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Old 09-13-2019, 05:32 PM   #1
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Electric Tow Vehicles

As may be obvious from the following thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ue-198557.html

Iím fascinated by electric vehicles (EVís). Iíve always been a bit of a futurist and this is one of the biggest changes coming down the road (sorry!). And of particular interest of mine as an Airstream owner is EV tow vehicles (EVTVís?).

RV Life has asked me to write a series of columns/articles about EVTVís so Iíve started doing some reading (to my surprise things are further along than I was aware of). I thought I would go ahead and post links to my columns here and if anyone is interested we can discuss them. The previous thread turned up some folks who are very knowledgeable on EVís and I look forward to input.

Iím wide open to suggestions, criticisms, even kudos.

Cheers,
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:12 AM   #2
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John, I'm looking forward to reading your column. I am really interested in an EV tow vehicle. I have a deposit on a Rivian, but I'm slowly losing my enthusiasm for it being a replacement for my F350. I'm hoping the production models change my mind. I'm really looking forward to see what Tesla announces in November. I also have money on an Atlis, but I'm not convinced their truck will actually make it to market. My best hope is on Ford and an all electric F150. I think within the next few years, the charging infrastructure will grow significantly. I will only be towing a few week ends per month and we normally camp close to home and then maybe a longer trip once per year. The rest of the time, I want a truck to also be my daily driver. So I'm willing to sacrifice some time at the chargers for the benefits I will get the rest of the year.

We are about a year into owning a BMW i3. It has really taught us a lot about EV's and their limitations. It is not a complete replacement for our other cars. But my wife drives it to work every day. For weekend errands, it is perfect. 95% of our travel around town can be done in the i3 for a fraction of the cost of the F350 or Audi Q7. But any of the current Tesla's would replace the Q7, but my wife vetoes those based on the looks...An argument I can't win.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:06 AM   #3
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You may be interested in these earlier threads:

Go electric for TV: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...le-169483.html
. . . [506 posts there -- Is this what you meant by "previous thread?"]
Model X as TV: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-x-160951.html

. . . as well as these "ev tow vehicles" search results:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ev+t...com&gws_rd=ssl

Cheers,

Peter

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Old 09-14-2019, 11:26 AM   #4
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Thanks Peter. Whew! Thereís a lot of information to pour through, synthesize and try to present in succinct and interesting manner. Guess itís time to get to work.

John
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John&Vicki View Post
....I’m wide open to suggestions, criticisms, even kudos. ...
If you are including Plugin Hybrids in your research…

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...0e-163929.html

tells the story of the switch from a BMW X5 35d (twin turbo diesel) to a BMW X5 40e (hybrid).

FWIW we live nearly an hour’s drive away from the nearest “city shopping” (e.g. Costco) and anything that resembles a recharging station (e.g. Whole Foods parking). So we are way more interested in a Plugin Hybrid TV to replace our 2009 X5 35d.
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:46 PM   #6
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I am also very interested in the topic of electric vehicles and the like. I don’t know why, but since childhood I was drawn to this and I see this as the future. Pretty interesting to read like-minded articles!
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:04 PM   #7
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To figure out the direction for future electric tow vehicles, it helps to look at what is happening with light and medium duty trucks, and in fact buses, as the technology is all transferable.

We now have battery electric buses running in Vancouver; the fast charge system provides 100 km of range for every 5 minutes of charging. They use an overhead gantry charging connection.

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/tran...-bus-route-100

Also worth following the Advanced Clean Transportation site, with an Expo every year and a lot of announcements. Good source for current info on BEVs larger than commuter vehicles.

https://www.actexpo.com/
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by John&Vicki View Post
Thanks Peter. Whew! There’s a lot of information to pour through, synthesize and try to present in succinct and interesting manner. Guess it’s time to get to work.

John
Looking forward to your work on this.

Nice signature, by the way!

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled. ~ Robert Frost"

Peter
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:58 AM   #9
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When it comes to Hybrid technology, my observation of the last few years is that most of the premium brands, i.e. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, are focused on performance metrics like 0-60 time and HP. towing requires torque and most deliver on that metric as well, but they rarely focus on that other than passing performance. All of this is important to towing enthusiasts.

Of these hybrids, only the SUVs appear to be capable of towing any sizable trailer like an Airstream. The Mercedes models, most notably the GLE 450 and the upcoming GLS models, have what is called EQ drivetrains, where an electric motor is inline with the transmission and acts as a starter, supplemental motor, and generator. All engine loads other than propulsion are replaced with small electric motors that run off a lithium battery. Neat technology, but don't expect a major boost in fuel economy, rather a 1 or 2 MPG boost at best over a conventional powertrain. But the increase in torque is phenomenal, as are all electric motor variants.

Pure BEV are still very range bound, suffer under highway conditions, unlike hybrids, and very few are capable of towing anything over a ton and a half. Most Airstreams reside in the two ton plus realm.

