Electric cars and towing: what you need to know

If you’re considering making the switch to an electric car, but still want to get away for the weekend in your caravan, then read on for all you need to know about towing with an EV.

Can I tow a caravan with my EV?

While there are electric cars on the market which can tow, not all EVs will be able to haul your caravan.

In order to be approved for towing, manufacturers will determine the weight limits that the car can pull, through a process called homologation. The extra effort of pulling a trailer can drastically reduce the range of an EV, which doesn’t do much for the stigma that surrounds electric cars.

As a result, a lot of manufacturers won’t homologate their EVs for towing. Some larger electric SUVs can tow, but smaller hatchbacks such as the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 aren’t deemed suitable for hauling trailers or anything else.

Towing could also impact an EV’s regenerative braking system. This converts kinetic energy from slowing down into electricity for the batteries. The added weight of a caravan could produce too much kinetic energy and overwhelm the electrical system.

The two key figures you want to look for when choosing a tow car are maximum braked trailer weight, and maximum unbraked trailer weight. If a model doesn’t have these figures published, the chances are it’s not approved for towing.

For more information on towing a caravan, visit the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s website.

What is towing capacity?

The towing capacity of a car is the maximum weight that it can legally and safely tow. All trailers or caravans will also have a maximum authorised mass (MAM). The MAM is the maximum weight the trailer or caravan can be when fully loaded, including the trailer itself.

Cars that are approved for towing will have maximum braked, and unbraked trailer weights. It’s worth noting that if the trailer or caravan weighs more than 750kg or more than half the kerb weight of the car, it must have be braked. Braked caravans and trailers have systems that react to the inertia of the slowing car, proportionally and automatically applying their brakes when the tow vehicle loses speed.

It’s also important to note that the car’s maximum towing capacity will include the weight of the trailer or caravan itself, so you’ll need to take this into consideration.

If your driving licence was issued on or after January 1997, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg. Drivers who passed their test before that date can tow a combined vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of up to 8,250kg.

To find out more about what you can drive on your licence, check out our handy guide.

Which electric cars can tow?

  1. BMW iX: 2,500kg
  2. Mercedes EQC: 1,800kg
  3. Hyundai Ioniq 5: 1,600kg
  4. Kia EV6: 1,600kg
  5. Polestar 2: 1,500kg
  6. Skoda Enyaq: 1,000kg (RWD) 1,200kg (AWD)
  7. Tesla Model 3: 1,000kg
  8. Volkswagen ID 4: 998kg
  9. Jaguar I-Pace: 750kg
  10. BMW iX3: 750kg