20th July 2024

Within the subsequent few months, I’m planning on shopping for a camper. Not like most Individuals, I’m not in search of the triple-axle fifth wheel with three king beds, two residing rooms, and a greater kitchen than my dwelling (plus a storage for UTVs). I’m in search of one thing I can tow behind my Bolt EUV (which I name my Bolt EAV). Not solely is it cheaper to drive an EV on journeys, however EVs have large batteries that can be utilized to energy campsites!

However, there’s one large draw back to towing with an EV: vary loss. Whenever you’re already driving a car that doesn’t have the perfect vary, having your vary reduce in half (or worse) can actually put a damper on journeys. Certain, it’s no large deal towing on fuel, as a result of there are fuel stations all over the place and you’ll even take a jerry or two alongside for additional vary out within the backcountry. However, when charging stations usually solely exist alongside the interstates, and a few locations out within the woods don’t have electrical energy in any respect, that hit to vary is a a lot larger downside.

However, there’s no simple technique to actually predict the vary hit a trailer may have in your EV.

When you’re actually fortunate, another person already has your identical car and has towed the identical trailer you need to purchase. When that occurs, you may know just about what to anticipate and perhaps even put the numbers into one thing like A Higher Routeplanner to plan your journeys. However, if you wish to tow one thing that no person has shared the info on, it’s anyone’s guess how a lot vary you’ll lose.

What makes this downside much more difficult is that environment friendly camper designs will be misleading. Some designs that you just’d assume would offer you nice effectivity don’t actually pan out. For instance, there are various “teardrop” designs that begin with good science, however don’t fairly get the proportions proper, leading to a design that doesn’t protect vary prefer it ought to. Plus, many different components, like axle bearings, tires, wheels, and the form of the tow car think about and can provide surprising outcomes even with sound designs.

So, if you happen to’re searching for a cargo trailer, a camper, or every other towable car, you’re enjoying an iffy sport. When you’re fortunate, the trailer does higher than anticipated, and you’ll go extra locations than you anticipated. In case your luck isn’t nice otherwise you fall for junk science in advertising and marketing, you would undergo a a lot higher vary loss than you’d hoped for, and never have the ability to get to the campsites or enterprise locations you’d deliberate on.

The Superb Means To Know For Certain

Need to eliminate the uncertainty? There’s a good way to do this with any EV.

Begin out by getting the premium model of A Higher Routeplanner and shopping for an OBD-II Bluetooth dongle to attach your smartphone to the automotive (some automobiles can do that with out the Bluetooth dongle). Create a customized model of your car within the app, making word that it’s the one towing the particular trailer.

Then, take the trailer on some check runs, ideally with a wide range of speeds alongside the route. Do a mixture of metropolis, city freeway, and rural freeway driving between DC quick charging stations 50 miles aside so that you received’t danger working out of vary. Then, examine and see what the reference vary determine is contained in the app.

You’ll be able to evaluate that reference determine to your automotive’s regular reference determine to find out the approximate proportion of vary misplaced towing that particular trailer, and use that very same reference determine to plan towing journeys forward of time.

Trailer Producers Will Want To Begin Doing This, Although

Whereas the above methodology would work nice, there are some important issues with it once you’re searching for trailers.

The largest downside is that nearly no person’s going to allow you to check tow a trailer. RV sellers, cargo trailer builders, and boat outlets aren’t going to allow you to go drive 50-100 miles with their car to get that treasured information. When you wreck it earlier than shopping for it, they don’t know that your insurance coverage will cowl it, they usually don’t need to cope with the trouble even when they may make sure. They’re actually not going to pay for the insurance coverage that it will take to cowl buyer check tows.

Ultimately, trailer and RV companies are in all probability going to want to begin doing check tows, however once they’ve obtained ICE-driving clients coming in on daily basis, it makes little sense to exit of their technique to accommodate the odd EV driver.

You may have the ability to work round this by renting a trailer, however it must be a trailer that’s principally similar to the one you’re contemplating shopping for for the check information to be helpful in any respect. Different variables like tires, aerodynamics, whether or not the bearings have been maintained correctly, and plenty of different issues can shift the outcomes.

So, if you happen to’re buying trailers, you’re in all probability not going to have the ability to check it your self. However, as increasingly more drivers have EVs, producers are going to want to contemplate gathering some information themselves to present to potential patrons.

Generalizing Take a look at Outcomes For All EVs

The issue with the above testing methodology is that it’s not all that helpful for automobiles aside from these similar to your personal, or to these utilized in a particular check.

If I tow a particular trailer with my Bolt EAV and also you tow it with a Tesla, we might get very completely different vary losses. The again of the Bolt’s hatch is rather a lot taller, and Tesla’s automobiles are inclined to have a decrease deck, making for higher aerodynamic effectivity for the Tesla. However, when that extra sloped again finish releases the air and sends it flying again to the trailer, the air that the trailer is using via is now fully completely different. In some circumstances, the Bolt can be a greater match for the trailer as a result of the trailer rides within the slipstream extra. However, there’s no assure.

So, trailer producers want to consider how they’re going to gather and share towing vary check information in order that it will likely be helpful for extra drivers.

One of the simplest ways to do that can be to check with frequent and common EVs. There’s no technique to cowl each EV somebody may tow the trailer with, however testing with a wide range of EV shapes (automotive, hatchback, SUV, truck) and publishing outcomes with every car can not less than assist potential trailer patrons get within the ballpark earlier than shopping for.

As an alternative of publishing the general vary loss (ex. “This automotive solely goes 105 miles towing”), it’s in all probability a good suggestion to publish the additional watt-hours per mile and/or decreased miles/kWh that occurs when towing vs driving the identical course unloaded. In different phrases, it’s good to publish the share of additional power wanted and never the general vary discount on a given car. This may make it doable for individuals to extrapolate the vary loss to EVs with completely different battery pack sizes.

Lastly, it’s in all probability good to give you an excellent common after testing a number of various kinds of electrical automobiles. The typical received’t be helpful for EV patrons straight, however having general averages for various trailers can provide clients an concept of what trailers are higher for EV towing.

How This Helps Transfer The Trade Ahead

Maybe most significantly, encouraging EV vary testing can be nice for the longer term growth of EV-friendly trailers. When there’s a foundation to check towing power effectivity, producers will really feel extra motivation to create higher trailers. Because the EV transition goes ahead, this can be an necessary a part of the towing and RV industries, so it is sensible for producers to begin laying the groundwork now slightly than later.


Full our 2022 CleanTechnica reader survey for an opportunity to win an electrical bike.




Admire CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech information protection? Think about changing into a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.


Do not need to miss a cleantech story? Join day by day information updates from CleanTechnica on e mail. Or observe us on Google Information!


Have a tip for CleanTechnica, need to promote, or need to counsel a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.