Electric vehicles have come a long way. But, towing a camper with an EV? It might not seem like a feasible option. Throw in the existing range anxiety, and you’re ready to look for an F-150 instead.
So, can you really tow a travel trailer with an electric vehicle? Or are EV manufacturers selling us fool’s gold? Let’s take a good look at the details.
Towing capacities of popular EVs
Even in the past year, we’ve seen vast improvements in mileage and towing power for electric vehicles. Although electric vehicles’ towing capacities are much better than they were a year ago, most car manufacturers don’t promote electric vehicle towing metrics. Look below for an easy reference of EV towing capabilities.
EVs with towing capacities under 3,000 lbs
Smaller EVs won’t have the same power as an electric truck, but you can still tow a light trailer or fifth wheel if you have one of these popular electric cars. When choosing a mobile habitat, keep things light and don’t exceed the towing capacity or tongue weight. If you want to expand your options for camper trailers you can look into upgrading the hitch on the EVs below.
- Nissan Leaf & Chevy Bolt EV – both have a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs and a max tongue weight of around 300 lbs; for more carefree travels, find a camper trailer closer to 1000 lbs.
- Volkswagen ID.4 – the ID.4 has a stock tow rating of 2,200 lbs and a tongue weight of 200 lbs. However, you can increase this rating up to 3,500 lbs (525 lbs tongue weight) with a hitch upgrade.
- Hyundai EVs (Kona & Ioniq) – both vehicles have a tongue weight of 375 lbs; the Ioniq 5 can haul trailers weighing up to 2,300 lbs while the Kona can pull trailers weighing around 2,800 lbs.
Towing capacities between 3,000 and 5,000 lbs
These popular EV models can tow mid-sized campers like TigerMoth and Cricket. You can easily keep your one-charge range well above 100 miles if you pick out a compact pop-up camper with a smaller profile. Plus, you can still have the most sporty, futuristic car at the campground.
- Mustang Mach-E – this sleek EV tops out at an impressive 3,300 lbs towing capacity with a tongue weight of 525 lbs.
- Tesla Models X & Y – the Model Y is rated at 3,500 lbs (tongue weight 350 lbs) and the Model X can pull a whopping 5,000 lbs (500 lbs tongue weight). If you’ve upgraded your Model X to have the 22” Turbine wheels, the towing capacity is reduced to 3,500 with a tongue weight of 350 lbs.
EVs with towing capacities above 5,000 lbs
If you own the Hummer EV, Ford Lightning, or either of the Rivian adventure vehicles, then you have the widest range of options available when choosing a trailer. Even though these vehicles can comfortably pull anything over 5,000 lbs, you still might want to consider a find a trailer RV with lightweight specs to save on battery charge.
- Hummer EV – the new Hummer electric vehicle can tow any trailer up to 7,500 lbs and handle tongue weights of around 750 lbs.
- Ford F-150 Lightning – the electric version of the world’s most popular pickup can pull camper trailers weighing nearly 10,000 lbs (but only handles a tongue weight of up to 500 lbs).
- Rivian R1S & R1T – these electric adventure vehicles were built for hauling camper trailers. Rivian’s lifestyle R1S SUV is rated for anything up to 7,700 lbs (tongue weight 810 lbs) and the R1T truck is rated for 11,000 lbs (tongue weight 1,155 lbs).
Consider the following when towing with your EV
Your electric vehicle’s towing capacity could narrow your options for camping destinations, but with a little bit of planning you can extend your battery’s range. If you’re headed to a campground within an hour from your home then you won’t need to prepare as thoroughly as you would for a longer trip. When taking further trips, consider factors like battery range, route options, and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your intended camper trailer.
Hummer EV representatives at the Overland Expo estimated that an electric vehicle’s effective battery is reduced by an average of 30% when towing a camper trailer. This metric isn’t standardized, but still helpful in estimating the range of one charge before your trip. Therefore, be mindful of the remaining battery charge while traveling and plan your routing accordingly.
Thankfully, both Google and Apple Maps include functionality to choose the most fuel-efficient routes. In addition to this, planning a route with plenty of charging stations along the way reduces stress while driving. Keep in mind that most charging stations require you to back in before charging – so you may have to unhitch your trailer. However, using a tool like PlugShare can help you find ideal charging stations and even account for elevation changes – which can affect battery usage.
Passenger and gross vehicle weight
The dry weight of a trailer is far from what you’ll be towing when on the road. Be mindful of the gross vehicle weight rating or the maximum weight of a trailer, including the dry weight and gear. Make sure your vehicle can handle towing weight above the GVWR; additionally, take into account vehicle specs and passenger weight. For example, a Model Y with third-row seating carrying 6 to 7 passengers has a reduced tow rating of 1,200 lbs – quite the drop from 3,500 lbs.
The tongue weight is typically 10 to 15% of the trailer weight. Even if your vehicle is rated to tow the weight of your trailer, you’ll want to ensure that you won’t exceed your hitch’s tongue weight rating. Before buying a camper trailer, check the tongue weight rating on the trailer and your vehicle. Most manufacturers won’t list this metric on their website — but above, you can find easy references for the most popular EVs.
Safety comes first when towing your camper trailer for the first time. Check the hitch and electrical connections, doors, windows, and the pressure on all your tires (trailer and vehicle). You’ll also want to store more than half of your gear toward the front of the trailer near the hitch to create a more secure weight distribution. If you can, adjust the brakes in your electric vehicle to compensate for the added momentum of your trailer – breaking suddenly could cause vehicle damage in inclement weather.
What to look for in a camper trailer for your EV
After finding your EV or electric truck towing capacity, you can start searching for the ideal trailer to take on your next adventure. Multiple types and sizes of trailers are available on the market, but only those with lightweight construction and compact designs truly conform to the electric vehicle lifestyle. To keep your journey charging forward, match your vehicle’s towing capacity to the right style trailer.
Look for campers that have collapsible features and intuitive storage to help your EV travel further when towing. Just because we’re going green doesn’t mean we have to compromise on space or functionality. Watch out for these specs when you spring for a new mobile habitat:
- Compact design – a camper with pop-up features has a lower profile and narrower composition while providing more space after you arrive at your destination. You can even install a roof-top tent onto some trailers to accommodate more campers while keeping vehicle weight down.
- Lightweight construction – look for campers that use lightweight materials and lighter suspension systems. Trailers with single-axle or axle-less suspension tend to be less heavy than their double-axle counterparts. Even more so, mobile habitats constructed with aluminum composite panels instead of wood frames can increase your battery efficiency.
- Energy efficient features – the reason we drive electric vehicles isn’t just because they look and perform great, we are doing our part to reduce carbon emissions – why not have a camper that does the same? LED lights, energy-efficient heating, and solar panels on your camper trailer can help reduce the carbon footprint even further.
Power up your next camping trip with an eco-friendly trailer
Turn heads at any campsite with a trailer that matches the futuristic feel and eco-friendly vibes of your electric vehicle. At TAXA, we source reusable materials and make it our mission to create a sustainable business for Earth’s future. Our functional, NASA-inspired designs not only make lightweight and towable campers, but also fashionable and convenient habitats. Call a TAXA dealer today to find the right camper trailer for your EV!