For simplicity and fuel economy, and some will argue for reduced CO2 emissions, try a Diesel. More torque and generally better mileage, but you Cost of Ownership will vary with manufacturer. So if economy is your goal, better to stick with Diesel over Gas Hybrids. But if performance is something you crave, particularly merging into traffic and passing acceleration, go hybrid. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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I own three electric vehicles, Tesla Model S & Model 3 and a Wheego Life. In addition, between 2011-2012, I converted a 1974 VW thing to electric drive. ( www.evthing.me ). As a result, I probably know more than most people what they can and can't do.

For the record, I also have a deposit on a Rivian truck and recently saw the prototypes at an event in Atlanta that Rivian Hosted. If it does arrive next year it will be the best available all electric towing vehicle.

The short answer is that they can more or less replace any vehicle for daily driving and road trips. However, they cannot currently replace a towing vehicle for anything other than local towing (say under 100 miles or so).

Towing any significant weight or boxy trailer will cut the range in half. Under certain conditions, such as Mountainous areas or in areas with strong head winds (west Texas) the rage can be cut by more than 50%. I do not expect this to change until 800 Volt (Most EVs are 400 volt) vehicles are widely available and charging station that can support 800 volt vehicles are also widely available. With an 800v system you can recharge a truck for 200-250 miles of towing range in about 15 minutes. At that point, I suspect more people with use them for towing duties. Right now the ONLY vehicle that can charge on the new 800 volt fast charing system being deployed by VW (Recharge America) is the Porsche Taycan. The problem is that at any voltage over about 600 volts electricity can start to jump air gaps. This makes isolating and packaging the electrical components much more difficult and expensive.

There are compelling reasons why people will want to tow with electric vehicles. The main two are instant full torque at zero rpm and down hill regenerative braking. The fact that the fuel can be ten times less expensive is not hard to understand either.

I suspect we are five to ten years away from 800 volt electric trucks/SUVs that can truly replace a modern truck/SUV for towing airstreams. However, I believe it will happen. I also believe that Airstream as well as other trailer manufactures will start to incorporate Lithium Ion batteries and regenerative braking systems into the trailers as well more solar panels. Right now a 25 kWhr lithium Ion pack would only add about 200 lbs to a trailer and make it possible to run ALL of your electrical appliances include the A/C for a few days of boon docking when pared with about 1000 watts of solar panels which would fit on top of most Airstreams.

It is going to happen and faster than many people believe, but we are not quite there yet.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post
. . .
For the record, I also have a deposit on a Rivian truck . . .
. . .
FYI the Rivian truck is also discussed in the other thread linked earlier in Post #3:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
You may be interested in these earlier threads:

Go electric for TV: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...le-169483.html
. . .
See Post #446 et seq. in that thread.

Peter

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Old 09-26-2019, 10:11 AM   #12
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Here is an idea.

Have an additional battery pack in the trailer to help power the electric tow vehicle.
You know, add an extra couple hundred miles to get some decent range.

It would be like towing a fuel tank but way more fun.
You could use the thing for running everything in the trailer while camping.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:41 AM   #13
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I checked Tesla's charge station planner and an EV will require 9 extra hours to go from NY to FL. Towing might double that.

EV's have high toy value but it's going to be a long time before they replace traditional tow vehicles.
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Runs_4_beer View Post
John, I'm looking forward to reading your column. I am really interested in an EV tow vehicle. I have a deposit on a Rivian, but I'm slowly losing my enthusiasm for it being a replacement for my F350. I'm hoping the production models change my mind. I'm really looking forward to see what Tesla announces in November. I also have money on an Atlis, but I'm not convinced their truck will actually make it to market. My best hope is on Ford and an all electric F150. I think within the next few years, the charging infrastructure will grow significantly. I will only be towing a few week ends per month and we normally camp close to home and then maybe a longer trip once per year. The rest of the time, I want a truck to also be my daily driver. So I'm willing to sacrifice some time at the chargers for the benefits I will get the rest of the year.

We are about a year into owning a BMW i3. It has really taught us a lot about EV's and their limitations. It is not a complete replacement for our other cars. But my wife drives it to work every day. For weekend errands, it is perfect. 95% of our travel around town can be done in the i3 for a fraction of the cost of the F350 or Audi Q7. But any of the current Tesla's would replace the Q7, but my wife vetoes those based on the looks...An argument I can't win.

My wife has a 2019 Nissan Leaf (all electric) with a range of around 225 miles. She, like your wife, didn't like the looks of the Tesla (too sporty and eye catching). No limitation for us other than long road trips as the Leafs do not charge as quickly as the Teslas. Having said that we take road trips and it's not a big deal to us to charge for a bit. It's one of the nicest driving cars we've ever owned. And one of the most fun to drive!

