What is the Range of an EV towing a caravan?
Range anxiety is NOT the primary concern
If there is one question I get asked more than any other, it’s this one.
I’ve towed two different caravans thousands of miles over the course of six months with my Kia EV6, and the short answer is this:
Towing a regular caravan will halve the range of your EV.
Take the Kia EV6 as an example. The marketing blurb will tell you that its 77kWh battery will give you 328 miles of range. That’s fine if you want to drive with a feather for a right foot and end up with a totally dead battery. In the real world you’ll be achieving an average of 260-280 miles - about 3.6 miles per kWh.
Halve that, and you get 130-140 miles towing a caravan, which is pretty much spot on from my experience. You might want to reduce that a little more when planning your journey just in case you end up getting smacked by a killer headwind.
Does size matter?
My EV towing experience kicked off with a spacious 1500kg family caravan, and later I switched to a smaller 1100kg caravan, but with a similar traditional shape.
The effect on the energy consumption has been minimal. The smaller caravan improves the mi/kWh rating by about 10% over the larger caravan.
Over the coming year, it’s my intention to tow more aerodynamic trailers, such as the Eriba Touring, and also a folding camper. I’ve already received some kind offers from individuals, but sadly the insurance implications mean that I’ll need to borrow from dealers or manufacturers.
Energy consumption towing the 1100kg caravan with the Kia EV6 has varied wildly, from a miserable 1.7mi/kWh to an incredible 2.7mi/kWh, the latter being tucked in behind a lorry doing 55 mph on the super-smooth motorways of the Netherlands. Normally I get about 2-2.2mi/kWh towing, but as mentioned earlier, you need to plan for worst case scenario when considering charging stops.
Setting off with a full battery, it’s realistic to expect at least 125 miles from the Kia EV6 when towing a caravan, but occasionally I’ll wing it up to about 140 miles. Once you’ve stopped to charge the battery up to 80%, you can expect to continue a further 90 miles or so before needing to charge again.
Charging the car when towing is a whole different subject for another day, but suffice to say that it is not as seamless and stress-free as anyone would like.
From a full battery, it can take between two and a half to three hours on the road before you need to stop and charge, which is plenty long enough for anyone to go without a break from towing. From 80%, you need to be stopping every two hours or so. The EV6 battery can be topped up from about 25% to 80% in approximately 15 minutes at an ultra-rapid charger, which is barely long enough to pop to the loo, let alone make a cup of tea.
If charging were simple and stress-free, it would be realistic to cover more than 250 miles in a day. But with the precariousness of the charging experience in the UK, I’d recommend charging a maximum of twice in any one journey. The faff associated with two charging stops will be more than enough fun and entertainment for anyone to cope with within a 24 hour period. Realistically, that gives an EV6 driver a maximum of about 260 miles towing per day.
Range anxiety is not the issue
To sum up, range anxiety is not the issue. I need to break at the dictated intervals anyway.
The ability to charge simply and quickly on the road? That is the real cause of anxiety.
Would you agree? If you have experience in what I’ve talked about in this post, do please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you and it would help others, too.
Please subscribe to Electric Touring as I’ll be coming back to this subject in a later issue.
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mi/kWh - miles per kilowatt hour, the consumption values for a UK EV.
Gridserve - one of the more progressive UK charging network providers
Seems that one of the challenges for the EV towing is the need to unhook and perhaps the need to move from caravan park area to charge area. What pressures can be brought to bear to encourage tow friendly charge stations particularly at service stations on major routes?
I’m just here for the info 🙂