John Sootheran delivers the ultimate guide to towing with an electric vehicle (EV)

Love ’em or hate ’em, EV’s are here to stay, whether that’s a Tesla model or from one of the legacy brands we all know and love.

You’ll see a dozen reasons online why battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) don’t or won’t work. Though I’m sure 99% of the naysayers have never driven one.

I’m a confirmed petrolhead, having worked on two of the world’s biggest and best automotive magazines, and I’ve driven everything from a Lada to a Lamborghini. My message is ‘be open-minded’… because that’s what it took to go from ubiquitous ‘horse-power’ to the internal combustion engine, 120 years ago.

The quick answer to the headline question is a resounding ‘YES’! But that response has several caveats, which we’ll explore in this Q&A article.

Hang on, hasn’t the 2030 petrol and diesel combustion-engine ban already been cancelled?

No, the ban has been pushed back to 2035. That said, manufacturers still have to hit a 2030 target of 80% of their new cars and 70% of new vans being zero-emissions. By 2035, that number is 100%.

Does that mean I won’t be able to tow a caravan after 2035?

Not at all. Petrol and diesel cars are likely to be available to buy new, right up to the 2035 deadline – although ‌prices could rocket as the supply drops significantly.

Of course, pre-owned internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will still be available after that date, and well-maintained ones could last for decades. However, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether there will still be petrol stations on every corner come 2035.

Electric vehicles and alternatively-fuelled vehicles are expected to make up the vast majority of car sales by 2035. It’s likely that these will make excellent tow vehicles, as they are already well on the way to achieving that goal. In fact, today’s electric cars and vans are well suited to towing in many ways.

So, EVs can tow a caravan, then?

Volvo EV - Credit CAMC
Volvo EV – Credit CAMC

Yes, they can. In reality, several characteristics of EVs make them ideal for towing, but a couple don’t. Let’s look at the positives first.

  • Towing weights – EVs are heavy thanks to the large, dense batteries required to store all that power. A biggish electric car, like VW’s SUV-style ID.5, which is just 6cm longer than a VW Tiguan, weighs 2.65 tonnes, which is more than most Range Rovers! This extra mass completely outweighs every caravan, which is another bonus when towing. It puts the towcar in complete control of any van.
  • Towing stability – Much of this weight is low-down in the chassis. This creates a low centre of gravity and an exceptionally stable towing platform.
  • Towing torque – Electric motors deliver big torque (pulling power), and they do it from zero rpm. This means, whether you’re pulling away from a junction, or accelerating onto a motorway, you have a huge amount of towing power to get up to speed quickly (and safely). Turbo diesel engines have a lot of torque from low down (around 1500rpm), but they can’t compete with an EV, and petrol cars are even further behind, as their power is developed much higher up the rev range, which means delayed acceleration.
  • Regenerative braking – EVs have the option to use the energy from decelerating and braking to recharge their batteries. In a car like the VW ID.5, and many others, this manifests itself as an automated braking effect when you lift the accelerator. Drivers soon get used to this, and it makes driving much easier, as you often don’t need to brake at all! Anecdotally, you should also save money by not having to replace brake pads so often.
  • Towing speeds – By towing at a sensible A-road speed of up to 60mph, you will maximise your EV battery power.

The negative aspects of towing with an EV

Not all cars are designed to tow! Credit - Meta_ Facebook
Not all cars are designed to tow! Credit – Meta_ Facebook

There are plenty of crucial advantages to towing a caravan with an EV, but there are a few negatives, too, which may shape your decision-making.

  • EV tow car choice – While the choice of EVs is growing pretty quickly, the number of potential tow cars is still quite limited. That said, you should be able to find something to suit your towing needs, and, with many more models coming on-stream in the next couple of years, that situation will only improve.
    Of course, the selection of used EVs coming onto the market is still limited, which may mean that buying a new EV is the only option. New EVs are expensive and typically come at a £10,000 premium to their ICE equivalents.
  • EV battery life – EV battery longevity is a worry for many drivers who are considering buying an electric vehicle. Scare stories suggest that the expensive batteries in EVs don’t last long. However, as more data is gathered from the first electric cars to hit the road, it seems that they have very long lives of between 10 and 20 years, and up to 200,000 miles. At the point they are no longer viable, the components of the batteries can be recycled. If a battery were to fail earlier in its lifecycle, it would likely still be under warranty from the manufacturer.
  • EV towing range – Driving solo, a typical EV has a range of 150 to 300 miles. However, hitch a tonne or more of caravan behind and that range drops substantially. In tests, an EV towing a lightweight (995kg) tourer lost around 45-50% of its range. It went from doing 3.6 miles per kWh solo, to 2.0 miles per kWh with a caravan hitched. Of course, an EV with a large battery giving a solo range of 300 miles, something like the VW ID.5, should still manage a reasonable 150 miles when hitched. However, a smaller MG4 EV with a range of up to 200 miles, may only manage 120 miles when towing. While these ranges aren’t disastrous, they do add the need for a recharge to many longer trips. This adds its own complications, as it’s likely you’ll have to unhitch your caravan and park it somewhere safe for the hour that your EV is on charge, as there is not enough room in most charging bays.
  • Towing in winter – Cold weather affects EV performance, as lithium-ion batteries lose a significant proportion of their output in temperatures below freezing (0°C or 32°F). This figure is estimated at 20% at 0°C, and 40% at minus 5.5°C. Naturally, this can make EV towing unviable in winter conditions. EV batteries may also charge more slowly in cold weather. On the plus side, modern EVs often have cooling and heating systems built into their Li-On cells to maintain their perfect operating temperatures.


