Are Electric Cars, Trucks, And SUVs Any Good for Towing?


All automakers today are making a move to design and manufacture environmentally-friendly vehicles, whether it is hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or Electric Vehicle (EV). 

The need for more efficient energy and fuel economy has pushed many car manufacturers to consider electric cars

But does this compromise on performance? 

Striking a balance between performance and environmental consciousness is one of the primary concerns of most automakers in their designs.

While most manufacturers have found a favorable balance between these two, some are struggling to do it. 

When it comes to pulling a camper trailer or a boat, electric vehicles should be an excellent choice because of the instant torque that they provide from their powerful electric motors. 

But this is not the case for many vehicles. 

Most of the EVs have short ranges that lower their capacities to tow heavy loads. 

That begs the question of whether electric cars, trucks, and SUVs are good for towing.

Are Electric Cars, Trucks, And SUVs Any Good for Towing? 

Electric cars are more suitable for towing compared to their gas and diesel counterparts. This is because the electric motors in these vehicles give instant torque that is good for towing. However, electric cars have a limited driving range that is limited further with the additional weight of towing.

Whether you plan to tow a caravan or a camper trailer to your next off-road adventure, an electric vehicle can suffice. 

But since its ability is limited to the range, it may not be wise to give it extra weight to tow as this may considerably reduce its range. 

Automakers continue to work furiously to improve the range of their electric vehicles to compete with gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. 

As a result, it appears counterproductive to provide estimates for towing that will compromise the battery ranges. 

Electric vehicles have the benefit of instant power supply as their strong selling point. 

When compared to a regular gas or diesel engine, electric motors can deliver full power immediately, while the latter must be revved up first to do so. 

The most significant feature of a powerful tow car is its capacity to move the additional weight of the camper or caravan at a slow speed. 

If this is considered, then electric cars can make good towing machines. 

But this has not been the case for many electric cars. 

More electric cars are now designed with the ability to tow. 

Towing a heavy cargo can considerably reduce your battery’s range, but this is equivalent to using a gas or diesel power engine that will consume more fuel when towing. 

But unlike electric cars, the gas and diesel engine will provide a consistent towing capacity compared to the battery-powered vehicle. 

Because of this, when shopping for an electric vehicle that will also be able to two your caravan or small camper, you have to consider the manufacturers’ specifications. 

Electric Vehicle Towing Capacity

The most crucial factor to consider when shopping for an EV is its towing capacity. 

Whether it is a truck or an SUV, its maximum towing capacity will determine whether it will be suitable for towing your cargo. 

The maximum towing capacity of any vehicle will be determined by the vehicle manufacturer. 

This is the maximum towing mass that the car is rated to pull. 

Unbraked and braked are two main variations of this. 

Braked towing is the amount of weight your vehicle can tow while its towing load has its brakes attached. 

On the other hand, the unbraked towing capacity refers to the maximum weight that a vehicle can tow when the tow trailer lacks its brakes. 

In this case, when using the braked towing capacity, you can pull along a larger weight safely because of the extra stopping power given by the trailer’s braking force. 

This protects the vehicle’s brakes from being overwhelmed by a high load, as the longer it takes to stop the car and the trailer, the more the weight they will have to handle to come to a halt. 

Challenges of Towing with Electric Cars

While some electric cars, trucks, and SUVs have been rated and designed to tow considerable cargo, they are still limited to their distinct ranges. 

Because of this, not many drivers will prefer using their vehicles to tow heavy loads. 

At low speeds, electric motors in EVs offer enough torque instantly that they can be good for towing. 

Electric vehicles do not require revving to start towing. 

They can be immediately engaged and start towing immediately after the vehicle is switched on. 

Diesel engines are likely to offer higher torque than gas engines of the same volume. 

Modern turbocharged gasoline-powered vehicles can deliver lots of power even at lower engine speeds. 

Torque is usually expressed in pound-feet (lbs.-ft), which is dependent on the amount of horsepower (hp) the engine can offer. 

The higher the lbs.-ft, the higher the torque and towing capacity of the vehicle. 

Because of this, good towing vehicles have high torque when running at low speeds. 

This means the drivers don’t struggle so much when pulling heavy cargo. 

Comparing the lbs.-ft value requires careful consideration of the revolutions per minute (rpm) figure of the engine. 

Having an electric car that can deliver maximum torque immediately after the vehicle starts gives the EV an edge over the others. 

For the electric vehicle, gears are unnecessary because the car generates maximum torque all the time, allowing it to drive away immediately from rest with a heavy load or pass a tractor safely on a country road without issue. 

Does Instant Torque Equal Power? 

It is essential to understand that electric motors can provide full torque instantly, but this doesn’t imply that all-electric vehicles have a lot of power. 

Power will significantly depend on the engine capacity, make, and model of the vehicle. 

The car’s weight is another weight that the vehicle has to deal with in addition to the weight being towed. 

If a vehicle is too light, the towed cargo could overwhelm the vehicle during cornering, halting, or accelerating. 

At the same time, when the vehicle is too heavy, it will use up a significant percentage of the engine capacity to move, thus lowering their towing capacities (both braked and unbraked).

Towing will cause strain on the electric vehicle’s motor, including its electrical control unit, because of the lack of a solid regenerative braking effect. 

This makes towing to be reserved for very few EVs in the market today. 

Hybrid vehicles offer a better solution for this situation. 

Dual-powered vehicles will always have the upper hand since the gasoline engine can be used, the batteries have been depleted. 

Popular types of Electric Vehicles

Some automakers are yet to release their electric vehicles to the market. 

Therefore, the few that have made it are the most sought after by customers. 

These include Kia Soul EV, Chevrolet Spark EV, Tesla Model X, Audi Q4 E-Tron, Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia V6, Mercedes-Benz EQA. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Can an electric car pull a camper trailer? 

Yes. Some electric vehicles can pull your small or medium camper trailers. But this will vary from one model to the other. 

Some EVs have a very small range, and it will not be recommended to use them for towing, while at the same time, some electric trucks and SUVs have long ranges. 

Does towing affect the battery life? 

When you use your electric car to pull cargo, it reduces the range of your vehicle by 25 to 30 percent. 

Excessive towing or pulling weights that are heavier than that recommended by the manufacturer will damage your battery in the long run. 

This is because your battery will be depleted faster, hence, requiring frequent charging. 

Are plug-in hybrids better at towing than the electric car? 

For towing, hybrids, both plug-in and self-charging vehicles, will offer a superior option. 

The internal combustion engine will act as backup on this one, giving them much freedom and ease of pulling because they can be quickly refueled when the fuel gets depleted. 

Conclusion

To sum it up, the benefits and drawbacks of towing with an electric automobile are obvious. 

They can do this job very well, but not for the longest distance like the gas- and diesel-powered vehicle. 

The electric vehicles will offer excellent torque almost instantly because they don’t require revving to start. 

In an electric car, more energy is required for towing, which reduces the range of the battery running the motor. 

This is a great concern for many manufacturers. 

Because of this, many drivers don’t even bother to get their EV certified to tow as this will drastically reduce the life of their motor and battery. 

If you are in the market for an electric car that will tow your cargo, it is important to check the maximum towing capacity rating of the vehicle. 

Next, consider whether your vehicle will handle the weight. 

The worst thing is to be stranded while camping or fishing somewhere when your vehicle’s battery dies. 

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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