Extendable trailer specs

Should you tow a heavy trailer with your electric vehicle?

When electric vehicles were first introduced, many people feared that they would not adequately replace the power of gasoline and diesel engines. However, with new EPA regulations and stricter emissions laws, the days of burnt fumes and MCIs are limited.

As more automakers launch electric vehicles, will they perform as well as traditional gas-powered vehicles?

Vehicles capable of towing and their capacities

A heavy trailer may weigh differently depending on what you are hauling, but what is certain is that you will not be towing heavy equipment. Despite the common misconception, people don’t need trucks to tow. Most electric SUVs on the market today are capable of towing around 5,000 lbs. That’s respectable weight for most SUVs and enough to justify the towing effort with an electric vehicle.

Vehicle towing capacities are determined by the following formula: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) minus vehicle curb weight = towing capacity. GVWR refers to the maximum weight your vehicle can safely carry, and curb weight is the weight of your car.

Another way to find your vehicle’s towing capacity is to check your owner’s manual. One thing to note, however, is something that is often overlooked when towing: the ability to stop. When your car was designed, it was designed to stop the weight of your car, not 2,000 extra pounds.

Concept vehicles like the Tesla Cybertruck advertised a base towing capacity of 7,500 lbs, or a whopping 14,000 lbs towing capacity, depending on its battery. That’s a very respectable figure, even for a gas-powered vehicle. Below is a list of common electric vehicles and their towing capacities.

  • Tesla Model X: 5,000 lbs.
  • Audi E-Tron: 4,000 lbs.
  • Tesla Model Y: 3,500 lbs.
  • Nissan Leaf: 1,500 lbs.

How to Select a Trailer Hitch

Towing with an electric vehicle is no different than towing with a traditional gas-powered vehicle. You need the proper equipment to ensure the safety of those around you and yourselves.

Tools you need:

  • Appropriate class hitch
  • Extended mirrors
  • Lightweight Harness Kit
  • Welding kit (optional)

It’s important to have enough weight on the tongue of the hitch to keep your vehicle from rocking on the highway when towing. This is achieved by shifting the weight of your trailer to the front half of its axles, adding more weight to the vehicle’s tongue and aiding overall weight distribution. There are weight distribution hitches designed specifically for this purpose to make it easier and safer. Depending on the amount of towing, you will need an upgraded hitch. These are differentiated by classes one through five.

  • Class 1 trailer hitches are best for cargo beds or hitch-mounted bike racks. These will usually be paired with smaller sedans, as both capacities are capped at 2000 lbs.
  • Alternatively, Class 2 hitches are slightly heavier and can be found on sedans and SUVs. These types of tie downs are rated for 3500 lbs and are suitable for boats and small campers.
  • Finally, Class 3 trailer hitches are best for towing boats, RVs, and trailers. These are typically rated at over 5000 lbs, which is typically the highest towing capacity of any EV on the market today. Anything above Class 3 is not only not recommended but generally not supported by your vehicle’s chassis.

Should you tow a heavy trailer with an electric vehicle?

As the saying goes, there is a time and a place for everything. Towing with electric vehicles is not yet very popular, although with increased support for sustainable vehicles and more charging stations, the future may tell a different story. The extra weight translates to reduced range and efficiency.

For the average person, heavy duty towing will be at most a cargo trailer, which can be towed enough by your EV SUV. Plus, even the smallest sedans are capable of hauling things that can’t fit in their cabin with a trailer. So could you tow heavy with an EV?

Absolutely. But should you?

Although it can be difficult, with proper planning of pit stops to charge your electric vehicle and with the right tow hook and weight balance, you can make it happen.

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