EV tows caravan as bowserless Big Lap dream moves closer

Published: June 22, 2022

While some – including former PM Scott Morrison – may find it impossible to believe, electric vehicles will one day be able to tow all manner of caravans … and that day may not be too far away!

Even those who have long scoffed at the idea of a bowserless Big Lap are now being forced to acknowledge that the case for living the dream on a charge is an increasingly overwhelming one.

One person who needs no convincing is keen caravanner, Keith Blackburn from Canberra, who has become something of a pioneer in electric vehicle van towing.

The Canberra Times reports that Keith was an early convert to EVs and took delivery of a Tesla Model 3 long range model back in 2019, the same year that Scott Morrison declared that electric vehicles would ‘ruin the weekend’.

electric vehicle tows caravan

Determined to prove the one-time PM wrong, Keith set out to show his Tesla could take him on decent length trips … and that the van could come too!

While his Model 3 was factory-rated to tow one tonne, Tesla didn’t offer a towbar so Keith tracked down a US company, Stealth Hitches, which did. The Canberra Times reports that the national Tesla owners club, which was keen to support Keith’s quest, had it uprated and compliant to tow the full 1000kg.

The next challenge was finding a caravan which fell well under the Tesla’s tow rating and provided a safety margin. Keith settled on a unique teardrop-shaped design from Canada called the Alto, which weighed in at 766kg. It boasts a lightweight sandwich-type construction with electric actuators to raise and lower the roof so that under tow it has far less wind resistance than a normal van. However, once on site, the roof can quickly be raised to a conventional height.

When not towing, Keith’s dual motor Tesla long range usually has a range of around 500km.

In order to test the capabilities of his new set-up, Keith towed his van from the South Coast of NSW, up the Clyde Mountain, and back to Canberra … all on a single battery charge.

“My calculations on the net rise and fall in the highway from the coast to home indicated that, with regenerative power to assist, the journey was achievable without a recharge,” the retired statistician to the Canberra Times. “It was always going to be touch and go, but I knew that if I got really low on battery, there were recharge stations at Braidwood and Bungendore as a back-up.”

Keith safely made the trip with an indicated range of just seven kilometres left after the 198-kilometre journey.

“The car wasn’t as fully charged as it should have been and my advice to anyone who wants to tow with an EV is to do the maths beforehand,” he told the Canberra Times. “Towing does greatly affect your driving range but by how much depends on the topography of your route.”

  • How long do you think it will be before you’re trading in your ‘Cruiser or your Pajero and hitching up the van to an EV? Comment below.

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7 Comments
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Barry Huntington
6 days ago

Wow, a 150km journey before having to recharge with a long range Tesla and a super light van. The Gray Nomads are going to be having lots of enforced rest stops on their big laps.

Palmer Rob
6 days ago

With a 4wd ute towing a 19.60 ft caravan we get 380km on one tank. So when your average trip is 800kms this electric car business is only around town and neighbouring suburb. Unless you have lots of efficient charge stations you would not make it around the best of West Australia. Thats why its NOT Suitable for towing nirmal distances in WA.

Peter Wilson
5 days ago

Not really a positive article (as encouraged in your Forum Rules). What is the relevance of reference to “former one time PM Scott Morrison”? And proving him wrong.

Evernew98
5 days ago
Reply to  Peter Wilson

Well he did say that EVs would ruin our weekends!

Shane Clark
13 hours ago
Reply to  Evernew98

And Scott Morrison has just been proven to be 100% correct.

Murray Arundell
5 days ago

Good luck to him but judging on these figures quoted in the article I hope he’s planning to travel anti clockwise around Australia. If he’s heading West across the Nullarbor and the Roaring Forties are blowing he could be in trouble.

Paul Ryle
4 days ago

We have a RAV4 AWD hybrid, not fully electric, but has a towing capacity of 1500Kg. We tow an Adria Action 361 lightweight caravan (Tare weight 1000Kg) with ease, and no worries about range (about 450Km on a full 40L tank of unleaded). The electric motors have excellent torque and are very good for braking (regenerative assist).

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