Towing

Discussion in 'General' started by Palehowl, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Palehowl

    Palehowl New Member

    Has anyone noticed the reticence of manufacturers to offer almost any towing capability? I would certainly sacrifice distance to get a minimal amount of towing, say 500-1,000 lbs for a loss of 25-50 miles. And the vehicle doesn't have to be a lumbering SUV. There is a YouTube video showing a Leaf towing a train of cars in a parking lot, but Nissan has no statement. The Bolt offers a 100lb bicycle hitch, and Tesla has been seen hauling a U-Haul about. All good signs. I suspect that the incline a vehicle might encounter with a trailer is a problem. Both Alke of Italy and e-Ride make low speed NEVs that can tow serious weights on incline, but are limited to 35mph tops.
     
  2. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    You might be disappointed by the loss of range at highway speed. Even towing a moderate sized trailer with a Model X approximately halves the range. The Model S isn't going to do any better, since the limitation is the amount of energy contained in the battery pack.

    No problem if you're going on a fairly short trip, such as hauling your boat to the local lake, but if you're pulling a trailer on a highway road trip, then expect to stop twice as often to recharge. If you're not driving on the West Coast, you might have to drop your speed substantially to be able to make it to the next Supercharger station.

    Someday, BEVs will carry enough energy onboard that the range hit from towing won't be that significant. But that day is not today, nor tomorrow.

    See: "Tesla Model X Energy Consumption When Towing Various Trailers"

     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Active Member

    They are lying or too lazy to meet SAE standard testing. Don’t worry about it, just order a tow-bar. The challenge is a trailer light package for the trailer.

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. Palehowl

    Palehowl New Member

    Possibly, the manufacturers are looking at towing in the traditional 'dumb load on wheels' manner. Wouldn't it be better to develop a 'smart towing' signalling interface to a trailer that had its own battery and wheel-based motors? Of course, some sort of signalling interface would need to be developed, but we already have turn and brake signals. The only worry would be submersible motors and battery for watercraft trailers. Voila! New trailer industry!
     
    bwilson4web likes this.
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The advantage to a typical trailer (not a camper trailer) is that it's a cheap way to add additional storage space for a car or light truck, and you can store the trailer long-term without worrying about anything except the tires. Once you add a battery pack and an EV drivetrain, that trailer is very far from cheap. In fact, I wonder about licensing; if it's capable of traveling by itself, doesn't it need to have license tags and insurance just like a car?

    Better to just rent a truck when you need one, rather than buy a very expensive self-powered EV trailer and have to insure and maintain it.

    Just my opinion, of course.

     
    Domenick likes this.
  6. Palehowl

    Palehowl New Member

    Good points.. but in the State of Maine, and most others, a trailer must be registered, meet safety requirements, have license plates .. and though not required by the State, one would be well advised to add the trailer to the towing vehicle's insurance policy. Evil things happen if one doesn't have the proper tags and coverage. Expense is a trade-off.. which is cheaper, build a vehicle that can tow occasionally or have a smart EV trailer? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a small BEV in use 95% with a guidance connection to much larger self-powering EV trailer. It's a scary thought, but one can envision a little iMiEV, or such, guiding a 5,000lb trailer down the road. Hey, optional video cameras and wind compensation software built into the trailer!!
     
  7. jeff10236

    jeff10236 New Member

    Due to range issues, I can see this as an area where the PHEV would excel. The light truck and SUV (not CUV) market may need them. These vehicles are marketed based on their tow rating, and many people who buy them care greatly about it (even those who never tow). Have a PHEV that charges the battery continuously and it won't get great (or maybe any) electric range, and it may not have 40+ MPG like we are used to as the minimum for most hybrid and PHEV cars, but it could still be made to tow while having much better efficiency than the low to mid teens MPG of most of today's current tow vehicles. Maybe someday battery tech will be where you can have a reasonable tow rating on an all electric. However, until then, the best we can hope for would be PHEV or maybe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for towing. I think in the near future, the days of one tech to move us around will be over, as different needs may be best served by different technologies.
     
  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Yes, a PHEV should do better than a BEV for towing at highway speed and/or towing long distances.

     
  9. Paul K

    Paul K Member

    I would love to be able to hook the smallest utility trailer available up to my Leaf so I could load a generator on it and go visit my brother who lives off grid out in the boonies. Hadn't thought about the additional range loss creating by the aerodynamic turbulence of the trailer. Good point PMPU
     
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Well, as you probably know, the Leaf's owner's manual says you shouldn't tow with the Leaf. But that certainly doesn't stop us Americans from doing so! I've read comments stating that in EU nations it's illegal to pull a trailer if the car/vehicle isn't rated for towing, but thankfully I live in 'Murica, the land of the (semi-)free!* ;)

    Anyway, here's an extensive discussion thread on the My Leaf forum from owners who have fearlessly defied the recommendation in their Leaf owner's manual, and have installed a hitch on their Leaf.

    *Not to be confused with free from semis, which are quite common on roads here in 'Murica!
    :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018

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