From the September 2022 situation of Automobile and Driver.
Final yr, at our inaugural EV of the Yr occasion, there wasn’t a single car that might tow greater than 5000 kilos. There are actually three such entries: the GMC Hummer EV (7500-pound towing capability), Ford F-150 Lightning (10,000-pound max), and Rivian R1T (11,000 kilos). To judge this rising electric-towing phenomenon, we hitched every to the identical load, a 29-foot camper that weighs 6100 kilos, the form of trailer a household of 4 may tackle the quintessential summer time getaway.
We ran all three vans on the identical 85-degree summer time day on the identical flat freeway loop at 70 mph. Apart from the marginally decrease velocity, which is prudent when piloting between 13,000 and 16,000 kilos of truck and trailer, we performed this the identical approach we run our 75-mph highway-range checks, with the automated local weather management set to 72 levels and working as many miles as we dared earlier than the battery’s state of cost turned dire.
These new electrical pickups are fantastic towing companions, aided by huge horsepower and torque that permit for simple merging with the move of interstate site visitors, and their heavy curb weights (between 6855 kilos for the F-150 and 9640 kilos for the Hummer) lend a powerful stability when lugging a three-ton trailer. However you will not need to be going far, as a full battery will take you a mere 100 miles within the Lightning, 110 miles within the R1T, and 140 miles within the Hummer. Though the Hummer consumes electrical energy on the highest charge of the three, its significantly bigger battery pack greater than makes up for the distinction. (As with unladen vary, every determine is rounded all the way down to the closest 10-mile increment right here.)
There are just a few quirks. EVs can generally be fickle to high off; the Lightning was set to cost all the way in which however as a substitute stopped at 94 p.c. Nevertheless, even boosting its consequence by the lacking 6 p.c does not propel it previous the subsequent 10-mile increment. Adaptive cruise is out there whereas towing within the Hummer and the Lightning, however not hands-free Tremendous Cruise or BlueCruise, whereas the Rivian will not permit the usage of adaptive cruise management in any respect. All of those vans have built-in trailer-brake controllers, however none is out there with bigger towing mirrors that may enhance visibility at the price of a bit extra aero drag.
The Rivian’s larger degree of regenerative braking is useful in slowing a trailer, whereas the Lightning disables one-pedal drive mode when towing. Choosing Tow mode within the R1T immediately slices its predicted vary roughly in half, then adjusts from there based mostly on real-time consumption; the Lightning made a large downward leap between the primary 5 and 10 miles, from 288 miles predicted to 96; the Hummer’s range-prediction algorithm did the equal of placing its fingers in its ears and yelling “na-na-na,” refusing to regulate downward regardless of dropping a mean of 12 miles of predicted vary for each 5 traveled.
The vary for all three vans when towing was lower than half so far as when cruising calmly loaded at 75 mph. However the Hummer fared finest, we suspect attributable to its punching the biggest gap within the air to start with—and the Rivian, which fared worst, the smallest—and due to this fact being comparatively much less affected by the blocky trailer.
The physics aren’t totally different from towing with an internal-combustion pickup; in each instances the vary will probably be sliced roughly in half. However within the case of those EVs, that decreased determine might be barely three digits. And low-battery warnings begin in at roughly 50 miles to empty, when the battery pack continues to be almost half full. Even should you’re accepting of the prolonged recharging stops—which will probably be even longer because of the must cost the battery additional than when touring unladen—most highway-adjacent charging does not permit pull-through entry. And disconnecting a trailer—particularly one like this with a weight-distributing hitch—each couple of hours is a serious trouble.