EV research reveals towing range data

Van News | EV research reveals towing range data | CompleteVan.ie
Towing can reduce an electric vehicle's real-world range by 23-31 per cent.

A recent study conducted by sustainable mobility specialist Arval UK in partnership with the University of Cambridge Transport Studies Unit has shed light on the impact of towing on electric vehicles (EVs). The findings reveal that towing reduces an EV’s real-world range by 23-31 per cent.

The report also delves into the effects of payload on electric Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs). Spoiler alert: payload can significantly impact the range of electric vans.

The data, published in the latest “Electric Vehicles Revealed” report, provides businesses and fleets with data to make informed decisions about the most suitable roles for electric vans and cars and highlights the need for fleet operators to consider new business models when adopting EVs. 

Arval UK conducted the research at UATC’s Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. Rigorous testing was performed on a fleet of 100 electric vehicles using a dynamometer, ensuring accurate and consistent replication of real-world driving scenarios with varying load conditions and towing a 500kg trailer. 

According to the study, mid-size electric vans experienced a range reduction of 7 per cent with a half load and 11 per cent with a full load, while towing resulted in a 24 per cent decrease compared to the unladen real-world maximum range. 

For large electric vans, a half load caused an 11 per cent range reduction, a full load led to a 14 per cent decrease, and towing resulted in a substantial 31 per cent lower range than the real-world maximum. These figures indicate a 20 per cent drop in range when transitioning from a fully loaded van to one towing a trailer.

Interestingly, the research also found that EV cars experienced a 23 per cent reduction in electric range when towing. In comparison, diesel vans experience a degradation in fuel efficiency of 15 per cent when towing with a 100 per cent payload.

Simon Cook, Arval UK’s LCV Consultant and a contributor to the report, stated, “For commercial vehicles, which typically tow while also carrying a full load, the research found range was reduced by between a quarter and a third over the real-use figure.”

The report also notes that the range and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles are improving rapidly, which could make electric vans and cars a more viable option for businesses in the future.

Cook added: “Electric vehicles are very good for the act of towing – their smooth and instant power delivery really helps. However, the range and charging infrastructure mean electric vans won’t work for all businesses' needs at this point in time. Arval’s data empowers fleet managers and corporations to work out which jobs electric vans can do now. It also shows that when upcoming new longer-range electric vans are available, how these could be used by businesses.”

Addressing the challenges of electric vehicle adoption in the wider LCV market will require significant effort, particularly for larger eLCVs that cover higher mileage. The report suggests that fleets operating such vehicles may need to reconsider their entire transport and logistics business model. Potential solutions could involve increasing the number of vehicles and adopting more localised operations. However, this transition currently incurs a significant increase in costs.

To read the research report, visit: bnpp.lk/EVrevealtowingresearch.

Published on July 15, 2023