Can electric cars tow caravans?

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Electric vehicles (EVs) may be capable of pulling heavy loads. However, it depends on the model and manufacturer.

A tow ball is not an option on most EVs, while some models, like the Tesla Model X, have a high towing capacity. The efficiency of the vehicle's range when towing will likewise be reduced.

Although EVs can tow, there aren't many charging stations that can easily handle larger trailers, so long-distance towing may not be feasible if one has not organised the various suitable charging points beforehand.

Anticipated that more EV vehicles with greater towing capacities will be offered on the market in the future.

Is my electric car able to tow a caravan or other items?

In May 2019, the Australian prime Minister, Scott Morrison, claimed that electric cars could not tow efficiently. However, various articles and motoring commentator opinion pieces later found the claim needing “a tune-up” as that statement was not wholly correct.

Even after more than three years, the Morrison claim remains frequently cited, especially with the ongoing release of numerous new SUVs and Utes in the latest electric car range. So what are the facts – are electric cars ready to tow?

The answer is a definite YES, a strong maybe and a clear NO.

The answer in 2024 and beyond

In 2023 an electric car can make a perfect towing vehicle; it depends on the manufacturer and model.

When using a trailer or caravan with an electric car, drivers with a towing capacity have found that the drive experience is quite like that of a regular petrol or diesel car. Acceleration is still powerful, and once the car is moving, the car drives quite comfortably.

One issue with towing something whilst using your electric car is that you go through a lot more charge, and drivers can expect their range to drop by as much as 50%, depending on the weight of the trailer and the wind resistance.

Driving a petrol car will also mean higher fuel consumption during towing, but while filling a petrol tank only takes a few minutes, that extra kWh battery consumption from the trailer is more inconvenient in an electric car, given the current relatively low penetration of public charging stations around Australia.

Nevertheless, this situation is expected to improve drastically shortly; this particular issue is temporary.

If you were going on a long road trip, this current fact means you require more and longer pit stops to charge an electric car than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

However, if you are using the trailer for work and only driving in and around your local area, not wholly exhausting your car’s charge, an electric car might work well for you.

This is especially true if you have a home battery set up and your home charger is large enough to fully charge your battery overnight.

electric vehicle towing a heavy load which is a plane glider
Some good-quality electric cars can still tow more than you’d expect

So which electric car model can tow? 

Regarding what model electric cars can tow, your options in 2023 are still a bit restricted as most do not offer a tow ball as an option.

When writing this FAQ, there are 9 electric car models with an option of a tow ball. All these models offer a large span of towing capabilities, with the largest currently being that of the Tesla Model X has a tow rating of 2250kg.

Some serious towing heavyweights in the electric car market include the Ford F-150 Pick-up having the ability to tow 4500kg, the Silverado EV, which is rumoured to have the towing capabilities of up to 9000kg and, of course, the Tesla Cybertruck, which was mysteriously removed as on order option from the Australian website in May 2022.

But seriously, and unfortunately, none of these models has made it into the Australian and New Zealand market yet. So the answer to the question is YES, electric cars do have the ability to tow.

What about a tow from Sydney to Perth?

Absolutely, the local boat ramp is a great option for towing! Your small electric car can handle the task effortlessly. But, if you’re eyeing a road trip from Sydney to Perth, the answer leans towards a cautious “maybe.” The journey is longer, and charging stations accommodating larger trailers can be a bit scarce, making the feasibility a bit uncertain.

Now, let’s discuss the nitty-gritty details. If you’re eyeing one of the budget-friendly electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, for your towing needs, the answer right now is a straightforward “no.” These smaller electric models might not pack the punch needed for towing larger loads, especially with trailers in tow.

Considering the range and infrastructure is important when embarking on longer journeys. Finding charging stations that can cater to a larger trailer might not be a walk in the park. So, while the local boat ramp is a green light, a cross-country road trip with a trailer attached might still be in the realm of uncertainty.

In conclusion, the electric car landscape is evolving, and advancements are being made. As of now, for short local trips, your small electric car is a great companion. However, for those grand adventures with a larger trailer, the answer remains a balanced “maybe.” Stay tuned for updates in the electric car market as technology continues to progress.

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