Electric Car Towing Capacity

Are you in the market for electric cars that can haul a lot of weight? Most electric cars will disappoint you because they aren’t rated for towing.

For one, they are extremely heavy (heavier than ICE cars). And secondly, their drive trains are already maxed out. Adding more weight can overwhelm them. Towing also depletes the battery and cuts down effective range.

The good news is that the latest EVs are leveraging new tech to increase their towing capacity.

Why are Most EVs Bad at Towing?

Electric cars are surprisingly efficient when it comes to using energy. However, adding any extra weight can adversely impact their efficiency.

This means they aren’t all that different compared to ICE cars. Electric cars do, however, need more energy to tow heavy weight.

Most EVs simply can’t do it. Or doing so will come at the cost of drastically reducing their range. Here are a few reasons why EVs are bad at towing cars:

  • They use extremely heavy battery packs. The weight of most electric car batteries is nearly half a ton.
  • The braking systems and drive trains are not designed for towing trailers. Additional loads could overwhelm them. 
  • EVs use regenerative braking systems that can only handle the weight of EVs. Towing heavy trailers could damage the motors and batteries.
  • The range is a major concern with electric cars. Towing a trailer will significantly reduce the range of the car.
Electric Car Towing Capacity
Electric Car Towing Capacity

Instantaneous Torque Doesn’t Translate to Power

Did you know electric cars are better suited to towing trailers than ICE cars? This is because their engines can deliver full torque instantaneously.

Torque is the power to turn or rotate in a circular shape. This is something that you want your vehicles to do with greater efficiency.

Most conventional cars need massive gasoline engines to deliver superior torque. ICE cars require the combustion of fuel to rotate a crankshaft. This will then rotate their gears before power reaches the wheels.

However, EVs are just built differently. EVs skip all the gears and parts and convert all electrical energy into rotational energy.

As a result, EVs can deliver maximum torque instantaneously. You can hit maximum torque as soon as the electric motor starts.

This makes it possible for EVs to pull trailers effortlessly – but for short bursts. In practice, there are several obstacles that electric cars have to overcome.

For starters, electric cars are extremely heavy because of their battery packs. Moreover, a heavy trailer can easily overpower lightweight EVs when accelerating or cornering.

Heavier cars have their own problems. It will require more power from the engine to move. Furthermore, it will be more difficult to brake when driving heavier EVs.

Towing can strain EV motors, including the drive train and transmission system. This means that towing is reserved for very few EVs in the market.

The Problem of Battery and Range

Towing caravans requires more energy. The battery will provide this energy at the cost of a reduced range.

This also explains why EV makers don’t advertise towing capacity. It’s not worth using a feature if it lasts only a minute!

If you’re not worried about running out of battery, then tow all you want! The good news is that the latest EVs are breaking the barriers.

Battery capacity is beginning to improve soon. This means that towing capacity will also improve exponentially.

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Hybrids are a Better Option for Towing

A hybrid is better suited to towing than EVs despite being much heavier. Hybrids have both electric motors and diesel engines.

There are two types of hybrid cars: plug-in hybrids and self-charging hybrids. A self-charging hybrid like the Toyota RAV-4 has a towing capacity of 1650 kg.

The plug-in Mitsubishi Outlander has a towing capacity of just under 1500 kg. Then some hybrids blows everything out of the water. The Audi Q7 e-tron has a towing capacity of 2800 kg.

And the Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid is in a league of its own. It can haul up to 3500 kg of weight.

Charging EVs is a Major Issue

It can take a long time to charge electric vehicles. ICE cars can quickly fill up at a gas station and resume their journey.

Because of this, it is important to plan ahead before using EVs to tow loads. This may be less of a problem with Teslas. This is because they have an expansive Supercharger network.

Tesla’s chargers are more ubiquitous and allow for faster charging. Note that the time it takes for EVs to charge depends on the model.

Most newer EVs can charge in less than one hour. However, these charges are not easy to find. The good news is that most EVs can recharge their battery to 80% quickly.

According to Ford, the F-150 Lightning can charge to 80% in just 41%. This is enough time for the driver to run a  few errands.

Read Why you should not buy an electric car

Electric Cars Rated for Towing

Tesla Cybertruck – 14,500 lb

The long-awaited Tesla Cybertruck has a tow rating of 14,500 lbs. However, some reports indicate a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs.

By all accounts, these numbers are very impressive. The Cybertruck has been hyped up by Tesla and Elon Musk.

It is said to have been made from dent-resistant stainless steel. The futuristic EV has a driving range of over 500 miles.

In other words, it rivals the towing capacity of top-selling pickup tucks. The Cybertruck is available in three trims. There isn’t much information available on their differences.

The single Motor is an entry-level trim that powers the rear wheel. The Double and Tri Models deliver superior power, range, and towing capacity.

Electric Car Towing Capacity
Electric Car Towing Capacity

The Cybertruck can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. It has a top speed of 110 mph. The Dual Motor trim can do the same in 4.5 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Three-motor model can achieve this in just 2.9 seconds. It has a max speed of 130 mph.

