Range test: How far can electric cars go when towing?

Ever wondered how much of a difference towing a caravan makes to an electric car’s range? Well, we put that to the test as part of the What Car? Tow Car Awards...

Tow Car Awards electric cars being tested

Range anxiety is a common barrier to switching to an electric car. However, it’s even more pertinent when towing.

Not only will the distance you can travel between charges be reduced, but recharging on route becomes a lot more complicated, given that none of the motorway services run by the three main operators in the UK currently allow caravanners to charge without first unhitching.

So, just how much of a difference does towing make to an electric car's range? Well, as part of the testing for the What Car? Tow Car Awards, held in partnership with the Camping and Caravanning Club, we range tested eight electric cars with and without a caravan.

Tow Car Awards 2022 - BMW i4 front

Each performed the same route at our test track, which included a series of stops and starts, as well as driving at a variety of speeds.

We then used the rate of energy consumption and the distance covered to calculate the total range, based on the vehicle’s usable battery capacity.

The best performer was the BMW i4, which managed 113 miles while towing a caravan weighted to 85% of the car’s kerb weight (the maximum recommended), while at the other end of the scale, the BMW iX managed just 78.1 miles.

Tow Car Awards 2022 - BMW iX front

We also tried the iX with a smaller caravan – weighing 1300kg rather than the 1900kg of the 85% match – with this increasing the range by some 27%, although it was still less than 100 miles.

When towing a caravan weighted to 85% of the car's kerb weight, the average drop compared with the range without a caravan was 54.6%. By comparison, you can expect the fuel economy in a petrol or diesel car to drop by around a third when towing.

Model Variant Solo range (miles) Towing miles (range) Shortfall
BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport 258.2 113.0 56.2%
Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD 262.5 112.5 57.1%
Skoda Enyaq iV 80x Sportline 231.0 107.8 53.3%
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 223.3 107.8 51.7%
Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Pro Pure Electric 202.5 105.0 48.1%
Kia EV6 77.4kWh GT Line AWD 232.0 101.5 56.3%
Hyundai Ioniq 5 73kWh RWD Ultimate 210.0 98.0 53.3%
BMW iX xDrive40 M Sport 198.8 78.1 60.7%

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