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Old 08-23-2009, 03:43 PM   #21
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So Far, this has Worked fine for us.
Ken
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:34 PM   #22
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So Far, this has Worked fine for us.
Ken
But have you ever pulled it out of your driveway?

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Old 08-23-2009, 05:00 PM   #23
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But have you ever pulled it out of your driveway?

Dennis
Well Dennis,
I haven't actually figured out how to hook it up. There's no receiver on the Smart Car. Maybe just tie it to the back with some good strong rope.
It works great parked in front of the trailer though.
Although the car is red, it IS green. It gets 40+ MPG, so I am sure it would get at least 30 towing.
In the meantime, I guess I will have to keep using my fuel guzzling truck.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:07 PM   #24
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I think part of the confusion on this thread results from not having defined what "green" really means in this case. Reducing fuel usage is certainly a good thing, but also one has to consider output of pollutants and CO2. The easiest way to reduce your environmental impact is to simply shorten your trips, as one poster has already pointed out. Drive less, camp more!

I suggest taking a look at the new crop of "clean diesel" engines now available on trucks and SUVs. BlueTec technology and other variants demonstrates that diesels running the new ultra-low sulphur fuel can be incredibly clean in their emissions. Their exhaust air has to be experienced to be believed: it's invisible, unscented, soot-free, and appears to the observer as simply humid air. They can be bought new in all 50 states, unlike earlier diesels.

Right now the clean diesels are mostly in the European brands, but American and Japanese brands have promised to introduce more in 2010. The current economy has put a lot of those plans on hold, so it's hard to say how many diesel tow vehicles will really hit the market, but there seems to be no question that this technology will become more widespread and cheaper over time.

The really nice thing is that the engine torque of any of these V-6 clean diesels is ideal for towing purposes. They'll also turn in good fuel economy when not towing, similar to the report above for the Yukon hybrid.

From the current crop of V-6 clean diesels, I'd look at the VW Touareg2 TDI as a possible candidate. It's the cheapest of the clean diesels that I've seen to date, and has plenty of tow capacity (rated at 7700 lbs), with seating for five. At 400+ ft-lbs of torque, it has the power to pull any Airstream made, but the short wheelbase suggests that it would be happiest with trailers under 20 feet. For just a little more money, you can pick up a Mercedes ML320 with similar specs and a stronger frame. A few of my friends are using the ML320 and are extremely happy with it.

If these are out of the budget, then I'd look at the Yukon Hybrid and other gas-powered variants. But like other posters on this thread, I'd caution against letting your interest in "greenness" overwhelm the importance of having a good towing experience. Be sure to consider relative wheelbase, frame strength, tow rating, hitching, the weight of gear you plan to carry, and your future plans before you plunk down any money. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:28 PM   #25
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One thing to consider: if the OP is sticking to a small trailer like a 17' Sport, they might get similar fuel economy with a V6 minivan or mid-sized SUV as they would with the diesel. (And the cost of entry is a whole lot less.)

I recently borrowed a GL320 Bluetec to tow my 2000-lb T@B. The torque was nice, and it just wafted along the highway, but I can't really say it was better than towing with my Honda Odyssey. Both pull strongly.

Funny thing was, I expected to get kickbutt fuel economy with the diesel (after all, the T@B hardly stressed it), but wound up with the same 16 mpg highway mileage I average with the Odyssey. This probably isn't a huge surprise, given that the GL Bluetec's unladen fuel economy is pretty much on par with the lighter Honda. Same goes for a Yukon Hybrid - their fuel economy is much better than a normal Yukon, as shown in the example above, but pretty much matches a normal Odyssey or Toyota Sienna or Ford Flex.

Of course, the GL is rated to tow a heavier trailer than the Odyssey, something to consider if future plans were for bigger trailers. (There are folks towing quite large trailers with well set-up Odysseys, thanks to the van's long wheelbase, but that's another debate.)

Tom
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:08 AM   #26
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As an old hot rodder, I'm surprised that no one here has come up with some outside the box thinking. When the California Air Resources Board (CARB) started making rules and regulations that killed the muscle car market in the 1970's, half a dozen magazines did project engines that reduced emissions and improved torque and HP.

