Can Electric Vehicles Tow: A Truthful Guide
Steve Birkett is an electric vehicle advocate based in Greater Boston, Massachusetts. He is a content creator and marketing professional who contributes written and recorded pieces to a wide range of media outlets. His analysis has been featured in Find The Best Car Price, WWLP TV, and Torque News, among others. He has also had video content featured on Inside EVs. Birkett was an EV Guide for Plug in America events in Massachusetts (Drive Electric Cambridge and Drive Electric Lowell) and Ohio (Earth Day 2019 at Cleveland Zoo). He participates in quarterly advisory panel meetings for EVolve New York (a state-level charging initiative) and has contributed to focus groups for prominent U.S. charging networks.
Birkett is a father-of-two who loves nothing more than packing up the family and hitting the road in their latest electric car, which is currently a 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5. With multiple Chevy Bolts in his past, as well as a Chevy Volt and Tesla Model 3 LR in the extended family, plus various EV rentals when he ventures back home to his native United Kingdom, Birkett has more than 100,000 all-electric miles under his belt and is always ready to try out a new electric vehicle.
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Yes, EVs can tow, but there are some limitations to be aware of.
With more and more new all-electric models on the market every year, the range of electric vehicles that can tow continues to expand. This spans affordable crossovers such as the Volkswagen ID.4, which has an official towing rating of 2,700 lbs, all the way up to electric trucks like the Rivian R1T, which can tow up to 11,000 lbs, and the Ford F150 Lightning, which comes in at 10,000 lbs of towing capacity.
The primary concern when towing with an electric vehicle is the associated reduction in driving range.
For example, the aforementioned Ford F150 Lightning is an all-electric pickup truck rated for 320 miles of EPA range on a charge in normal driving. However, when hooked up to a significant load to tow, that number can be cut in half.
EV charging stations also tend to be more like parking lot spaces than pull-through spaces common at most gas stations. This can make recharging an EV that is towing somewhat inconvenient, when awkward parking or having to unhitch the load are required at many charging stops.
In summary, electric vehicles can undeniably tow even heavy loads, but the impact on range and current limits of charging infrastructure make long-distance hauling more of a challenge than towing with a traditional combustion engine vehicle.