You may remember my beginning EV towing tests from last July where I used a Volkswagen ID.4 EV to tow both a Safari Condo Alto and a MyPod XT trailer. The mileage range while towing an EV trailer was less than spectacular, with a loss of 50% range at highway speeds being typical. Of course, this contributes to range anxiety and a lot more charging stops than you may have planned for during a camping trip. Read about my first test HERE.
Towing a pod…
Now, this really isn’t the fault of the EV tow vehicles. Most RV trailers aren’t designed with aerodynamics in mind. Not only are they tall and wide, camping trailers also have air conditioners, fan vents, ladders, awnings and all sorts of turbulence-inducing objects sitting or hung on them.
While many think that trailer weight is an important factor in mileage loss while towing with an EV, I think it’s really about wind resistance. This is a known issue with any petrol-powered tow vehicle where a 50% loss in gas mileage is possible, especially at 70 mph. That’s why smaller campers are better for towing with an EV.
Back to the ’70s
However, there was indeed a full-size RV trailer design that would clamshell down to around 4 ft. tall while towing, but then raise its roof to a full 6 ft.-plus interior in a few minutes at the touch of a button. It was the Hi-Lo trailer, and my parents had one in the ’70s.
It’s long gone, but I still have memories of towing it first with my dad’s Plymouth station wagon and later with a GMC 1500 truck. In fact, in the early ’80s my parents drove it from Maryland to Alaska and back, which was quite a trip.
Is there a modern trailer like this?
Well, Hi-Lo has been out of business for more than a decade, but I found a few other manufacturers building something similar, and even better. Enter the TrailManor camper, which not only raises the roof, it also extends fore and aft for some serious interior space.
I’m asking for a Lightning to test towing range
So, what would the range of an F-150 Lightning truck be if it was towing a TrailManor camper? Well, I’m pitching the idea to both Ford and TrailManor to provide loaner vehicles this fall. You may remember that Ford promised me an F-150 Lightning to test last summer, but due to production delays they supplied me with an F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid instead. Still an interesting test, but I’m ready to try out a Lightning as soon as I can get my hands on one.
And if this all works out, I’ll try a few cross-country test drives this fall. If my SWAG calculations are correct, then instead of losing 50% range while towing a conventional trailer, an F-150 Lightning might only lose 20% to 25% of towing range with a TrailManor camper.
Do you have a Hi-Lo or TrailManor trailer?
If any of you have a Hi-Lo or TrailManor trailer and can share your towing mpg using a gasoline, diesel or electric tow vehicle, please leave this information in the comments below. This is getting really interesting.
Let’s play safe out there….
Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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