Is There a Viable Electric Vehicle for 4-Wheel-Down Towing?

Is There a Viable Electric Vehicle for 4-Wheel-Down Towing?

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Dear RV Miles,

The idea of plugging in an electric toad [toad is RVer speak for a towed vehicle, one you pull behind your motorhome] at the campground and not having to fuel it up ever is really exciting. Will the new Tesla 3 be capable of being towed 4 wheels down?

-Jim A., Alabama

The $35,000 Tesla 3 has been in the works for a while, and we’re only now getting a glimpse of it. We aren’t certain whether it will be able to be towed with 4 wheels down (also called dinghy towing), but chances are slim. Tesla requires its current production vehicles to be towed on a flatbed, not even with the front wheels up. Towing with 2 or 4 wheels down will void the warranty.

But you aren’t totally out of luck. There is no all-electric vehicle that is manufacturer approved to be towed 4-down, but the Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi come really close. They’re plug-in hybrids, so you can essentially operate them like an electric vehicle. They have an electric-only mode, and you can plug them in a standard 15-amp outlet overnight to charge it up. You’re only going to get about 20 miles of range in electric-only mode, but you can drive them where you need to go and kick-in the gas motor when needed. At about $27,000, plus a possible $4000 tax credit, the C-max is an attractive option, the Fusion is about $4000 more.

Both the Fusion and C-Max are also available in a non-plug-in model, simply called the “Hybrid” version. According to Motorhome Magazine’s 2017 Dinghy Towing Guide, these are really the only electric or hybrid vehicles that can be towed with 4 wheels down without voiding the factory warranty. You are required to run them for a minute before towing, and once every 6 hours en route.

You might run into a few campgrounds that don’t permit charging electric vehicles, especially as they gain popularity. Make sure to plug into your RV, and not into the auxiliary 15-amp outlet on the campground’s box, as they aren’t designed to carry full loads on both at the same time.

 

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Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children in a converted school bus.

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