EV battery capacity explained

Electric vehicle batteries come in various sizes, and the bigger the battery, the more range it will provide for a vehicle of that size and type. EV battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), which reveals the amount of charge they can store. Here are some popular EV cars and their average battery capacities.

  • Peugeot e-3008 Long range – 98kWh
  • Kia EV9 – 96kWh
  • Tesla Model S Dual Motor – 95kWh
  • Polestar 3 Long Range Dual Motor – 107kWh
  • Volvo EX90 Twin Motor – 107kWh
  • Mercedes EQE SUV – 90.6kWh
  • BMW i4 – 80.7kWh
  • WW ID.3 Pro – 77kWh (most VAG EVs have this capacity)
  • Škoda Enyaq – 77kWh
  • Hyundai Ioniq range – 74kWh
  • Kia Niro EV – 64.8kWh

Data from ev-database.org

How to tow a caravan with an EV?

The principles of safe and efficient towing are the same for EVs as for internal combustion-engined (ICE) vehicles.

However, when towing long distances with an EV, you’ll need to plan your route carefully, allowing for charging stop(s) on the journey, and, if you’re sensible, selecting back-up charging options, just in case your first choice is full or out of order.

Likewise, you can plan ahead and use Google StreetView to identify safe places to park your caravan while you recharge your tow car.

What would be a five-minute fill-up in an ICE tow car could take an hour in an EV, but at least you can use the time to rest, have a coffee, walk the dog or stretch your legs.

Range anxiety may well be an issue when towing with an EV, so make sure you fully charge up before leaving home, and perhaps plan your recharge stop when you’ll have at least 50 miles of range remaining, bearing in mind that hilly or urban driving may seriously reduce your range.

Also remember that your range will drop drastically initially, as the car recalculates for the weight of the van. It should then settle down.

Charging on campsites

EV charging at Concierge Camping near Chichester

Some campsites have EV charging facilities, though high-speed chargers aren’t on the pitches, but in the car park or close to the office.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club allows on-pitch charging, but it must be done through the caravan and not directly from the hook-up post. This will be very slow charging and the cost is £9 per day. Better to use the 22kW or 7kW fast chargers offered by some sites. For example, the CAMC currently has 11 sites with tap-and-charge facilities.

W caravanclub.co.uk/uk-holidays/uk-sites/club-campsites/facilities-on-club-sites/electric-vehicle-charging/

If you use your caravan to charge your EV, it will of course limit the other current you can draw from the hook-up, without causing the circuit to trip. Charging an EV and running the heating or boiler, for example, is likely to overload the system.

Some EVs, including Teslas, can have their charging rate reduced using ‌touchscreen controls. Turning the current draw down from 10A to four or six amps may free up enough current to run other caravan facilities; however, it might be best to charge your EV at night or when you are away from the pitch.

Charging speeds
If you plug your EV into the standard mains at home, you can expect a charging time in excess of 12 hours, depending on your EV. Conversely, if you find a high-speed or superfast charging point, a full charge could take as little as 30 to 60 minutes.

Here’s a chart of typical charging-speed options at UK charging stations, plus how many miles an hour of charge will provide.

7kW up to 30 miles
22kW up to 90 miles
50kW up to 90 miles (in 30 minutes)
150kW up to 200 miles (in 30 minutes)

How do I find EV charging stations?

Use one of the charging station location apps, such as ZapMap. This app is free and delivers all the information you need for effective route planning and charging.

Fitting a towbar to an electric vehicle
All the major towbar manufacturers supply towbars with specific fitments for EVs, though not all cars are catered for or will take a towbar fitment.

