Can I tow a caravan with an electric or a hybrid car?

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  • #136222 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    Want an electric or hybrid car but also need to tow a caravan or trailer? It is possible, but only if you choose the right model

    Camping and caravanning are popular hobbies for many in the UK. With the increase in the number of electric and hybrid cars on sale, many caravanners are beginning to look towards buying an electric or hybrid tow car.

    In many ways, an electric car should make the perfect caravan hauler. The instant pulling power from their electric motors should make them better at towing than a petrol or diesel-engined car, while their low running costs should help owners save money during trips, too. In reality, that’s not always the case – most electric vehicles are not certified as fit for towing. However, all is not lost…

    Why most electric vehicles are not able to tow a caravan
    There are several reasons why electric cars aren’t used to tow caravans, but the biggest one is to do with something called ‘type approval’. Whenever a car manufacturer wants to sell a new model, the vehicle in question has to be type approved. During the process, manufacturers can decide whether or not to approve the vehicle for towing – and in most instances, electric cars aren’t certified.

    There are some very good reasons for this. The first is to do with the weight of an electric car. They already weight more than equivalent petrol or diesel-powered cars because of their heavy batteries. Added weight from the caravan or trailer would affect things like the brakes – they wouldn’t be as effective and might struggle to cope with the even heavier load.

    As most electric cars today come with regenerative braking – which is only calibrated to the braking force needed for the vehicle itself – any extra braking force added by the caravan might complicate the onboard electronics. This isn’t an insurmountable problem, though, and in time manufacturers may be able to develop systems that can factor in different weights.

    Another issue is range. Caravanners often undertake long trips, which can be difficult in an electric car. Not only would drivers have to recharge regularly, but they’d also face significantly shorter real-world range than the car’s published figure due to the added weight of the caravan. The extra weight could also strain the electric motors.

    However, that’s not to say an electric car can’t be used to tow. A handful of electric vehicles are certified for towing: the Tesla Model X is capable of pulling an impressive 2,270kg; Tesla has included a ‘trailer mode’ that shuts off some of the car’s driver-assistance features and can apply brakes to individual wheels if it detects the trailer swaying behind.

    Meanwhile, the Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC can both tow up to 1,800kg. The Jaguar I-Pace is also rated for towing, although it’s much less capable in this respect, with a maximum figure of 750kg.

    Can plug-in hybrids be used for towing?
    Because plug-in vehicles use a combination of electric and engine power, the issues discussed above that affect pure-electric vehicles are less pronounced. In fact, several plug-in hybrid vehicles have been certified for towing, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volvo XC90 Recharge, Volvo XC60 Recharge and BMW X5 hybrid, among others.

    They come with impressive towing capacities, too. The Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 has a 2,100kg limit, going all the way up to 3,500kg for the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid. Smaller models like the Volkswagen Golf GTE can tow up to 1,600kg.

    Many non-plug-in hybrid cars are also certified for towing, but their limits are smaller. The Toyota Prius and C-HR are limited to just 725kg, for example, while the Corolla can manage 750kg. The Toyota RAV4 can haul 1,650kg in all-wheel-drive hybrid form, while the plug-in version of the same car has a towing limit of 1,500kg. According to the Caravan & Motorhome Club, hybrid cars are currently the best choice for those looking for an alternative-fuel vehicle to tow a caravan with.

    Can an electric car be towed?
    If your hybrid or electric car breaks down, it shouldn’t be towed away, but instead placed on a flatbed trailer. This is to avoid harming the electronics on board, such as the traction motor that generates electricity when coasting.

    Most manufacturers recommend owners contact their breakdown provider and specifically ask for a flatbed truck. However, in some instances, an electric car can be towed with the front wheels lifted, but this is often limited to a short distance. Consult your owner’s manual to find out what your manufacturer recommends.

     

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #136225 Reply
    ChrisK
    Participant

    If you were to ask Bob the builder I’m sure he would say “yes we can”.😊

    #136235 Reply
    sif

    You can buy towbars for EVs so the answer is yes, though what you tow is more complicated.

    #136239 Reply
    Oscarmax
    Participant

    The new Skoda Enyaq iV can tow 1400kg, they even offer a factory towing package.


    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #136948 Reply
    Brydo
    Participant

    The only person who got all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe.
    Anything i post over three lines long please assume it is an article lol.

    #136968 Reply
    Richardw
    Participant

    Not particularly good news for around 500.000 caravan owners in the UK. And that’s before we start on boats, horse trailers etc etc etc

    #136975 Reply
    wmcforum
    Which Mobility Car

    Wowsers! 1000kg caravan is pretty light too, a larger van can be upwards of 1700kg

    Holidays are going to be a bit closer to home in the future.

    #136978 Reply
    Oscarmax
    Participant

    Our set up Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV towing Swift Conqueror 480 1500kg starting with a full charge leaving our house travelling between 30 and 40mph (speed restrictions) to pick up the M6 Toll road 14 miles requires approximately 9.6kW, however the faster you go the less distance per kW, so in theory to tow a 1500kg (which is about the average weight of a modern UK caravan) at 50/55mph will require approximately 100kW taking into account regenerative energy recovery, so not really brilliant.

    The caravan chassis manufacture AL-KO has already developed a caravan chassis designed with electric towcars in mind with regenerative energy recovering whist being towed, 80/100kW batteries and electric motors in the wheel hub, this can be topped up by solar panel of the caravan roof or charging up off the mains on site. The biggest problem at this moment in time is the weight of the batteries and obviously the cost.

    The alternative is to take advantage and carryout a motorhome conversion on the current electric panel van appearing on the market like Ford/Mercedes etc, that way all the development cost being meet by the manufacture plus access to fast charging points


    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #136985 Reply
    Oscarmax
    Participant


    In 2005 I suffered a brain injury which has left me with mental and physical disabilities.
    Unfortunately I do get confused and get things wrong, so I apologise in advance.

    #137005 Reply
    Elliot
    Participant

    That is an excellent article which really gives the manufacturers another hurdle to overcome if caravanning in a post electric age is to continue. The obvious solution for most could be the number of used petrol and diesel vehicles that will still be available.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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