If I were to do a "green" tow vehicle, I'd recycle an old seventies van or Suburban and up date the running gear with aftermarket parts and drop in a crate motor with EFI and a factory warranty. Install Vintage Air and some real comfortable seating and you have a a custom tow vehicle that can be registered as a classic in many states, insured by a specialty rate that's much cheaper that conventional insurance and have a unique ride.

FYI, we did a lot of ads in the old digest size CAMPER COACHMAN and TRAILER LIFE offering intake and exhaust products designed for RV's. These products came about because many of the Drag racers using haulers and trailers were getting killed by gas prices in the seventies.

PS....Well over 90% of the high performance products on the market are made in the USA
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:47 AM   #27
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Every couple months we take a trip to visit them and the grandkids. We use I-5 from, our home in San Diego to Los Banos and then either the 152 to San Mateo or the 165 to Modesto. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that route, it includes two trips over the “grapevine”.
I'm familiar with that route. I wouldn't want to be towing with anything less than my 1/2 ton through the high winds blowing across I-5 for that 40 mile stretch south of Los Banos. If your going to have a sway problem it would be there, with a stiff cross wind mixed with big rigs passing you going 85.

I also have an aversion to riding in a vehicle where my head is at eye-level with the bumper on big rigs. But that's just me.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:55 AM   #28
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Ok, I'm gonna pipe in here. The term Green in kinda weird here. Do you know what goes into making those batteries for those hybrids.. Not very green.. anyway.

If you are towing with a hybrid you are on the gas part of the engine, thus the hybrid part is pretty much nul and void. So you might as well get a gas tower unless you are only towing once in awhile.

My Sequoia gets 21 mpg going to grand junction and back about a 100 round trip with 2500 ft of elevation gain and loss. just driving around I get about 16-17 mpg.

3 mpg over a SUV hybrid is not worth it to me. I won't the power when I need it. Now if it where more like 10 mpg different it would be a different story.

And it is true about how you drive it.

I saw a test on Top Gear. They took a prius and a bmw m5. The M5 followed the prius around there test track. the Prius going as fast as it could. When all was said and done the BMW got better gas millage. Thats because the "green" car is meant for city driving. not highway or TOWING.

And until they get rid of those batteries they aren't "Green" in my book. Just a hybrid..
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #29
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Not that I own one - but I've driven many hybrids, and the typical internet half-truths about them frustrate me:

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If you are towing with a hybrid you are on the gas part of the engine, thus the hybrid part is pretty much nul and void.
Sure, you're not running around on battery power alone, like you would in a Prius around town, or like in a Fusion hybrid where it can run on the battery alone up to 47 mph.

But if you tow with something like a Tahoe or Highlander hybrid, the batteries and electric motor do assist during acceleration. The seamless torque is quite nice for towing. And you would recapture braking energy through regenerative braking.

Quote:
I saw a test on Top Gear. They took a prius and a bmw m5. The M5 followed the prius around there test track. the Prius going as fast as it could. When all was said and done the BMW got better gas millage. Thats because the "green" car is meant for city driving. not highway or TOWING.
Top Gear, a "red meat" kind of show, hates the Prius, and basically looked for a test that did not favor the car. Considering Top Gear to be anything approaching a scientific test is folly. Anyway, no one would drive a Prius around a race track flat out. And not all hybrids are designed like the Prius.

I agree that making batteries is nasty business - but the same goes for making cars. Plus, there is far too much recycling value in those batteries for them to be improperly disposed - something like 95% of all normal car batteries are recycled.

Tom
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:56 PM   #30
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This is what we tow the 25" Classic with(96 Mini Cooper) it's worked out pretty well except for steep downgrades.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:15 PM   #31
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But if you tow with something like a Tahoe or Highlander hybrid, the batteries and electric motor do assist during acceleration. The seamless torque is quite nice for towing. And you would recapture braking energy through regenerative braking.