Tom Miller, CEO at Tow-Trust Towbars Ltd, said: “Here at Tow-Trust, we produce bespoke towbars for EVs, and EVs are a big part of our development program for 2024 and beyond.

 “This year, we have successfully developed and launched Towbars for the Audi E-Tron, Skoda Enyaq, Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5, Mercedes’ EQA, EQT, EQC, EQV, and BMW’s iX3 and i4.

“I believe it has taken a while for vehicle manufacturers to get the towing capacity and battery life to sufficient levels for towing, but they are certainly well on their way with it.”

If you’re buying an EV with a view to towing with it, check whether the dealership will retro-fit a towbar, or if it needs to be on the factory order. Also, compare the prices of factory fitting (which can often be north of £1000), with bespoke, after-market fitments from the likes of Tow-Trust or Witter (UK).

I always recommend getting a fully-integrated, vehicle-specific electrical system fitted, as opposed to the by-pass systems that some suppliers recommend. While these may well be cheaper, it’s highly likely that they won’t integrate the car’s control systems entirely with the caravan.

In fact, in some cases, the car may not even know a caravan is being towed, so the lights, suspension and braking may not be automatically adapted and optimised.

What are the best electric tow cars for caravans?

Volkswagen ID.5 Style Pro Performance model has a 77kWh battery delivering a healthy 204PS (200bhp)









The following EVs have all performed well in tow car awards with the major clubs.

Kia EV6 Kerb weight 2090kg Max towing weight 1600kg Price £51,745
Volvo C40 Kerb weight 2185kg Max towing weight 1800kg Price £62,205
VW ID.Buzz Kerb weight 2117kg Max towing weight 1000kg Price £52,185
Nissan Ariya Kerb weight 2222kg Max towing weight 1500kg Price £55,602
VW ID.5 Kerb weight 2117kg Max towing weight 1000kg Price £52,185
Audi E-tron 55 Quattro Kerb weight 2565kg Max towing weight 1800kg Price £72,970
BMW iX xDrive 40 Kerb weight 2585kg Max towing weight 2500kg Price 77,695
Polestar 2 Long-Range Dual Motor Kerb weight 2198kg Max towing weight 1500kg Price £47,900
Škoda Enyaq iV 80 Kerb weight 2032kg Max towing weight 1000kg Price £40,970



Tow-Trust Towbars tow-trust.co.uk
MG mg.co.uk
Tesla tesla.com
VW volkswagen.co.uk


Choosing the right tow car can be tricky. Raymond James Caravans explains all the factors you should consider, to avoid the pitfalls and the potholes!

One of the great benefits of caravanning over motorhoming is that, when you get to your destination, you have your lovely car to tootle around in, not a huge, rattly van.

Easy to manoeuvre and park, a good tow car is the secret to successful caravanning, and in this article we’ll explain all the main factors you should consider when making your choice.
Buy wisely and your tow car can also be your sensible ‘main car’ for everyday use… that’s everything from trips to Tesco and the tip, to cross-country dashes to see the extended family or dropping the kids off at swimming/dance/football.

These days there are plenty of options that deliver all this versatility, along with comfort, performance and, dare I say, ‘status’!

How difficult can it be? Let’s crack on…

The Weight of Your Tow Car: Why it Matters?

Big caravans need big tow cars, like this hefty 2015 Volvo XC60

The weight of your car (in relation to your caravan) is‌ THE most important factor in your choice of tow car, as it’s not just about practicality, but also legality.

You should always aim to have a tow car that’s heavier than your caravan, otherwise you may encounter situations where the ‘tail is wagging the dog’ as an overweight caravan proves difficult for the car to control.

Both major caravanning clubs and the National Caravan Council agree that novice tow car drivers shouldn’t tow a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the kerbweight of the vehicle towing it. This percentage increases to 100% once the driver has gained some significant towing experience. This thinking is explained in detail in our Caravan Weights Guide.

Put simply, the MTPLM weight of the caravan (found on the weightplate by the caravan’s door), should never exceed the kerbweight of the tow car (found on a weighplate in one of the front door jambs). If it does, and you were pulled over, the Police could fine you and demand that weight is removed from your caravan before you proceed
This simple graph gives you some examples of the acceptable weight limits:

Minimum Towcar Kerbweights’ Guide

Caravan MTPLM Min Kerbweight Novice (85%) Min Kerbweight Experienced (100%)
750kg 882kg 750kg
1000kg 1176kg 1000kg
1250kg 1470kg 1250kg
1500kg 1764kg 1500kg
1750kg 2058kg 1750kg
2000kg 2352kg 2000kg

So, as a big caravan needs a big tow car, it’s worth remembering that your initial purchase cost may well be higher, as will your insurance and your fuel bills.