Driving my Mazda Miata and our big pickup feel like going back in time now to the dark ages! My wife always marvels when we have to stop for gas in these cars. Or when I have to go get oil changes or other service. Her 2011 Nissan Leaf, which our son now drives, never needed anything other than wiper blades, wiper fluid, new tires, and a new starter battery ($80).
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:18 AM   #15
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here is a good site that list all EV in USA & CANADA

https://insideevs.com/reviews/344001/compare-evs/

also VW, is deploying a full 800V 325KW charging station across Canada statring in 2020
so far only Porches and Audi ( all owned by VW) have announced 800V in upcoming vehicles.

VW states 80% charge in under 20 min at 800V
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:21 PM   #16
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What the current reality of trying to tow with electric looks like -
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Old 09-28-2019, 03:01 PM   #17
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What the current reality of trying to tow with electric looks like . . .
. . .
The "current reality" may be more nuanced than that. Extrapolating a general conclusion from one vehicle's limited experience seems unproductive.

Judging from the two following threads, linked in Post #3 here, we should continue to expect growth in EV towing IMO:

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
. . .
Go electric for TV: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...le-169483.html
. . . [506 posts there -- Is this what you meant by "previous thread?"]
Model X as TV: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...-x-160951.html
. . .
In the Model X as TV thread ohmman described his travels in the west a year or so ago. Presumably the charging infrastructure has improved since then.

No easy and simple answers, but towing with electric vehicles will surely just keep increasing IMO.

"Build it and they will come."

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Old 09-28-2019, 09:17 PM   #18
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I was kinda hoping the Rivian could be my next tow vehicle. We have a deposit on one and Iím looking forward to it.

Our current TV is a Diesel Cayenne, and our Airstream is almost 8,000 lbs. The Cayenne tows it very, very nicely. So back in January I ordered a 2019 Cayenne Hybrid. The torque looks fantastic and, unlike prior Cayenne Hybrids that had very limited towing capacity (or maybe none(?) and no tow package) the 2019 was stated to have the same towing capacity as my diesel. It was supposed to be delivered in March. Then April. Then May. Then I asked if I could get it in June Euro Delivery... nope. So I cancelled the order. Itís still not out. Iím really curious what has happened to it. The dealer has no ideas and I canít find anything with the Google.

Like a previous poster, we currently drive an electric car when at home. We have a BMW ICE that sits in the garage collecting dust. As nice as the Cayenne is... an ICE vehicle is just kinda gross at this point. Getting gas is kinda grungy. Idling engines that smell.. gross. Even the very small vibrations of a nice V12 engine... kinda crude. When my wife got her electric car a couple of years ago I was not really convinced. Then I drove it some. Then some more. I think until youíve experienced it for at least a couple of days or weeks itís hard to appreciate how incredibly nice an electric vehicle is.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:28 PM   #19
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I was kinda hoping the Rivian could be my next tow vehicle. We have a deposit on one and Iím looking forward to it.



Our current TV is a Diesel Cayenne, and our Airstream is almost 8,000 lbs. The Cayenne tows it very, very nicely. So back in January I ordered a 2019 Cayenne Hybrid. The torque looks fantastic and, unlike prior Cayenne Hybrids that had very limited towing capacity (or maybe none(?) and no tow package) the 2019 was stated to have the same towing capacity as my diesel. It was supposed to be delivered in March. Then April. Then May. Then I asked if I could get it in June Euro Delivery... nope. So I cancelled the order. Itís still not out. Iím really curious what has happened to it. The dealer has no ideas and I canít find anything with the Google.



Like a previous poster, we currently drive an electric car when at home. We have a BMW ICE that sits in the garage collecting dust. As nice as the Cayenne is... an ICE vehicle is just kinda gross at this point. Getting gas is kinda grungy. Idling engines that smell.. gross. Even the very small vibrations of a nice V12 engine... kinda crude. When my wife got her electric car a couple of years ago I was not really convinced. Then I drove it some. Then some more. I think until youíve experienced it for at least a couple of days or weeks itís hard to appreciate how incredibly nice an electric vehicle is.


Ha! I get it with the gasoline grossness. And the ďonce you drive electricĒ you never go back. Even my gas Miata convertible isnít as much fun anymore.

Seems like the biggest drawback I see with the electric tow vehicle for my use in the next number of years is the recharging each day when not near main roads where many chargers are located. The battery capacity in vehicles for decent mile range will certainly be there in the next 2-5 years if current trends continue. But where to recharge in the western states when not on interstates is my question. And we try to minimize being in hook-up sites preferring dry camping and primitive sites. So, that is my dilemma when thinking about this.

And remember, I am an electric car convert so not knocking anything here just sharing some thoughts.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:42 PM   #20
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Meeks,

I completely agree. When we are in the airstream we MIGHT be in a campground with hookups one night out of 10. Sometimes 2 or more weeks with no hookups. Usually BLM or national Forests mixed with a few HarvestHosts. So I am also concerned about how to recharge the TV. Especially since we donít carry a generator. I do wish the trailer could use regen braking to store energy in its battery bank. Solar is great but getting a Rivian charged would probably take more than a week even with 1000 watts of solar (I havenít done the math yet).
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