Guide to towing with an electric or hybrid vehicle

Electric and hybrid cars are the path to a greener future. They were designed to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental friendliness throughout the world. Over the last decade, a rising number of people have purchased electric and hybrid vehicles as a replacement for their petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

Everyone cares about cutting down on pollution to protect the environment and make it a healthier place for us to breathe and exist. But if everyone were to drive electric and hybrid cars someday, perhaps we could get global warming under control. Not only that, but these vehicles are also more affordable in the long run. You won’t have to purchase expensive fuel all the time because you can just charge a battery at your house to repower your vehicle. How great is that?

However, there has been one giant setback with electric and hybrid vehicles up until this point. Since they don’t produce as much power as petrol- and diesel-powered engine tow trucks, it is difficult to tow heavy trailers, caravans, and horse floats from the rear of an electric or hybrid vehicle. So, if you need to do these things regularly, pay attention to this article because it will be very informative to you.

Is Towing Possible for Electric and Hybrid Cars?

One of the biggest consumer complaints against alternative-fuel vehicles is their lack of power. For instance, an electric vehicle is best for in-town driving only because its battery will run out of power if you drive too fast or too long. Plus, you cannot find battery charging stations like you can petrol stations.

Every electric car contains a heavy battery pack. For example, the Renault ZOE is an electric car that weighs approximately 1,468 kilograms. What’s more amazing is that its battery pack weighs 305 kilograms by itself. The weight of this battery pack is about 33% the weight of a Renault Clio Supermini Hatchback 1.2-litre petrol-powered car, which is 977 kilograms.

As you can see, electric cars already weigh a lot by themselves. That is why most electric cars cannot go over 60 kms p/h without exhausting all their battery power. So, adding a heavy trailer won’t make things any easier. It’ll put extra stress and pressure on the battery pack, brakes, and other internal components. Before you know it, your electric car will need frequent repairs.

The biggest fear about towing with electric cars is the potential of damaging the powertrain. Even though electric motors offer instant torque for accelerating while hauling a trailer, it could cause problems when you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal to slow down.

Electric motors act like electric generators when you stop accelerating, which causes kinetic energy to convert into an additional battery charge. This puts a lot of stress on the electrical system, but not enough to cause any damage. But if you’re hauling a heavy trailer and attempt to slow down on a declining road or hill, then it’ll produce an abundance of kinetic energy that could damage your electrical system.

On the other hand, a hybrid vehicle can still generate a lot of power for a tow because it is built with an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine. This gives you the ability to switch between electric and fuel whenever you want. So, if you’re going to do in-town driving, you could drive with electric power to save on fuel costs. But when you need more power to tow heavy trailers or drive faster, then you can switch to the fuel-powered engine.

For this reason, we recommend you get a hybrid vehicle if you want to be environmentally friendly and tow heavy objects on occasion. It serves the best of both worlds.

Check the Legal Towing Limit

Some electric vehicles are engineered and manufactured with a legal towing limit. The manufacturer calculates the maximum weight their electric car can tow. The government will issue a certificate to the manufacturer that verifies the legal towing limit of the vehicle. This approval process is called homologation.

If you’re after an electric hatchback or supermini, you won’t have much luck hauling heavy amounts of weight with it. When a car manufacturer designs an electric car suitable for towing, they will publish the maximum weight limits for towing unbraked trailers and braked trailers. If you don’t see these weight amounts published anywhere in the owner’s manual or advertisements, then it must indicate the electric car was not designed for towing trailers.

Most electric car manufacturers don’t even bother putting their car models through the homologation process because they have no intention of making them tow-friendly vehicles. Why would they? If they attempt to design their electric vehicles to tow heavy trailers, it would drastically decrease their maximum driving range. Electric car manufacturers don’t want to risk affecting the maximum driving range of their electric vehicles because the range is already low enough.

One of the biggest reasons consumers are hesitant to buy electric cars is their low maximum driving range. So if manufacturers were to make them tow-friendly while reducing the driving range, it wouldn’t help sell more electric vehicles. That is why they continue to skip the homologation process and avoid marking them as tow-friendly vehicles.

Electric Car Models Made for Towing

There is some good news for electric car lovers who need to tow heavy trailers. An increasing number of electric car manufacturers are starting to design their electric vehicles to accommodate heavier loads and higher tow limits. One famous example of this is the Tesla Model X.

The Tesla Model X was the first electric car to go through the homologation process and receive government approval for towing. Tesla founder Elon Musk wanted to break new ground in the electric vehicle industry by creating better technology that would allow electric vehicles to haul heavy trailers without any issues.

Due to the homologation process, the Tesla Model X has a maximum towing limit set to a whopping 2,270 kilograms. That is enough tow weight to haul a large trailer or caravan in the back of the car. Other electric vehicle manufacturers are now putting their electric vehicles through the homologation process.

