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Can EVs tow?

29 August 2020

Can electric vehicles tow?

This article was written for the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association magazine and appeared in the August 2020 edition.

Although they’re not known for it, EVs are very capable of towing…with the right information before you get started.

The increased torque offered by electric vehicles actually makes them perfect for towing, but there’s often not enough information supplied upon purchase for drivers to confidently estimate their towing range. 

Finding your EV towing range can be guesswork

When selling a vehicle in Australia, OEMs are required to publish official range estimates as well as gross vehicle weight limitations to ensure that drivers do not overload their vehicle beyond capacity. However, given the comparatively small number of EVs sold compared to their petrol counterparts, many OEMs simply do not take the time to rate their electric models for towing.

This doesn’t mean they’re not fit for the job though. As with any kind of towing, your range will be reduced depending on the size of your load, and electric vehicles are no exception. 

EV early adopter experience has shown that a moderate load – one that’s comfortably below the maximum rated capacity of an EV’s petrol equivalent - will reduce the range of a vehicle by around 30%. For your average EV this means you still can expect to be able to drive 280km; enough range for most weekend getaways. In addition, many tourism destinations, like caravan parks, have three phase power which is perfect for efficiently recharging your battery pack.

The EV market is evolving to include larger vehicles with greater towing capacity

IThe main thing currently holding back EVs from being ideal vehicles for towing is the selection of models available; the real issue is not that EVs can’t tow, it's that the EVs on the market today aren't designed for pulling around heavy loads.

The Nissan Leaf can certainly be equipped to tow smaller loads (as pictured) but even if it was a petrol-powered car you wouldn't see people hitching their caravan around on this little hatchback. 

To help EV drivers take advantage of their towing potential, our partner company EVolution has developed a locally manufactured tow hitch that fits a range of electric vehicles.

Though there are some decent options for towing on the market including the Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model X and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the arrival of electric pickups like the Cybertruck and Rivian R1T will be the game changer needed for EV enthusiasts who want who pull big loads around.

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