Can You Tow a Trailer With an Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicles have come a long way. But, tow 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. Well, did you know that one of the newest Ford F-150s is badged the Lightning and can tow a fifth wheel? In fact, if you watch the ad, you can see the TAXA Mantis at 0:33.

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.

What Should You Look for to Tow With an EV?

When looking for your electric tow vehicle, knowing what to prioritize is essential for making the right decision. Start with these three characteristics.

1. Reliability

Ideally, everyone drives a vehicle they can trust to take them from Point A to Point B. However, reliability is even more critical when the car must tow and take you to or through remote areas. Consequently, it’s good to avoid brands known for poor reliability ratings.

2. Battery Capacity

It would help if you also tried to get the biggest capacity and range possible. Experts estimate that you will lose 30% of battery range while towing. Representatives for Hummer EV gave me a similar estimate when I spoke to them at the Overland Expo last summer.

3. Weight Restrictions

Finally, consider your weight limits. Most people focus only on the max towing capacity, but the payload is equally important. It can determine your max tongue weight and how many people can travel in the vehicle while you tow.

Which EVs Can Tow a TAXA Travel Trailer?

For years, EV manufacturers have been hesitant about providing a tow rating for their vehicles. When they did offer a towing capacity, it was incredibly low. Tesla turned the industry on its head; one way it did so was to advertise its max tow ratings. 

According to Tesla, its Model X can tow up to 5,000 lbs, and its Model Y can tow up to 3,500 lbs. Here are some additional EVs with towing ratings:

  • Atlis XT – 35,000 lbs
  • Tesla Cybertruck – 14,00 lbs
  • Rivian R1T – 11,000 lbs
  • Ford Lightning – 10,000 lbs
  • Hummer EV – 7,500 lbs
  • Audi e-Tron Quattro – 4,000 lbs
  • Ford Mach-E – 3,500 lbs
  • Kia EV6 BEV – 2,300 lbs
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 – 1,650 lbs

Unfortunately, some of the vehicles on this list are not yet for sale. Others are suffering from limited availability. But, in a year or two, you should have no shortage of options for EVs that can tow a travel trailer.

What Should You Look for in a Travel Trailer You Plan to Tow With an EV?

If you haven’t yet bought your trailer, the best advice I can give is to choose the smallest and lightest one possible. Doing so minimizes wind resistance and weight considerations for your EV. Here are some additional considerations.

Pop-Up Features

Pop-up campers have a lower profile than most other campers and are often narrower. This design makes them easier to tow, even with gas vehicles. It also makes them a much better match for EVs over regular trailers.

Lightweight Composition

The lighter the trailer, the better. A few hundred pounds can be the difference between towing with ease and watching your range drop significantly. Keep in mind that overland trailers often weigh much more than regular versions.

Aerodynamic Design

As with any vehicle towing a trailer, aerodynamics matter. The more streamlined your set-up, the less drag you’ll experience and the easier towing will be on your vehicle.

What Are Some Tips for Successful EV Towing?

As a full disclaimer, I have never towed with an EV. However, I have spent a lot of time researching and envisioning the possibility. Why? Because my next vehicle will be an EV. While I plan to keep my FJ Cruiser as my primary tow vehicle, it would be nice to have something that can move my rig if my truck is in the shop. So, here are some considerations.

Travel Slowly

Most good EVs currently boast ranges from 200 miles to 300 miles. At a 30% reduction rate, this creates a drop to a range of 140 miles to 210 miles. Consequently, you will need to be comfortable with stopping more often to recharge. This arrangement could be acceptable for full-timers who have all the time in the world, but it might not work well for weekend warriors who plan to travel far distances.

Plan Your Route

I have never run out of gas, but I have come close more times than I care to admit. Considering how many gas stations there are, compared to charging stations, that range anxiety hits overdrive. However, if you plan your route with charging stations in mind, you will likely have a much easier time. Here are some additional considerations when planning your route:

  • Try to avoid or reduce uphill towing.
  • Try to avoid traffic to reduce the risk of wasting your range just sitting.
  • Consider the direction of the wind when picking a travel destination.

Stay Tiny and Light

People often feel compelled to buy the biggest trailers with conveniences that remind them of home. The day will come when EVs can feasibly handle this weight, but that day is not today. Stay lighter and smaller, so you can travel further and easier. That could mean picking a Woolly Bear or a TigerMoth over a Mantis Overland or Cricket Overland.

Consider a Hybrid

If none of the above work well for you, you can stick one foot in the water by towing with a hybrid vehicle. However, in my opinion, most hybrid tow vehicles don’t have exceptional MPGs that justify the cost. An excellent example is the Audi Q8, which has a 7,700 lbs towing capacity but gets almost the same MPG as my FJ Cruiser.

The Final Verdict

So, can you tow with an EV? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it will take a few more years before infrastructure and battery ranges reach a point where towing with an EV is feasible for everyday Americans. However, seasoned EV drivers will likely adjust to towing with ease.

I’m no seasoned EV driver. But, in the meantime, I’ve got my eyes on the Hummer EV. What about you?