Caravanners being ‘forgotten’ in electric car push

Many EVs struggle to deliver a good amount of range when hooked up to a caravan.

Electric tow car tests
Electric tow car tests

Caravan owners who use their cars to tow are being left behind in the drive to move to electric vehicles.

That’s according to Whatcar who, with The Camping and Caravanning Club, has tested eight of the latest electric cars to see how their ranges compare when driven with or without a caravan attached.

The best performing car – the BMW i4 – managed 113 miles when towing a caravan weighted to 85 per cent of the car’s kerb weight, while the worst was the BMW iX, which returned 78.1 miles despite a claimed total range of 198 miles. The average drop in range compared with when a caravan wasn’t attached – on the same test route and in the same conditions – was 54.6 per cent.

In contrast, a petrol or diesel car will see their fuel economy drop by around a third when towing, which means that EV owners looking to take a caravan will have to stop more frequently.

Whatcar found that none of the motorway services run by the three main operators in the UK had the facilities to allow a caravanner to charge up an EV without unhitching first.

Towing cars
Whatcar tested a variety of cars in its latest tow awards

Moto said it was unable to comment, and Welcome Break didn’t respond to the enquiries on its future charging infrastructure plans. However, a spokesman for Roadchef said: “While supporting cars and vans is our current priority, we are actively consulting with caravan forums to determine their needs around electric car charging. We aim to facilitate towing EVs well ahead of any bans on petrol and diesel models in the UK.”

The best electric car to come out of the test was the Kia EV6 fitted with a 77.4kWh battery, which brings a range of up to 232 miles, though tests saw it manage 101 miles when towing. It was handed the award for the best electric tow car.

Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor, said: “Electric car ranges have improved massively over the last decade, but towing is always going to reduce how far you can go on a charge, so it’s crucial that the infrastructure is in place to support those who use their cars to pull a caravan or trailer. At the moment their needs feel like an afterthought, even though the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK is just eight years away.”

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