Like it or not (and we hope you like it!) electric vehicles are the future. If you love the outdoors, love to camp, and have (or are considering getting) an electric vehicle for your camper, read on.
Can You Even Tow a Camper with an EV?
Why, yes you can! Towing capacity is not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing electric vehicles. However, many of them are very capable of towing small to medium-sized trailers. Actually, you’ll find that many EVs have comparable towing capacities to gas-powered vehicles.
This equates to a whole new set of possibilities for those who also want the benefits of lower fuel costs and zero tailpipe emissions that an EV provides. As this new generation of vehicles continues to grow and evolve, the towing capacities will grow as well. But for now, keep in mind that the added weight of towing a camper will increase the battery drain.
So Why Tow with an EV?
Well, for starters, it’s a great choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. Apart from gas-powered vehicles, an EV does not have an engine that relies on internal combustion, so running an EV will not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions or the smog that plagues our larger communities.
Another surprising benefit of an EV is that you’ll have additional storage space that your camper may not have. There is no moving parts or conventional engine, leaving more room for a few extra items.
What to Look for in an EV
Whether you are looking to buy or already own an EV, here is what you should pay attention to:
Towing capacity – this is the most important spec to know when shopping for an EV to pull a camper. The general formula for towing capacity is calculated as: the gross weight rating (GVWR) minus curb weight of the vehicle equals tow rating. This amount is the maximum weight you can safely tow. It is important not to exceed this amount, because not only will you be quickly draining the battery, it puts undue strain on the EV.
Payload – if the EV is a truck, the payload is another important factor to consider. The payload refers to the maximum weight you can carry in the bed of the truck. When you are towing a camper using an EV truck, you’ll need to consider ALL of the weight it will be hauling – not just the trailer or camper alone. This is even more critical for fifth-wheel hitches, which put more strain on the bed of the truck.
Unladen Vehicle Weight (UVW) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating are two spec types to always keep in mind. These two weights together make up how much the camper itself weighs (when empty) and how much it weighs when stuff is stored in it (including people). No matter how much you haul, the weight needs to be below the GVWR.
What are the Best Electric Cars for Camping?
Whatever EV you end up with, you want to check the specific towing capacity – you can expect most SUVs to have 5,000 pounds of TC. However, some SUV models that offer a bit more are the 2021 Infinity QX80, which offers 8,500 pounds of TC. Additionally, the 2021 Ford Expedition offers 9,300 pounds of maximum TC.
And for the outdoor adventurer who requires even more weight for their gear and equipment, an electric truck may be your best bet, such as the Ford F150 Lightning. This model provides a whopping 10,000 pounds of towing capacity!