How much weight can an electric car tow?
Most people who drive or co-drive an electric car for the first time are particularly surprised by its rapid acceleration. This is because an electric motor is more powerful than a typical gasoline engine and also delivers its maximum pulling power right from standstill. An internal combustion engine is slower to respond and must first rev up to reach maximum performance, while also requiring multiple gear changes to stay in the ideal rpm range.
Electric car ideal for towing
The properties of an electric motor come in very handy when towing a trailer. Still, it is not a given that an electric car may tow a (heavy) trailer. There’s a whole slew of models that are not even allowed to pull a cart at all, according to the factory specifications. Often these are the somewhat smaller and older models.
Why no towing weight?
This is often because approval was simply not sought by the manufacturer. At a time when the electric car is still in development and all attention is focused on increasing range and reducing cost, towing weight has little priority. In addition, as a car manufacturer you don’t want to make a muddle if the battery runs out in no time when driving with a trailer.
Many other electric models are approved, but for a towing weight of at most 500 or 750 kg. Not only to protect the range, but perhaps also because the costly, electric drive system cannot withstand prolonged, heavy loading.
Example gasoline versus electric
Below is the difference in towing weight of three existing models you can buy with a gasoline engine or with electric drive.
– Volkswagen (e-)Golf
The electric Volkswagen e-Golf (model year 2017-2020) with 136 hp and 290 Nm of towing power is not allowed to tow a trailer. The Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI with 130 hp and 200 Nm, practically the same car but with a gasoline engine, can tow 1,400 kg.
– Peugeot (e-)2008
The electric Peugeot e-2008 with 136 hp and 260 Nm may not tow a trailer. Its gasoline brother, the Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech with a 130 hp and 230 Nm, can tow 1,200 kg.
– BMW (i)X3
The electric BMW iX3 with 286 hp and 400 Nm of pulling power is allowed to tow up to 750 kg, according to the manufacturer’s specification. The entry-level version of its gasoline brother, the BMW X3 xDrive20i with 184 hp and 300 Nm, can tow as much as 2,400 kg.
Now it’s suddenly going fast
However, since the beginning of this decade, you can see that the supply of electric cars with a decent towing weight is increasing substantially, accompanied by the rapid development of battery technology. The latest models are getting further and further along, can load faster and faster, and are becoming more robust. Manufacturers are increasingly confident in their electric cars and do now take the trouble to get them approved as tow vehicles.
The number of electric cars with a towing weight of more than 750 kg has increased significantly in a short period of time. A large proportion of these are at a maximum towing weight of 1,000 kg. For many owners of a four-person caravan, that may be too little. Fortunately, there is also a wide selection of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,200 kg or more. Only then you are soon at an amount of at least 50,000 euros. With that, an electric car with a high towing weight is still far from being affordable for everyone.
‘Towing car of the year’ is electric
The ultimate proof that electric cars are ideal tow vehicles when approved by the manufacturer was provided by the Hyundai IONIQ 5. It was named “Towing Car of the Year” by the ANWB in June 2022. In fact, the judges found it to be “one of the best tow cars we’ve ever driven.”
In addition to the ease and agility with which the IONIQ 5 pulls a caravan away, its good performance is also due to the car’s high weight and low center of gravity (because of the lousy battery in the floor). Partly because of this, the stability of the car with caravan is “unsurpassed“. Furthermore, the IONIQ 5 offers a generous range, the battery can be recharged super fast and the car already takes the weight of the caravan into account when determining the range. All things that are very pleasant during the drive to your vacation destination.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 that ANWB tested for the Towing Car of the Year election was equipped with the 77.4 kWh battery pack and all-wheel drive (AWD). This version has power and torque of 306 hp and 605 Nm, a range of 460 kilometers, a towing weight of 1,600 kg and a new price starting at 57,000 euros.
Pay attention to the range
Electric cars are thus ideal tow vehicles, and the number of electric cars with high towing capacities is rapidly increasing. But there are a few things to consider when choosing an electric car. Keep in mind that an electric car uses 30 to 50% more energy when towing a trailer. That means you can drive 30 to 50% less distance than you normally would with a full battery.
Pay attention to the version of the car
With many electric cars, the maximum towing weight depends on the version. For example, the aforementioned Towing Car of the Year is allowed to tow 1,600 kg. However, the base version of the Hyundai IONIQ 5 with 58 kWh battery and front-wheel drive can only tow 750 kg. So make sure you choose the right version if the towing weight of the car is important.
Note the weight
Because of its huge battery, an electric car is already considerably heavier than a comparable gasoline car. As the batteries get bigger and bigger, the cars also get heavier. Even to the point where you might even need a BE driver’s license to bring a caravan.
Let’s take the popular Tesla Model X as an example. Although it is allowed to tow 2,250 kg, it itself weighs over 2,300 kg. Since the weight of the car and the caravan together may not exceed 3,500 kg, the caravan including cargo may not weigh more than 1,200 kg if you only hold a B driver’s license. Not only the Tesla Model X, but also models like the BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron weigh more than 2,250 kg.
Examples of electric cars that are not allowed to tow a trailer:
DS 3 Crossback E-Tense
Audi e-tron GT
Lexus UX 300e
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model 3 (through 2019)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 500 kg:
MG ZS EV
Renault Megane E-Tech electric (130 hp)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 750 kg:
Ford Mustang Mach-E (GT + 2WD)
Mercedes-Benz EQA 250(+)
MG Marvel R Electric
Kia Niro EV
Nissan Ariya (2WD)
Toyota bz4x (2WD)
Kia EV6 (58 kWh)
Lexus RZ 450e
Hyundai IONIQ 5 (58 kWh)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,000 kg:
Volkswagen ID.4 (Pro)
Volkswagen ID.5 (Pro)
Volkswagen ID Buzz
Skoda Enyaq (iV 60 + iV 80)
Tesla Model 3 (as of 2020)
Audi Q4 e-tron (35 + 40)
Ford Mustang Mach-E (AWD)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,200 kg:
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.5 GTX
Skoda Enyaq iV RS
Audi Q4 e-tron (45 + 50)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,500 kg:
Volvo XC40 Pure Electric
Volvo C40 Pure Electric
Nissan Ariya (AWD)
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,600 kg:
Hyundai IONIQ 5 (77.4 kWh)
Kia EV6 (77.4 kWh)
Tesla Model Y
Examples of electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 1,800 kg:
Kia EV6 GT
Mercedes-Benz EQA (AWD)
Volvo XC40 Twin Pure Electric
Volvo C40 Twin Pure Electric
Electric cars with a maximum towing weight of 2,000 kg or more:
BMW i7 (2,000 kg)
Tesla Model X (2,250 kg)
BMW iX (2,500 kg)
Examples towing weight electric commercial vehicles:
Opel Combo-e (750 kg)
Peugeot e-Partner (750 kg)
Citroen e-Berlingo (750 kg)
Toyota Proace City Electric (750 kg)
Ford e-Transit (750 kg)
Opel Vivaro-e (1,000 kg)
Peugeot e-Expert (1,000 kg)
Citroen e-Berlingo (1,000 kg)
Toyota Proace Electric (1,000 kg)
Maxus eDeliver 3 (1,300 kg)
Maxus eDeliver 9 (1,500 kg)
Renault Kangoo E-Tech electric (1,500 kg)
Nissan Townstar Electric (1,500 kg)