Tom
The Highlander hybrid was designed with three electric motors and provides significant torque. Electric motors can be excellent for torque. It all depends how the hybrid was designed and the Highlander was designed for lots of power and sacrificed some fuel economy. Some hybrids are designed for city driving because that's what most people do, but I have a friend with a Prius and it gets amazing mileage on the open road too.

I'm waiting for the truck with an electric motor for each wheel (true 4 wheel drive and something designed in the 1910's by Porsche) and a constant velocity internal combustion engine generating electricity. Weight can be saved on transfer case and hopefuly a simpler transmission. The battery weight can be offset to some degree by a smaller fuel tank. It will have plenty of HP and torque and it's got to have better fuel mileage than today's trucks. A plug in could be charged with our generators or at plug ins at campgrounds for additional mileage. Who will the first manufacturer to have the courage to make one for the towing and heavy duty market?

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Old 09-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #32
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I like "British Race Car Green" used by Triumph and maybe even Jaguar in the late 60's and early 70's. And I remember liking a "Forrest Green" I saw on some other car back then . . . oh and I almost forgot - Datsun had an awsome very dark green they used on the late 70's Z cars, it was so dark it was almost black.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:18 PM   #33
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Top Gear, a "red meat" kind of show, hates the Prius, and basically looked for a test that did not favor the car. Considering Top Gear to be anything approaching a scientific test is folly. Anyway, no one would drive a Prius around a race track flat out. And not all hybrids are designed like the Prius.

I agree that making batteries is nasty business - but the same goes for making cars. Plus, there is far too much recycling value in those batteries for them to be improperly disposed - something like 95% of all normal car batteries are recycled.

Tom[/QUOTE]


True, but they said it wasn't designed to do this. But you can't say it wasn't true the bmw got 19 mpg and the prius got 16 mpg. Bottom line the prius wasn't designed for this. It's designed for city driving, and open highway as gene said it does get good millage..

But then going down hill my sequoia gets great millage too.

If they can make one that gets a significant amount of mpg better than my Gas motor I'm all for it. But 3 -5 mpg is not a significant improvement in towing, or highway driving.

Bottom line for me: It's a hybrid not a green car. If your talking Green the mini uses more recycled stuff than just about any other car and gets good gas millage. That would be green.

A Hybrid is just that "a Hybrid" there is nothing Green about it. If you want to tow with one you may get 2 mpg better towing but you would need something bigger than the highlander for a trailer over 19ft.

Plus the price for one is quite a bit more. Thats a lot of miles to drive to make up for the price difference over a gas vehicle.

they would work, But I don't think are the best TV.


Here is the big problem. The oil companies don't want fuel efficient cars... Look what happened to Diesel when more people started to drive them. Price went up and millage went down. My brother in England has a Audio Diesel that gets 38 mpg. But now the price of Diesel is so high the advantage of having it is barley there..

It's all about Profit...
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:24 PM   #34
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But, Jason, what would the mpg for the BMW at full throttle? That would be a better comparison to the Prius. By the time you're floating the valves, gas mileage is awful.

Gene
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:42 PM   #35
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Trying to be green in our Airstreaming meant thinking realistically about our needs, and balancing them as best we could.

These needs included:
1) Finding a tow vehicle for a 19 footer. Smaller lighter trailers obviously mean a wider variety of options, and we're lucky to only need 16 feet of living space.

2) A one-car-fits-all solution. With one garage spot, no driveway and a desire to keep our lives simple by insuring, maintaining and putting license plates on one vehicle, we were looking for something we could use whether we're getting groceries... or towing aluminum.

3) How often are we going to tow in an average year? Sure we have to be safe and the numbers need to add up... but we're only towing a few weekends a year, not full-timing.

After towing with vintage for a year, we've decided to instead try a Highlander Hybrid (with improved hitch courtesy of CAN-AM RV). I'll file a report during our maiden voyage later this month, but suffice it to say I've done my homework reading many threads like this one. I value all the opinions here and tried to find a happy medium. Time will tell how I did...
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Old 09-06-2009, 12:22 AM   #36
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What does green mean?