Also, you may have to drive a large car around everyday which could be costly and impractical. However, with our current predilection for big SUVs, it may not be an issue for many.

How Tow Car Size Impacts Your Journey?

It's important to match your tow car to your caravan!

As heavy cars tend to be big cars, you may well end up needing a bigger vehicle than you would ideally have chosen.

Of course, you may well need a large spacious car, especially if you have kids and pets, and like to tour long distances.

Only you can find the right balance between the practicalities of everyday driving

The Role of Engine Size in a Successful Caravanning Experience

The Polo SE 1.0 TSI makes an astonishingly accomplished tow car

These days, most sensible caravanners focus on economy and torque when choosing the engine in their tow car. Modern tech means that two-litre diesel engines offer the perfect mix of power, smoothness and economy for towing most caravans.

For a family caravan, I recommend choosing a family car to tow with at least 150bhp-plus and 400Nm (295lb/ft) of torque – that’s all the power you need for speedy getaways, while the engine will be sitting in its powerband for efficient and quiet motorway cruising.

For the frugal, eco-friendly caravanner VW’s 1.0 TSI petrol engine is an absolute gem, especially when popped in a Polo. It’s power delivery and smoothness blew me away, and it’s only three cylinders!

Body Style: A Key Factor in Choosing the Ideal Tow Car

Saloon cars, like this Polestar make excellent towcars. In this electric car, the heavy battery results in a high kerbweight

Caravanners tend to be practical people, so most commonly you’ll see them in estate cars, SUVs and even pick-ups, not just because of the weight, but also because of the ease of transporting lots of people in comfort, with lots of stuff.

I’m a big estate car fan, as I feel you get all the handling and performance benefits, and the fuel economy, of a road car, along with lots of storage space and versatility.

That said, many bigger SUVs have large boot spaces that are ideal for luggage or pets, while most saloon cars have vast boot spaces these days. Both also include the option to fold down the rear seats in a 60/40 split configuration.

Pick-up trucks, like Nissan’s Navara, Toyota’s Hilux and VW’s Amarok have become much more refined in recent years and make excellent tow cars, especially if you have one of the large, luxury caravans like the Buccaneer Barracuda, with its MTPLM of 1990kg.

Of course, pick-ups are also perfect for outdoor sports lovers, as you can easily throw mountain bikes, camping kit or fishing gear in the back, for a quick activity break.

Petrol, Diesel or Electric/Hybrid? Which Fuels Your Caravan Adventure Best?

Diesel engines are low-revving and ideal for towing. A petrol engine would be doing at least 1000rpm more at 60mph

Not many years back, the ideal power delivery for caravanning came from turbo-diesel engines, with their oodles of low-down torque, excellent efficiency and (back then) low-CO2, green credentials.

In recent times, the cat has been thrown well and truly amongst the pigeons, as diesels are now deemed planet killers and electric/plug in hybrid vehicles have become disruptors within the sector.

The basic requirements for a good tow car haven’t changed though, we all want plenty of torque at low revs for those nippy junction getaways, and we want fuel efficiency. If we also achieve low noise levels and smooth power delivery, they’re a bonus.

Modern diesels still do all this, but so do good petrol engines, even though their power-bands are much higher in the rev range.

I’ve driven perhaps 200 outfits on the road and in awards testing, and the only truly bad vehicle was the SsangYong Turismo; every other tow car did at least an average job, with most being very good or excellent.

Diesel engines do have a slight advantage, with their petrol equivalents not far behind and electric cars coming over the horizon…quickly…with their smooth rides, masses of torque, hefty kerb weights and low centres of gravity. The electric Tesla Model X weighs over 2459kg (that’s 344kg more than a Range Rover!), so it’s perfect for pulling big, luxury vans.

At the pumps, a litre of diesel was 15-20p more expensive until recently. Now that gap has closed, making them cheaper to run than their E10 petrol competitors, thanks to the extra miles you get per gallon.

I’d still say diesel is best for towing capacities, but in the next few years that may well change.

Gearbox Showdown: Automatic vs. Manual

 Luxury motors like this Touareg have seven or eight-speed auto gearboxes these days and are super-smooth

Most experienced caravanners will tell you that automatic gearboxes are best for towing, and I have to agree. They literally take much of the legwork and elbow grease out of towing, and when it comes to tricky caravan manoeuvring, they can save your clutch a world of pain!

Modern automatics are also now as efficient as manual gearboxes, when it comes to fuel consumption. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a manual tow car, but life’s easier in an auto!

