Electric Car Towing Capacity: What You Need To Know
If you have recently bought an EV or you are in the market for one, have you checked the electric car towing capacity? Can your electric car tow a caravan or a trailer?
When switching to an EV, one of the main factors many people don’t take into consideration is the electric car towing capacity. This is especially important for those who need to transport heavy loads such as caravans or pull trailers regularly. While most electric vehicles were not designed to tow, some EVs can and automakers across the world are looking at this in more detail for future models.
Braked vs Unbraked Electric Car Towing Capacity
When it comes to electric car towing capacity, the first thing you should look at is whether it has braked or unbraked towing capacity. What’s the difference between the two you ask?
Well, the braked weight on the car spec sheet refers to the maximum weight of a trailer, caravan, boat trailer or horsebox that has its own brakes. On the other hand, unbraked towing capacity is the maximum weight of a trailer, caravan, boat trailer or horsebox that cannot brake on its own and has to connect to the vehicle’s braking system.
The electric car towing capacity will vary depending on the model as some EVs are only capable of unbraked towing. That means if you are looking for a tow car with a good towing limit and range in the UK, you may have to look at a hybrid or petrol/diesel car instead.
Can You Tow A Caravan With An Electric Car?
The simple answer is yes, you can tow a caravan with an electric car but there are some considerations to take into account.
- Firstly, you need an appropriate tow bar which can be fitted at a specialist garage
- Secondly, the size and weight of your caravan must be within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for the make and model of EV you are using
- Thirdly, you must ensure that your vehicle has enough battery range to accommodate the extra energy required for towing
- Lastly, you should check with your insurance provider that they are willing to cover your caravan and electric vehicle combo, as some may not extend their coverage to accommodate this
Since some electric cars can be programmed to use their regenerative braking capabilities to help recharge the battery while in transit, it is worth checking with your manufacturer if this is an option for you.
Why Can Only A Few Electric Vehicles Tow A Trailer?
Many electric cars cannot tow trailers, caravans, or other loads as they have not been approved as tow cars. This comes down to a process called ‘type approval’ (homologation) which involves relevant automotive authorities confirming that “production samples of a type of vehicle, vehicle system, component or separate technical unit will meet specified performance standards.”
Aside from homologation, other factors impacting or limiting electric car towing capacity include the following:
- Towing would only add to the already heavier electric vehicle compared to petrol/diesel cars which could impact the braking ability.
- The increased weight adds more strain to the electric motors which will negatively affect the range, resulting in stopping more often to recharge.
- Most regenerative braking systems were specifically calibrated to the weight of the vehicle and not the load behind it which could result in a dangerous situation.
Electric Car Towing Capacity Vs Petrol and Diesel Cars
While diesel engines are less popular today due to CO2 emissions, they are still among the best tow cars due to their excellent torque ratio. However, newer turbocharged petrol engines are closing the gap quickly with some TSI petrol engines, for example, delivering just about the same output.
As with electric car towing capacity, a similar situation applies to hybrid cars where many of them lose range or experience poor fuel economy when towing. Most hybrid cars are also only allowed to tow lighter loads, like a small trailer.
That said, electric cars that can tow, do so exceptionally well although their range is still reduced due to the heavier load. As electric car technology improves over time, though, so will their towing capacity. Before we know it, the UK could have more EVs as tow cars.
Electric Vehicles With the Highest Towing Capacity
Although diesel engines remain the best for towing, followed by petrol and hybrid cars, electric car towing capacity will only increase as EV technology continues to advance. With that in mind, the towing capacity of electric cars will depend on the model and its power output, and here are some of the EVs with the best tow ratings.
- BMW iX towing limit – 2,500 kg
- Genesis Electrified GV70 towing limit – 2,500 kg
- Tesla Model X towing capacity – 2,268 kg
- Audi E-Tron towing capacity – 1,800 kg
- Mercedes EQC towing capacity – 1,800 kg
- Volvo XC40 AWD and C40 Recharge AWD towing capacity – 1,800 kg
- BMW i4 towing limit – 1,600 kg
- Kia EV6 towing capacity – 1,600 kg
- Hyundai Ionic towing limit – 1,600 kg
- Tesla Model Y towing capacity – 1,600 kg
- Polestar 2 towing capacity – 1,500 kg
- Ssangyong Korando e-Motion towing limit – 1,500 kg
- Jaguar i-Pace EV400 – 750 kg
- Nissan LEAF braked trailer limit – 680 kg
How Does Towing Affect Range?
If you’re thinking of towing something with your electric car, it is important to consider how towing will affect your range. Towing a load will require more energy from the battery so you must factor this into your calculations when estimating the electric range.
The heavier the load, the greater the range reduction as more energy is needed to move both the vehicle and the load behind it. Towing will also reduce the efficiency of regenerative braking, resulting in a reduced range during your journey.
In general, most EVs see a 25-30% reduction in range when towing a lightweight trailer and up to 50% when pulling something heavier. For example, if you have an EV SUV or hatchback with a range of 200 miles, towing a braked trailer or caravan could reduce the range to 140-170 miles.
Conclusion: Electric Car Towing Capacity
To sum up the question, “Can electric vehicles tow a caravan?”, it is possible but there are some important considerations to take into account. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommended limits, consider the extra energy demands for towing, and ensure you have the right insurance coverage.
Additionally, you may want to check if your car has regenerative braking capabilities that can help recharge your battery while in transit. Remember that towing with any vehicle, except some diesel motors, will significantly reduce the range so you must factor this into your route planning, especially when looking at electric car towing capacity.
EV Servicing and EV Tyres At Elite Garages
At Elite Garages, we offer reliable EV servicing and EV tyres for most makes and models. Using state-of-the-art tools, equipment and techniques, our team of experienced and IMI-trained technicians is here to ensure that your electric vehicle is running at peak performance.
We understand the importance of keeping your car in top condition, especially before going away which is why we offer free vehicle safety checks. If you’re looking for a reliable garage for EV servicing and EV tyres, contact your nearest Elite Garages service centre for more information.
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