Hi, my Lincoln gets 11.5 MPG while towing. Are you really concerned about how much fuel you burn or how many dollars you burn? We have all been brain washed into figuering out our MPG, but in actuality, we should calculate [MPD] miles per dollar. Adding to that, I bought my Lincoln slightly used and saved about $20,000.00 off of original MSRP. The money I saved by buying used could buy me over 6,000 gallons of gas. That's pretty green to me.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:58 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Denis4x4 View Post
As an old hot rodder, I'm surprised that no one here has come up with some outside the box thinking. When the California Air Resources Board (CARB) started making rules and regulations that killed the muscle car market in the 1970's, half a dozen magazines did project engines that reduced emissions and improved torque and HP.

If I were to do a "green" tow vehicle, I'd recycle an old seventies van or Suburban and up date the running gear with aftermarket parts and drop in a crate motor with EFI and a factory warranty. Install Vintage Air and some real comfortable seating and you have a a custom tow vehicle that can be registered as a classic in many states, insured by a specialty rate that's much cheaper that conventional insurance and have a unique ride.

FYI, we did a lot of ads in the old digest size CAMPER COACHMAN and TRAILER LIFE offering intake and exhaust products designed for RV's. These products came about because many of the Drag racers using haulers and trailers were getting killed by gas prices in the seventies.

PS....Well over 90% of the high performance products on the market are made in the USA
Hey hot rodder - I like your idea on dropping a crate EFI and doing up a '70's vehicle. I'd like to do a clean diesel conversion to our perfect and way cool '75 Silverado. It's the right vintage for hauling our '79 31 ft Sovereign.

Currently our AS is happily parked at a seasonal site (the greenest option) and the Silverado does only occasional work when truck duties are required, like hauling our boat, firewood and other truck stuff.

It will make for an interesting conversion project someday, once diesel "donor" vehicles become more plentiful. However, I would like to correct you that registering a classic, and specifically insuring any old vehicle under a classic policy will probably NOT allow you to tow. That was our experience earlier this year. I had to remove the Silverado from a inexpensive policy providing full appraised value to a regular and 6x more expensive policy that will pay back only "book value" in the event of a claim.

Just thought I'd clarify that point from experience. The downside to restored vintage is that you basically self-insure as the book value is often less than the price of the book.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:48 AM   #38
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Our choice

Nolan-

We also own a Prius and were planning to use the Highlander Hybrid as a tow vehicle. Our interest in restoration is much higher than most, so we bought a mid 1960's Caravel with the goal of a finished dry weight of 2400 lbs. We should hit that goal when the cabinets are complete. It's the same idea that bredlo mentioned two posts earlier -- vintage trailers are much lighter and open up more green towing options.

A well done restoration is hard to find, but will probably cost no more than a new one. You may even be able to find one that is in very good shape and complete it -- or have it completed for you -- within budget. Check the weights on new versus old and you'll probably find a ton of difference. Literally.

We opted for a used Mercedes Diesel ML320 as a tow vehicle. We'll be on the road quite a bit in the next two years, so I'm convinced that the diesel has the lower carbon footprint for us. If we drove a lot of city driving and towed long distances infrequently, I'm sure the Highlander Hybrid would be the better choice.

Bottom line, a well-restored lightweight vintage trailer will open up options for you and will be way, way cooler.

Good luck in your search and have fun!

John
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:57 AM   #39
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Here's a similar thread from '05 that covers the many issues of "Green Airstreaming":

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/green-airstreaming-16547.html

Roger
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:27 AM   #40
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Ok, I think we have different Ideas of what Green means... In My mind burning less gas is not Green.. Green is using recycled materials to construct what you are using. And impacting less as you are using it. The emissions that a hybrid puts out verses and all gas TV is not all that of a difference when towing. Not towing is a different story though. and if you are going to use it for both then you are making a difference. But like I said earlier. The mini vs prius.. The mini uses way more recycled materials in construction than the prius and still gets great gas millage.. That is green... ( in my book) And by giving away the old parts of my trailer, and recycling plastic and aluminum parts I did an ok job of being green while restoring my trailer. The old wood I used in my fireplace to keep the house warm last winter.
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