Can You Tow An RV With An Electric Vehicle?
Despite how fast Teslas seem to be popping up these days and that electric vehicles are slowly becoming more prominent on the roads in the United States, we have a long way to go to our carbon-neutral goal. Reuters claims that not even one percent of the vehicles on our roads are electric.
Various concerns give consumers pause when buying electric vehicles, like high prices and difficulties with charging. But RV lovers have their own specific questions. Are electric cars and trucks powerful enough to tow travel trailers? And if so, for how long?
Recent models with higher towing capacity and longer ranges finally make the EV and RV combo possible!
The time is now! 2022 has seen the release of more electric pickup trucks than we could have ever imagined. And what’s more, these pickups can haul some weight. Big names like Ford, Hummer, and Chevrolet have all released electric-powered trucks. Startups such as Alpha and Atlis claim to follow suit soon.
What’s more surprising is that it’s not just the electric trucks with towing capacity. There are other options for trailer towers as well, like the “world’s first electric adventure vehicle,” Rivian’s R1S. Even smaller still are options like the Tesla Model X or the Volvo XC40.
How is the range affected when towing?
Perhaps what scares people the most is the effect that towing can have on the range of EVs. This isn’t something unique to electric cars. Gas-powered vehicles will lose fuel efficiency when pulling extra weight too. According to It Still Runs, gas mileage can drop anywhere from 10-35%, depending on the weight of your trailer.
The same applies to electric vehicles. The problem is that filling up your tank with gas is much easier than finding a charging station. Since electric towing cars are still relatively new, there’s not a lot of information about how weight affects range.
Inside EVs recently reported that one owner of the F-150 Lightning dropped some details about towing a 6,000-pound Airstream trailer and its effect on the range of his truck. He mentioned that there was about a 50% reduction in range. The good news, however, is that Lightning’s computer factors in the weight being towed and auto-calculates the correct battery capacity, so you’re not left in the dark.
Similarly, Rivian lets their customers know up front that towing around 11,000 pounds, which is the maximum capacity for their R1T, will cut the range of the battery by approximately 50%. This truck also updates in real-time what your true range is, considering the weight and even how fast you’re accelerating.
What does towing capacity look like in electric vehicles?
The average large travel trailer weighs anywhere between 6,000 and 10,500 pounds. So, can electric vehicles pull that much weight?
The new electric trucks on the market can handle it! The Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning can tow up to 10,000 pounds, covering most travel trailers. The Rivian R1T is rated for up to 11,000 pounds. Smaller campers may pair well with the Rivian R1S or Hummer EV, which can pull around 7,500 pounds.
If you have something a little smaller, like a teardrop, A-frame camper, or pop-up camper, you may be able to get away with a smaller electric vehicle. Tesla Models Y and X can tow 3,500 and 5,000 pounds, respectively. Volvo XC 40 Recharge has a towing capacity of 3,300 pounds, and the VW ID.4 can pull 2,700 pounds. If you’re open to purchasing a hybrid, there are even more models that can pull in the 3000-6000 pound range.
Are fully electric RVs next?
Those who prefer a motorhome versus a towable RV won’t be left out for much longer. Winnebago revealed their electric RV concept at an RV show in early 2022. In June, they announced that members of their ATG team completed a 1,380-mile road trip in the All-Electric RV. They are now working to extend the range on the camper before sales go live to increase early adopters.
Winnebago isn’t alone, either. Just one day after they announced their concept, Thor Industries followed suit. According to reports, the Thor Vision concept will be able to travel 300 miles on one charge and include:
- Battery pack
- Solar roof
- Other emission-free features
As battery technology continues to evolve, we hope to see electric options for RV campers continue to grow.
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