The Touareg features excellent four-wheel drive

The Power of Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) in Tow Cars

 Škoda used to have a poor brand image in the UK, before its reinvention in the 1990s. Now it can blow most of the opposition away!

Four-wheel drive adds weight, grip, and traction to tow cars, so is generally seen as a good thing by caravanners, even though 4x4s drink more fuel. This extra grip can be crucial on grass or muddy pitches and when towing on wet roads. All-wheel drive also adds to the kerbweight giving better stability… it’s a nice-to-have for those that enjoy basic CL and CS off-grid camping.








Unmasking the Best Brands in Tow Cars

A factory-fitted removable towbar

In the tow car awards, certain brands seem to score consistently higher than their competitors.

The most outstanding performances, year after year come from the multitude of amazing cars in the VAG stable: VW, Skoda, Seat and Audi. These tow cars – and I’m talking ALL of them – share platforms, so there is a consistency right across all the brands.

This means that every model, from the titchy VW Polo 1.0 TSI to the beefy Audi Q7 performs brilliantly in tow-car testing, as confirmed by the never-ending accolades and awards. It could be a happy accident, but the consistency seems to suggest not.

Other serial award winners include Volvo, Nissan, Land Rover, Ford, BMW and, coming up on the outside rail, Hyundai.

The Importance of a Reliable Towbar

Roofboxes can add a lot of useful storage space

Is your proposed tow car compatible with a towbar… some cars aren’t. If it is, will you order the car with it fitted, or buy an aftermarket one from the likes of Witter Towbars?

Is Your Tow Car Roofbox-Compatible? Here’s Why it Matters

Choose a towcar that will minimise fuel stops

One reason I love my BMW 3-series Touring estate car are the handy roof-rails. These allow me to fit my Thule roofbox in minutes, and that gives just enough extra space so the kids don’t have to sit with some luggage on the back seat.

Roofboxes are excellent for getting weight (often up to 75kg) out of the caravan, and they’re great for stuff like beach gear that you’ll be using at your destination, keeping damp and sand out of the car.

Check if your tow car is roofbox compatible, but avoid universal-fit mounts and roofbars as they rarely seem to fit as securely as you’d like.

Wrapping Up: The Sum and Substance of Choosing the Ideal Tow Car

My favourite car for a long tow (1650 miles) was VW's luxurious 3.0 TDI Touareg. A beast under the bonnet, but pampering luxury inside!

It is essential that your tow car also functions as a great everyday ride for most of the population who typically drive without a trailer or caravan in tow; it should be dependable, fuel-efficient, comfortable and the ideal size to easily navigate and park.

Putting all your eggs in the ‘towing basket’ might turn out to be an expensive or uncomfortable mistake, though, it has to be said, most modern cars are stunning all-rounders.

Our Curated List of Top-rated Tow Cars (New or Used)

 Raymond James Caravans' Osprey has an MTPLM of 1412kg, while my BMW estate's kerbweight is 1505kg. That's an excellent 94� match for an experienced towcar driver

VW Polo 1.0 TSI
Citroën C4 Cactus

VW Golf
Skoda Octavia
Volvo XC40
Hyundai i30
Dacia Duster
Ford Focus
BMW 3 Series

VW Touareg
Nissan Navara
VW Amarok
Skoda Superb
Volvo XC90
Volvo XC60
VW Arteon
BMW 5 series
VW Passat
Skoda Karoq

The Perfect Tow Car is Just Around the Corner

Choosing the perfect car capable of towing is a mix of science and personal preference. As our comprehensive guide has demonstrated, several factors contribute to this decision. While weight, size, engine size, body style, type of fuel, gearbox type, and brand play a crucial role, the compatibility with a towbar and a roofbox can also make a difference.

Whether you prefer a small, medium, or large vehicle, there are ample choices in each category that deliver versatility, comfort, performance, and economy.

Our caravan holidays are meant to be enjoyable and stress-free. The beauty of choosing a tow car is that it doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, the process can be enjoyable, especially when you have expert advice at your disposal.

Need More Caravan Advice? Contact Raymond James Caravans

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Raymond James Caravans for further advice on choosing the best tow car for your caravan holidays. With years of experience and a passion for caravanning, our team is always ready to support you with the advice and essentials for your caravanning needs.

Let us be your trusted partner as you embark on your next caravan adventure. Contact us today and make your caravanning dreams a reality!

The author

John SootheranJohn Sootheran is a seasoned caravanner and motorhomer who previously edited Caravan magazine, and now writes for Britain’s best-selling caravan magazine, Practical Caravan, along with Practical Motorhome and the Camping & Caravanning Club magazines. He also works with a number of major caravanning brands.

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