• An Audi e-tron EV SUV towing a trailer

Can Electric Vehicles Tow?

As interest in electric vehicles grows, more and more manufacturers are providing information to help car buyers learn about purchasing and owning an EV (tip: view our list of electric vehicles in New Zealand as well as Audi’s electric vehicles). Typically this includes vehicle range, charging times, and more information specifically related to how to charge the car and how long it will run for.

One question that’s often overlooked is can you tow with an electric vehicle?

This is an important question for some potential EV owners, particularly those transitioning from a petrol or diesel SUV that has been their ‘do everything’ family vehicle. But it can be a delicate question, with the official tow rating provided by vehicle brands either missing, varying from country to country, or not being mentioned at all.

Video: Audi New Zealand take an Audi e-tron on a road trip from Auckland to Whangamata. 154km, 1750kg.

How can I find out if an EV has a tow rating?

The good news is that while some vehicle manufacturers are excluding this rating from their spec sheets – or even stating their electric vehicles as having zero tow rating – there are some electric vehicles on the market right now that have rated their vehicles for towing and are happy to include this information in the spec sheets.

You’ll typically find this information in the first section of a spec sheet table, or under a dedicated section for performance or weights and dimensions.

Should I trust an overseas tow rating?

The short answer is no. If a manufacturer’s website in another country provides a tow rating but the New Zealand version of that website doesn’t, then you’re best to check with your local dealer before making any decisions. Vehicle specifications can vary between countries and it’s possible that these specifications affect the tow rating. The tow rating testing and certifications themselves could also vary between markets.

Audi e-tron EV SUV towing a trailer

Is there anything else I should know about towing with an EV?

Once you’ve confirmed that your EV is rated for towing and you know exactly how much it can tow, an important factor to consider is that towing will reduce your vehicle’s range (something that would, of course, also affect the range of a petrol or diesel powered vehicle). As the resulting reduction in range will vary depending on the weight that you’re towing, speed, road surfaces, wind, and more, there are no real figures for exactly how much the range will be affected.

Having said that, some manufacturers and independent third parties have carried out their own tests to try and get an idea of the range reduction. One example is CleanTechnica who found that the range of an Audi e-tron they tested reduced by about one third when towing a caravan. Elsewhere, Audi USA tested an Audi e-tron by towing a 4,000lb trailer (1,814kg) for 500 miles in rain, stopping at charging points along the way. Here’s the report on Green Car Reports as well as the official press release from Audi USA.

Of course, in both of these examples please do note that results can vary. For any electric vehicle, check the specsheet and speak to the professionals at your local dealer.

Which electric vehicles at Archibalds have tow ratings?

Archibalds is an official representative of a range of vehicles in New Zealand. This includes brands like Audi, and we’re delighted to let you know that the Audi e-tron EV SUV does indeed have an official tow rating.

The Audi e-tron electric SUV’s tow rating is 1,800kg braked and 750kg unbraked. This is the trailer load limit on a 12% gradient. This figure applies to the e-tron 55 variants as well as the e-tron S Sportback.

As interest in electric cars grows internationally, we’re expecting to see EV technology improve even further, and we’re hearing of a few upcoming models amongst our brands which will also have tow ratings once launched in New Zealand. Watch this space!

Be sure to contact us if you have any questions, or check out the electric vehicles from our range.

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