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Unleashing the Power of Battery Electric Trucks: A Towing Analysis

  • 🚚 Battery electric trucks have advantages in torque and stability but face challenges in range when towing heavy loads.
  • 📊 The author conducted a detailed analysis to determine the actual towing needs based on their driving patterns and trips over the past 5 years.
  • 🔋 The analysis considered factors like trip distance, terrain, speed, temperature, and charging infrastructure, revealing that a 340-mile range BEV truck may be sufficient for many users.
  • 🛣️ The author shared insights on their towing routes, charging strategy, and the impact of factors such as trailer weight, cargo weight, terrain, temperature, and speed on the range.
  • 🚗 Non-towing use of a BEV truck, representing 83% of driving, is well-suited for general purposes like hauling, farming, and daily commuting.
  • 🤔 While 100% of towing trips were theoretically possible, about 28% were rated as “difficult,” particularly for longer-distance camping trips.
  • 🛣️ The article suggests solutions for towing with a 340-mile range, including slowing down, reducing weight, camping closer to home, using destination charging, and considering alternative RV options.
  • 🌐 The current L3 charging infrastructure is identified as a limitation, and pull-through L3 chargers are seen as crucial for mainstream adoption of BEV trucks for longer-distance towing.
  • 🌍 The potential market for 340-mile range BEV trucks is estimated to be up to 85%, considering how people use their trucks for hauling trailers, cargo, and off-road activities.
  • 🚗 The author concludes that a BEV truck with a 340-mile range can meet their personal needs with minor adjustments to routes and expectations, emphasizing the overall benefits of BEVs.

In the ever-evolving landscape of electric vehicles (EVs), the spotlight is now on Battery Electric Trucks (BEV). These trucks, heralded for their superior torque and stability, are making strides in the automotive industry. However, a crucial question looms over them – can they handle the demands of towing heavy loads over long distances? In this blog post, we delve into a comprehensive analysis conducted by an experienced truck owner and mechanic, exploring the towing capabilities of BEV trucks and the nuances that shape their range.

Understanding the Challenges

1. The Power Dilemma

Battery electric trucks boast powerful, high-torque electric motors and a lower center of gravity, making them stable on the road. However, the Achilles’ heel lies in their range, especially when towing hefty trailers. Towing demands a substantial amount of power, and here’s where the predicament arises.

2. The Weighty Conundrum

Towing, by its nature, involves substantial weight, and the aerodynamics of many trailers mimic that of a brick wall. While electric vehicles excel on the power front, the real challenge surfaces with the weight and cost of batteries. Currently available BEV trucks tend to get pricey if one desires a range exceeding 340 miles.

A Personal Journey of Discovery

The author, a seasoned BEV owner and mechanic, embarked on a journey to assess the viability of BEV trucks, particularly for towing purposes. Their aim was to understand the market and find a truck that met both their needs and budget. Armed with a meticulous five-year driving history, they scrutinized the factors influencing range during towing, offering valuable insights.

The Methodical Analysis

  1. Route Cataloging
    • Compiled a list of every route taken over the past 5 years.
  2. Key Factors Identification
    • Analyzed factors influencing truck range, including trip distance, terrain, speed, temperature, and charging infrastructure.
  3. Data Refinement
    • Filtered out simpler trips and grouped others, ensuring inclusion of all challenging routes.
  4. Detailed Spreadsheet for Complex Routes
    • Created a separate spreadsheet for difficult routes, considering every leg of the journey, chargers needed, and reserve range.
  5. Range Calculations
    • Utilized data on speed, temperature, and terrain effects, applying cumulative loss calculations for trailer weight, cargo weight, terrain, temperature, and speed.
  6. Trip Assessment
    • Evaluated each trip’s feasibility and difficulty level based on route details and the need for trailer removal during L3 charging.

Decoding the Data Table

  • Trips: Common routes, including challenging ones.
  • Distance: One-way distance to the destination.
  • Trailer/Weight/Speed/Temperature: Factors influencing range, including trailer type, weight, speed limits, and temperature variations.
  • Charging/Charges: Charging strategy and number of charges.
  • Range: Best estimate of BEV truck range under specific conditions.

Towing Solutions and Beyond

  1. Speed Control
    • Acknowledged the significant impact of speed on range and suggested slowing down when towing.
  2. Weight Management
    • Highlighted the surprising impact of weight on towing and cargo, emphasizing the need to lighten the load.
  3. Proximity Camping
    • Advocated for camping closer to home, a strategy aligned with the habits of many RVers.
  4. Destination Charging
    • Explored the potential of destination charging, even at L1, and its viability for longer stays.
  5. Alternative RV Options
    • Discussed emerging trends in electrified RVs with lighter builds and larger battery packs, potentially revolutionizing long-distance towing.

Infrastructure Challenges and Market Potential

  • Pull-Through Chargers
    • Identified the need for pull-through L3 chargers for mainstream BEV truck adoption for longer-distance towing.
  • Market Potential
    • Estimated the potential market for 340-mile range BEV trucks, considering towing habits, cargo, and off-road usage.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, the analysis paints a nuanced picture of BEV trucks’ towing capabilities. While challenges exist, solutions are within reach, and the market potential is vast. The transition to BEV trucks for towing purposes requires addressing infrastructure gaps and embracing innovative solutions. As the automotive industry evolves, BEV trucks may soon become the go-to choice for towing enthusiasts and everyday users alike.

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