The Mercedes EQC has a maximum towing limit of 1,800 kilograms, while the Jaguar I-Pace has a maximum weight limit of 750 kilograms. These might be impressive towing limits, but they don’t compare to the massive 2,270-kilogram towing limit of the Tesla Model X. Tesla has definitely become the true trend-setter in this industry.

The Tesla Model X has a special trailer mode that automatically activates after you plug the electrics of your trailer into the vehicle. Once the trailer mode is activated, several features become deactivated in the car, like automatic parking, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and automatic steering.

However, one feature that does activate is the Trailer Sway Mitigation. This technology automatically sets the brakes on the car’s wheels whenever the trailer starts to sway uncontrollably from behind. That is a handy feature to have because it prevents accidents and helps ensure your trailer doesn’t get damaged.

Are you interested in purchasing a Tesla Model X? Unfortunately, they are not affordable for the average consumer because their starting price tag is about $160,000 new. That would mean only wealthier people can afford to buy the Model X and tow heavy trailers with it.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles with Towing Capabilities

Hybrid vehicles use both an internal combustion engine and electric motor to provide versatile driving and towing options. If you want an affordable car with electric technology and towing capabilities, you won’t find a better option than a hybrid vehicle model. The fuel-powered engine provides the extra power needed to haul more weight.

If you are upset that you cannot afford a Tesla Model X, consider purchasing a plug-in hybrid car for considerably less money. For instance, you could buy a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for about $55,000. It is a lower-priced hybrid model with a tow rating of 1,500 kilograms for a braked trailer. This means the Outlander has the strength to haul a small caravan or even a medium-sized one. So would you rather pay $55,000 or $160,000 for this towing rating? The choice is more than obvious.

You don’t have to settle on an SUV either. There are executive sedans that are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles too. One of the most popular luxury hybrid sedans is the Mercedes-Benz C300e, which has a tow rating of 1,800 kilograms for braked trailers. This Mercedes model produces a lot of power for heavy towing, so you shouldn’t have any problems. It also has an air suspension fitting to improve the safety of towing a heavy trailer by preventing the rear suspension from sagging.

Another recommended plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for towing is the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine. It has a tow rating of up to 2,400 kilograms, which is more towing weight than most people need. The combination of its 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor generate roughly 250 kilowatts. It also offers a 40-kilometre range on a fully charged battery pack. Also, the Volvo has a warm and relaxing design quality with beautiful materials and one of the highest safety ratings imaginable.

Are you willing to spend over $150,000 on a new plug-in hybrid vehicle with a tow rating? If so, you should check out the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid because it is the best plug-in hybrid on the market. It has the highest maximum towing limit allowed for any domestic vehicle, which is 3,500 kilograms for a braked trailer. The enormous power can be attributed to its electric motor and V6 3.0-litre petrol engine, which produce 250 kilowatts of power together. In addition, it is a four-wheel-drive car for navigating rugged roads and terrain. The total weight is 2.5 tonnes, which should help when towing a heavy trailer behind it.

Don’t expect all hybrid vehicles to have a tow rating. But if towing heavy trailers is what you want to do, then look for the hybrid models with tow ratings. Two more examples of hybrids with tow ratings are the Lexus NX 300h and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. They are smaller-sized SUVs with an electric motor and a 2.5-litre petrol engine. Their tow limit is about 1,500 kilograms for braked trailers, which means they can tow a medium-sized caravan.

As you can see, there is a growing number of viable plug-in hybrid vehicles with tow ratings. So if you are unsure about choosing a hybrid or electric vehicle for towing trailers, your best bet would be to purchase a hybrid vehicle. The petrol engine offers the extra power needed to haul your heavy trailers farther and faster compared to electric vehicles. The only exception is the Tesla Model X, which has a whopping 2,270-kilogram towing limit. But since most people cannot afford the Model X, it would be better to settle for an affordable hybrid.

What’s Next for Alternative-Fuel Vehicles with Tow Ratings

There is a steady trend of people transitioning from petrol and diesel vehicles to hybrid vehicles. As hybrids become more affordable, more people will be interested in purchasing them. Why not? They offer an electric motor and petrol engine combined into one vehicle. This gives consumers a choice between eco-friendly in-town driving and fuel-powered distance driving.

For this reason, the trend toward electric vehicle ownership will take longer. Unless automakers can develop electric vehicles with a longer range for driving, you won’t see them surpass the popularity of hybrid vehicles anytime soon. Besides, electric vehicles don’t have the same towing capacity as hybrid vehicles. It is hard to imagine the day when fully electric vehicles become as powerful as hybrid or petrol vehicles. Until that day, hybrids will be number one in the alternative-fuel vehicle market for towing heavy trailers.