 kW|
|Tesla Model 3||1,000 KG||250 kW|
|Audi E-Tron||1,800 KG||155 kW|
|Polestar 2||1,500 KG||150 kW|
|Volvo XC40 Recharge||1,500 KG||150 kW|
|BMW iX3||750 KG||150 kW|
|Mustang Mach E||750 KG||150 kW|
|Nissan Ariya||1,500 KG||130 kW|
|Skoda Enyaq||1,200 KG||125 kW|
|VW ID.4||1,000 KG||125 kW|
|Mercedes EQC||1,800 KG||112 kW|
|Jaguar I-Pace||750 KG||104 kW|
I’ll do my best to keep the table above up to date. However, please check out my electric tow car list which I will be updating with new vehicles/models. You will probably note, there are certain models on my electric tow car list which I’ve not included into the table above (yet). The reason is there are some model which its not clear if they will come to the UK as yet. Hence, until those details are confirmed for the UK I wouldn’t want to include them into a fastest charging electric tow car list.
Old (Used) vs New Electric Tow Cars – Differences In Charge Rates
Above I stated how there are differences between the maximum charge rates with the same model of electric tow car depending on the specific spec/trim level. Well, if you are considering purchasing a second-hand electric tow car you should also appreciate that some older versions of an electric car may have a slower maximum charging rate. As the technology in electric cars is changing pretty rapidly, year on year there are generally improvements being made.
So let’s look at an example such as the Tesla Model X, while current versions can take advantage of the latest Tesla V3 Superchargers which charge at up to 250 kW, that’s not the case for all the second-hand versions on the market. For instance, the first Model X versions which came to the UK in 2016 have a maximum charge rate of 120 kW. Even if you plug that car into a V3 Supercharger it will not be able to charger faster than 120 kW due to the hardware limitations of the car itself.
I reference the EV-Database for facts and figures on electric tow cars such as real-world range/maximum charge rate etc. They have details on older and current versions of each electric tow car such as the Tesla Model X. Therefore if you are considering purchasing a second-hand electric tow car, check the maximum charge rate on the Used Vehicle Archive at the EV-Database.
Important: Electric Car Rapid Charging Rates Are Not Linear
So the table above on charge rates shows us the maximum capabilities of each electric tow car. However, its very important to note that no electric car (currently) will achieve its maximum charge rate consistently. Let’s presume the car is plugged into a charging station capable of meeting the cars maximum charge rate. Even then no electric car based on current lithium battery technology will maintain its maximum charge rate for the duration of the charging session.
Therefore, there is a term you will hear more over the coming years, an electric cars ‘charging curve’. Basically, at a certain battery capacity, a car will typically be able to take a certain amount of charge somewhere up to the car’s maximum charging speed. Different cars from different manufacturers have different charging curves. This is due to the differences in battery chemistry, capacity, hardware and software.
Different Charge Curve Profiles
Some electric cars have a bell curve charging profile where the charging speed starts low at a low battery state of charge. The charge rate peaks around a 50% battery state of charge and then tapers away as the battery gets closer to being fully charged, around 80%. Other electric cars have a flatter charge curve. Potentially with a flatter charging curve even though the maxium rate of charge is lower the total charging time can be shorter due to a higher average charging speed over the length of the charging session.
I cannot currently provide a charging curve profile for each specific electric tow car as much as I would like to. Though, in the future once this information is available I will be referencing it here. However, what I can reference is an excellent video from electric car YouTuber Bjørn Nyland which illustrates the charging curve differences between different electric cars rather well.
The video above shows how in terms of charging speed the Audi E-Tron actually performs very well compared to the competition. Hence, while the E-Tron is not a very efficient electric car, it does have the benefit of getting charge back into the battery quickly. In the future, I hope to have more pieces of content such as this to illustrate the difference in real-world charging speeds between different cars.
The key takeaway from the above is the following. The maximum charge rate of an electric car is not a maintainable charging speed over the duration of the charging session. Hence, potentially a car with a lower peak charging speed which can maintain a higher average charging speed may be able to top up its battery more quickly.
Some Rapid Chargers Are More Rapid Than Others
This article is about the hardware within the electric car in terms of its maximum charging rate. However, to be able to take advantage of a cars maximum rate of charge it needs to be plugged into a rapid charger which can provide sufficient power. Rapid chargers start from 50kW and currently go up to 350kW. There are many different rapid charger network operators around the UK with different prices and payment options. Please check out my Guide to Rapid/Fast Charging An Electric Tow Car to learn more.
Conclusions On The Fastest Charging Electric Tow Cars
So when it comes to determining which electric tow car can charge the fastest while its maximum speed of charge in kW will provide a good indication, it can not be used as the definitive answer. I’m very hopeful that going forward more data/testing will be available for each electric tow car demonstrating their charging curves under specific scenarios. For instance, just as an electric cars efficiency can be impacted by cold weather conditions, so can its charging speed. Hence, its why Tesla and Mercedes pre-heat their battery packs before the car reaches the rapid charging station so the car can accept the fastest rate of charge possible. I expect more manufacturers to be implementing this feature going forward.
Its also worth noting as a general rule, electric cars charge the fastest when the battery state of charge is between 10% and 80%. There are reasons for this which I’ll get into in later articles. The general point being, as the rate of charge decreases considerable charging from 80% to 100%, its generally not worth doing so. However, that also means with less than 100% in the battery the cars full range is not available. Which when towing as the range is effectively cut in half due to factors such as aerodynamic drag having less than 100% charge may be a significant consideration to factor into planning your journey.