Tesla has been tightly lipped about the Cybertrucks’s battery pack. But we do know that the single motor trim has a 250-mile range.  The dual motor can cover 300 miles.

Finally, the Tri motor model can cover 500 miles in a single charge. This is good news for anyone who wants their EVs to tow trailers.

Chevrolet Silverado EV – 10,000 lb

The futuristic Chevrolet Silverado EV has a delivery date of 2024. It features a massive battery pack capable of covering 400 miles.

Fast-charging technology allows the battery to top-up enough power in 10 minutes to cover 100-miles. It can tow up to 10,000 pounds of weight and haul 1,300 pounds of payload.

It will come with two electric motors to provide robust acceleration performance. It has a horsepower of at least 664 hp. It will utilize GM’s Ultium battery that can pack 200 kWh of capacity.

Chevrolet is also teasing a future model with a towing capacity of 20,000 lbs..

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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – 10,000 lb

The highly impressive Ford F-15 has a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs. It is equipped with an Extended Range battery to cover a large distance. The maximum payload of the F-150 is about 2,000 lbs..

The standard trim can pull 426-hp. And the advanced Extended Range battery can pull 563-hp. Both battery versions have an impressive torque of 775-lb-ft.

The SUV can accelerate from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds. This makes it the fastest F-150 – even faster than the Raptor.

Not only is the F-150 lightning incredibly fast, but it is also very powerful. It also has specially designed towing features such as the onboard scale system.

Advanced features like Pro Trailer Hitch make it well suited to towing trailers. The curb weight of the F-150 Lighting is about 6,590 lb.

Rivian R1T – 11,000 lb

The Rivian R1T has a towing capacity of 11,000 lbs. However, towing will cut its range in half. It has a total estimated range of 314 miles.

Switching to Towing mode will reduce the range to 135 miles. This is less than half its original range. It can deliver 900+ lb-ft of torque and 800 horsepower, depending on the trim.

You will activate “Tow Mode” by connecting a trailer to the truck. Drivers are advised to use Tow Mode for hauling trailers. Tow mode allows them to use the integrated trailer-brake controller.

Rivian R1S – 7,700 lb

Trailing behind the R1T is the R1S with a towing capacity of 7,7000 lbs. However, this will reduce the total range the SUV can cover.

7,700 lbs is an impressive number for a car – especially an electric car. For perspective, most SUVs in this size will have a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.

The R1S has most of its competition beat by over 2,700 lbs. Moreover, it delivers immense power and torque in its size.

It also has an impressive payload capacity of 1,800 lbs. This would include passengers and cargo in the car.

Most ICE cars have a payload capacity of under 1,500 lbs. But the R1S delivers more hauling capacity and power than ICE cars.

This is because the R1S is specially designed to leverage torque to its advantage.

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GMC Hummer EV – 7,500 lb

GMC’s Hummer Truck is another entry on this list that can haul massive weight. It can tow 7,500 lbs of weight with a payload rating of 1,300 lbs.

The Hummer EV features a torque of 11,500 lb-ft with aggressive regenerative braking. The truck itself is no lightweight with a curb weight of 9,000 lbs.

This makes it relatively heavy compared to other trucks. Hummer EV has a towing mode that stiffens the suspension to make controlling easier.

It boasts a range of 329 miles but expects this to be halved when towing. The truck can leap from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.

IT also features removable roof panels, adjustable air suspensions, and four-wheel steering. All these features make the Hummer EV fun to drive and a must-have.

Electric Car Towing Capacity
Electric Car Towing Capacity

BMW X5 eDrive 45e – 6,000 lb

The BMW X5 eDrive 45e has a towing capacity of 5,952 lbs. This is a decent number compared to most EVs. It features a massive battery compared to the X5 at 24kWh.

It’s that BMW has aimed its sights on competing with Tesla’s Cybertruck. The X5 comes with a hitch receiver and seven-pin plug-ins for trailer lights.

It comes with trailer stability control. This will provide the driver with blind spot collision warning and driver assistance features.

These safety features are useful because the trailer will block the car’s rear. The X5 also warns the driver if the trailer light starts to malfunction.

The car goes into tow mode once a trailer is connected. The X5 boasts superior towing capabilities, making it a good choice in its price range.

Tesla Model X – 5,000 lb

Finally, we have Tesla’s Model X with a towing capacity of nearly 5,000 lbs.

Like all new Model X cars, it comes with Tow Mode and Tow Package. These features actively monitor the trailer for safety reasons.

The Model X can use anywhere from 350 watts/mile to 480 watts/miles. However, it will consume 700 watts/mile when towing weights.

This will effectively halve the total range of the Model X. It can travel 235 miles in towing mode – which is very impressive.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, more tow-friendly electric cars are hitting the market.

Tesla’s Cybertruck at 14,500 lbs posted the most impressive numbers. For perspective, the Ford Expedition can tow 9,300 lbs.

This means that electric vehicles are surpassing what ICE engines can do. They do have a major limitation: range.

Towing will significantly reduce the range. Moreover, you will have to wait a long time to recharge your EV. But outside of these disadvantages, EVs are capable of safely towing trailers.

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