Towing experience with an EV

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Towing experience with an EV

Postby TimC » Mon Sep 18, 2023 2:08 pm

Just a short summary of my recent trip with my new foamie.

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I haven't weighed the trailer yet but I am going to guess it is between 750 and 800 lbs. My tow vehicle is a '21 Hyundai Kona Limited Electric with "normal" range of 250 miles. Towing defiantly effects range and YMMV. It was a 900+ mile round trip through Michigan's UP and down to Muskegon, MI for a music festival. I started at 100% and after 52 miles stopped at a DC charging station to top off. If you know anything about EV charging then you know that most EVs will slow charging way down when the car battery is 80%. So after about 40 minutes I was back at 85%. I attempted to reach St Ignace which is about 150 miles. there were no DC chargers until I crossed the Mackinaw bridge. When I arrived in Naubinway I knew that I would not make it to the Straits State Park for the night so I stopped at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum where they have a NEMA 14-50 outlet and they allow EV charging if you make a donation. After about 45 minutes I had just enough in the battery to make it to St Ignace. Overnight I plugged into the campsite's 50a NEMA 14-50 and had a full battery in the morning. The rest of the trip to Muskegon provided much less range anxiety as chargers are spaced somewhat close. Returning via mostly the same route I knew I was going to be staying at the snowmobile museum for an extended time since I had to get to Escanaba before seeing another DC charger. It turned out that wait was about an hour and 45 minutes before I felt confident that I could get there. To ensure my arrival I pissed off a number of drivers as I cruised at 55 all the way on a mostly 65 MPH route. Luckily, US2 on a Sunday evening is quiet and most people passed without any oncoming traffic.

FYI for those unfamiliar... A DC charger is high Direct Current and ranges in "speed" anywhere from 25 kW/hour to 350 kW/hour. My car's charging maximum is 72kW so is unable to take advantage of the higher capacity chargers.

So the bottom line is I went from a non-towing range of 250 miles to a towing range of under 175 miles. The slower I go the better the range. I'm "happy" with that result as I read some horror stories about towing reducing EV range by 50%. Of course they are towing what I call mobile homes (big RVs) not what I (we) usually pull.
Tim
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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby Tom&Shelly » Mon Sep 18, 2023 3:01 pm

More power to ya Tim. (Ha, pun not originally intended!)

Think we'll wait on that technology for awhile!

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby TimC » Sat Sep 23, 2023 8:45 pm

Tom&Shelly wrote:...
Think we'll wait on that technology for awhile!

Tom


I hear ya Tom. EVs make sense as a second vehicle for a lot of families, however, the deployment of fast chargers doesn't seem to be moving along very fast; effectively creating range anxiety in many folks. Its especially slow in rural areas in northern WI and the UP.

I am making another towing trip to south central MN on Monday. About 700 miles round trip. Fast chargers are spaced more favorably on this trip so I don't see any problems maintaining posted speeds and minimizing charge time. I'm thinking I'll require about 90 minutes total divided by two stops. That isn't a lot different than my normal ICE trips. Having worked almost thirty years on a rotating 12 hour shift schedule I have never been good at driving for more than a couple hours without a break. I retired ten years ago in May and not much has changed. It's probably safer that way.
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#3 My son's Benroy Foamie team build - Started July '20 - http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=72877

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby friz » Sun Sep 24, 2023 10:58 am

Some very nice insight into EV towing. I tow my CLC with a 2 liter Focus without a huge drop in gas mileage. Drops from 35ish mpg to 30ish. One advantage of EV over ICE would be that extra watts from solar could go straight into your "tank".

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby bdosborn » Sun Sep 24, 2023 1:46 pm

Just some back of the napkin numbers:

An EV has a battery size ranging from 60 kw-hr and up. My 600 watt PV array will generate around 400W laying flat on the van roof in full sun. 400Wx8 hours = 3.2 kw-hr/day or ~5% of the 60 kw-hr EV battery capacity. Subtract around 1 kw-hr from the daily production for the energy the van house battery uses each night and now you're down to ~3%. That's why they don't put PV panels on the roofs of EVs, the roof area is too small to help much. Physics is a harsh mistress. ;)

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby TimC » Sun Sep 24, 2023 2:15 pm

Friz and Bruce... I'm not technically savvy with how solar on an EV would work. I do know that using eight hours of production per day is not realistic.

In the summer my 1800 watt home solar array at 48v nominal is enough to give me around 25 miles range per day assuming full sunshine. And there is really only about four hours of real production by my rack mounted solar array (about 400 watts per day are used by the charge controller/inverter). That covers most of my local needs day to day (except in late December through February when i get close to no production). My array is enough to boost my battery back to 70% after a trip but takes four or more days to get there. If the post trip week is cloudy I mostly use the grid off peak.

So many variables. Solar is getting more efficient every year. I'm happy with my system as it was sized to just give me around town miles. I recognize that EVs are not for everyone right now. I've heard much about efforts to promote H2 vehicles. However, I just watched a video about the obstacles to making hydrogen a major player for transportation. It's great that people are building prototypes as that is what leads to economical production but in the near future I hope the push is in the direction of solar, wind, hydro technologies and continue to experiment with non lithium battery types to store production. Amazing discoveries are being made which makes me think the world in a decade or two will be completely different as far as transportation is concerned. I just hope I live long enough to see that change.

