VW ID.4 electric car towing

Electric cars as towing vehicles

Caravans or garden waste: cars with an electric powertrain can pull trailers, too.

Caravans or garden waste: cars with an electric powertrain can pull trailers, too.

Find out more about electric cars with a trailer hitch here:

  • Manufacturers determine the maximum towing capacity individually for each model.
  • Regular charging stops need to be planned for journeys with a heavy trailer.
  • A French start-up is developing mobile battery trailers for electric cars so that the range can be extended if necessary.

More and more electric cars are coming onto the market that and are factory-fitted with a tow hitch or can be retrofitted with one. However, the heavier the hooked-up trailer, the more rapidly the vehicle’s range will shrink. But this doesn't mean that camping enthusiasts can't enjoy a summer holiday in their caravan. We explain what drivers of electric towing vehicles need to look out for.

How heavy can it be?

The manufacturer specifies the maximum load a car may pull, and this information can be found in the vehicle logbook. An optional tow hitch is available for the ID.4 and ID.5, and Volkswagen specifies a maximum unbraked towing capacity of 750 kilogrammes for them. This will be quite sufficient if all you want to do is drive your garden waste to the nearest recycling centre. If the trailer has an independent braking system, as much as 1,000 kilogrammes can be hooked up to the electric SUV. The ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX are also available with an electric folding tow hitch. And thanks to the dual-motor all-wheel drive, the latter is also designed for loads of up to 1,400 kilogrammes.

How far can electric campers drive?

Several factors influence exactly when the battery of a towing vehicle will reach its limits. The fact that, when towing, you can only drive a maximum of 60mph – or up to 70mph on a motorway – initially has a positive effect on your range.After all, an electric car's consumption rises exponentially at higher speeds. Of course, we shouldn't forget the braking effect a towed caravan will have, either. The heavier the towed load and the higher it protrudes above the towing vehicle and therefore the greater the air resistance, the sooner you will have to stop and charge.

That's why electric cars towing caravans have to head for public charging points on longer trips. All over the U.K., the infrastructure is already so far developed that you won’t be left high and dry on your travels. These days, even campsites are prepared for electric cars. With its We Connect ID. app, Volkswagen helps you plan your route at your convenience. With this free app, you can view the vehicle's predicted range, find charging points and send destinations to the vehicle even before you set off.

A caravan setup in a park
A caravan holiday is also possible in an electric car. (Image: Adobe Stock)

Trailers for travelling without charging stops

A revolutionary kind of trailer attached to an electric car could provide another practical benefit in future. French start-up EP Tender has developed a trailer that carries an external battery and uses it to supply the electric car with power along the way. With it, depending on the model, you could gain another 186 miless of range without a charging stop . The company aims to offer these trailers for hire from 2022. As another special feature, these small but useful additions hook themselves up to the electric car – no manpower needed.

Alternative electric models with tow hitch

Electric cars make powerful towing vehicles. However, with a heavy load, you should still plan more time for travelling to and from your next camping destination. Plug-in hybrids could be the solution for those who have a few doubts. Their engine combines the advantages of a combustion engine with the benefits of an electric powertrain and, depending on the permitted towing capacity, will also pull a large caravan to the holiday destination of your choosing.

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