Trailer check for the e-car: vw id.4 range& market overview of e-cars with a trailer hitch

In recent years, e-car customers had to meet the following criterion when making a purchase decision trailer hitch omit, since hardly any models with registered towing load were available on the market. Since 2020, this has been changing step by step, but it’s not quite easy yet. In the following blog post we show what is already possible, where are still problems, and also do the ultimate practical test. This shows how different trailers affect the range of e-cars.

Who is allowed to tow a trailer?

We have compiled an overview of the current vehicles for you. We also included some upcoming models like IONIQ5, mercedes EQA and tesla model Y with the expected key data.

We have sorted the vehicles from top to bottom by base list price. Other specifications include the towing capacity and the extra cost of the clutch. The front-runner is the tesla model X with a list price of 2.250kg towing capacity. This also allows larger caravans to be towed. The share of high-priced vehicles from the SUV segment is particularly striking. Apart from some vans, the only other trailers are the polestar 2 and the tesla model 3. Only two cars are below 40.000€ list price, whereas the entry price of the skoda enyaq is rather theoretical, because like the basic equipment it is almost unpurchasable.

If we take 1500 kg as the threshold for towing light caravans, then approx. Seven models in question, of which only 5 are currently available on the market.

Are there alternatives for other vehicles?

Yes, there are, but not many. In addition to the tesla model S, there is a trailer hitch retrofit from third-party suppliers still for renault zoe, as far as known for all model variants from 2013 to today. In each case, these are vehicle-specific solutions with their own approval. In both cases, however, the trailer hitch was developed without the blessing of the manufacturer. There are certain residual risks for disputes in the event of warranty-relevant defects. The right is certainly on the side of the customer in most cases, but unfortunately being right and getting right are not always the same thing.

In addition, there are other offers for the clutch drive exclusively as a load carrier, z.B. For the transport of bicycles. We have not included these in the compilations.

What are the test results?

Two similar trailers were tested, which differ essentially in the height of the bunk body. The towing vehicle was a VW ID.4 1st max. One trailer was flat and one trailer was high mounted and the ID.4 superior.

Specifications of the trailer: 750 kg permissible. Total weight (in the test to approx. 450kg loaded), 250x120cm loading area, unbraked, limited to 80 km/h.

Both bodies were driven one after the other for a test round of almost 94 km on the freeway around leipzig in wet road and wintry weather conditions at 80 km/h each time. A normal drive over the same distance without a trailer at maximum speed served as a reference. 120 km/h, an average of 107 km/h was achieved.

The flat trailer rolls in the slipstream of the ID.4 and hardly increases aerodynamic drag. What does this mean for the range? the highway range is not reduced with a flat trailer compared to driving without a trailer, but actually increases. This was of course due to the speed. Air resistance does not increase linearly with speed, but as a square of it. As a result, the trailer consumes at 80 km / h approx. 9% less than the ID.4 at 120 km/h alone.

Range comparison VW ID.4 trailer operation

The resulting highway ranges for the ID.4 are in the winter thus with 310 and/or. 340 km test drive in january 2021, 0-3°C, slightly windy, road wet, VW ID.4 1st max 77 kwh 150 kw, 19 inch winter wheels, heating 21 °C, trailer WM meyer: 1-axle, unbraked, 80 km/h-permission, 750 kg permissible. Gg., loading area 250x125cm, approx. 200 kg payload, flat and mirror body, total range estimated on the basis of 75 kwh withdrawal to display 0 km

in city traffic, the picture could be different, as the air resistance is almost irrelevant, but the mass has a greater effect – even though the e-car recovers a lot of energy thanks to recuperation. But on the highway dominates the air resistance. This is shown in the test with the high tarpaulin – because you guessed it, it doesn’t look very windy. The ID.4 has a drag coefficient – CW value for short – of 0.28. That’s not breathtakingly low for an electric SUV, but it’s still better than the tiguan’s 0.32.

But the tarpaulin stands naturally like a wall in the wind and ruins first of all the cw-value and increases secondly the frontal area. this is shown by the snow deposits on the photo with trailer. This white surface is to blame for the fact that the ID.4 significantly more energy is needed to pull the trailer and maintain speed. At 80 km/h, the motor draws no less than 37% more energy from the battery than when driving on a flat surface. And that collapses the range from 340 km to 250 km.

What does this mean for electric cars as towing vehicles and for whom are they suitable??

For those who frequently want to drive long distances with a large trailer, horse trailer or caravan, an electric car is probably too much of a compromise at present. In the upper class you can assume ranges with large trailers in the range of 200-250km. Of course, there are people who are completely relaxed and take a break every 2-3 hours. But that might not be an option for the majority at the moment – it doesn’t have to be. Trailer loads will continue to increase with each vehicle generation. Currently, the model X is the front-runner with 2.250kg trailer loads.

But there is still the tesla cybertruck with 6.3 tons towing capacity to come. Whether the pickup truck will also come to europe, we do not yet know. Either way, other manufacturers will have to catch up once again.

Often still unsuitable is the arrangement of the charging stations for hitchhikers. In some places, however, there are already good solutions where 3 wishes are fulfilled for trailers: not having to maneuver backwards, not having to uncouple, and not blocking other charging stations, for example at the fastned stations in the new charging park at the hilden interchange.

And if you need a trailer only very rarely, you will certainly find someone you know with a tractor for a long time to come, and fossil car rentals are still around too. For these few hours a year, I would at least not want to give up the many advantages of the electric car.

I myself have driven with the trailer from the video earlier in fossil times already several times tours over 400km and our video has shown that something like this with a little more time is possible. This application profile could also be interesting in the commercial sector.

However, if you need the trailer for distances of up to 150 km, e.g.B. For the trip to the hardware store or to dispose of green waste, the range doesn’t really matter – the main thing is that your favorite e-car can pull something, too!

We would like to see more manufacturers, especially in the compact segment, offering a trailer hitch for electric cars. Many users would also be content with towing loads of 500-750kg and a power reduction in trailer operation would certainly be reasonable.

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Christina Cherry
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