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby bdosborn » Sun Sep 24, 2023 2:33 pm

Tim,

You've obviously done your homework and have a system that works for you. Can I park my van at your house when the zombie apocalypse hits? :lol:

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Sep 24, 2023 3:26 pm

Well, there are fundamental limits. You can't create energy and batteries only store energy. A square meter of sunlight has about 1000 watts of power, or 1.34 horsepower. That's at 100% conversion efficiency (and currently solar panels are at about 20%). So don't count on the panels on top of your truck to help much at all. Takes a lot of energy to move a vehicle. A lot more than to run lights, or even an air conditioner.

I'm not sure about the limits for transferring energy quickly, but waiting more than a few minutes every few hours for the battery to charge would be a non-starter for me. Also, the best camping is often a long way from the power grid. It's also sometimes a long way from the nearest gas station, but we have the range to go a little more than a day between fill ups.

That said, an EV should be a natural for 4wd. Electric motors naturally have a high torque. And for folks who live in town, an EV should be an excellent vehicle for running errands, or even the occasional trailer haul.

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby Gulfcoast » Sun Sep 24, 2023 4:41 pm

I see a great advantage for around town driving, but I don't know about a cross country trip.
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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby TimC » Sun Sep 24, 2023 5:23 pm

Tom&Shelly wrote:...

I'm not sure about the limits for transferring energy quickly, but waiting more than a few minutes every few hours for the battery to charge would be a non-starter for me...

Tom


Yup, I feel it's a non-starter for most folks. Me, I am probably patient to a fault! Just ask my wife :roll:
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My First Benroy Teardrop Build Thread - A 5x8 Woodie - http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=63575
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#3 My son's Benroy Foamie team build - Started July '20 - http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=72877

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Sep 24, 2023 6:39 pm

I'd agree probably takes a lot of patience today, but I'm optimistic that longer ranges and faster charging is not many years away.
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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby Tom&Shelly » Mon Sep 25, 2023 8:26 am

QueticoBill wrote:I'd agree probably takes a lot of patience today, but I'm optimistic that longer ranges and faster charging is not many years away.


For that, I'll wait patiently! :lol:

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby mtbikernate » Wed Sep 27, 2023 1:05 pm

at this point, I'm less concerned with range as I am with time spent charging.

Seems like one of the major barriers to charge speed is resistance and especially the heat generated as a result of that. And I've certainly been reading about emerging technologies that strive to bring that under control.

I would be willing to deal with a 175mi range, but only if I could get reasonably close to topped up in less than 15min, I think. Which is probably about the time spent on a current fuel-up plus bathroom stop. With a longer range/top up time, then I'd be good with an hour or two, which is often not too far off from how long it takes to grab a meal.

Wife is currently shopping for a new vehicle as her subie is getting a little long in the tooth and she'd like to trade it in while it still has some value. An EV was briefly considered, but she does need to do road trips on her own occasionally. And we'd also like to use the new vehicle as a more efficient vehicle for family road trips. We use my pickup for camper duties and backcountry stuff now, as it's a bit better suited for those jobs. But we could certainly do better for a pure pavement and luggage road trip vehicle. We considered EVs briefly, and while they'd be great for her commute duties, they'd pretty much put us into the territory of using the truck for any long road trips.

So we're shopping hybrids. We'd like a plug-in hybrid, but we're finding that the vehicles that interest us are EXTREMELY difficult to get. So we've eliminated PHEV from contention because of that reason and are pretty much just shopping vanilla hybrids. Which still have tight availability. We have a line on a Corolla Cross at a local dealer in a few months. Put down a deposit to reserve it. Hopefully the comfort is in line with the other vehicles we looked at. It'll be able to pull our trailer, too (even has a tow rating highter than the crosstrek), so I'll eventually set it up as a secondary tow vehicle.
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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby Tom&Shelly » Wed Sep 27, 2023 2:29 pm

mtbikernate wrote:So we're shopping hybrids.


Of course you've done your homework. I got turned off of hybrids a few years ago when we rented a GM hybrid (over a Prius) only to find it got worse gas milage than similar compact gas cars. Guess New York gave the rental car company tax breaks for having so many hybrids regardless of certain technical details.

Actually, I got turned off to GM and Avis. The Avis lady talked me into the GM when we'd already booked the Prius, which is what I really wanted to test drive.

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Re: Towing experience with an EV

Postby mtbikernate » Thu Sep 28, 2023 1:20 am

Tom&Shelly wrote:
mtbikernate wrote:So we're shopping hybrids.


Of course you've done your homework. I got turned off of hybrids a few years ago when we rented a GM hybrid (over a Prius) only to find it got worse gas milage than similar compact gas cars. Guess New York gave the rental car company tax breaks for having so many hybrids regardless of certain technical details.

Actually, I got turned off to GM and Avis. The Avis lady talked me into the GM when we'd already booked the Prius, which is what I really wanted to test drive.

Tom


Oh yeah, we've been doing our research. We've certainly seen a big range in capabilities and purposes for various hybrids. Pretty much ignoring the ones that don't get significantly better fuel economy than what we already have. She was considering sizing up to something a little larger (Forester/Rav4 sized), but that'd put us into a price bracket we're not willing to be in if it was also a hybrid. I'd be good with a new Prius (man, those look sharp - I never liked the looks of the earlier ones), but she wants a hatch/wagon/crossover style vehicle instead of a sedan.
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