I towed a caravan with an electric car and it was a DISASTER – you’re still better off with diesel

I

SCHOOL’S out. Sun’s in the sky. Time for an August long weekender in the caravan at the seaside.

Just one problem, though. I’m test-driving an electric car at the moment.

With a big SUV with 280 miles in the battery, I thought I had the perfect wagon for a family trip away.

Caravan loaded. Ankle-biters ready. Everything was good to go.

It was only when I realised that I’d dropped 120 miles of range in 35 minutes with the caravan hitched — we were just 28 miles up the road — that I might have made a mistake.

We are all supposed to be driving electric cars by 2030.

But I can tell you one thing, anyone who needs to tow a caravan will be at the wheel of second-hand diesel and petrol cars for years to come.

Now I had a dilemma on my hands.

There aren’t any fast chargers at the seaside at Withernsea.

Just two 7kW trickle chargers at Tesco and the leisure centre.

Checking zap-map.com, it told me my best bet was to take a detour to Morrisons at Brough.

If you have ever felt unpopular in your life, you don’t know the half of it.

Try waiting for an EV charger to become available when you’ve got a caravan on the back and everyone is trying to do the Saturday shop.

Security came over and asked me to unhitch the caravan.

And put it where?

At which point I decided to cut my losses and try the local Porsche dealer, which I could see had a 150kW rapid charger.

It was only because it was opening hours and the manager Jim turned out to be a nice bloke that he let me recharge for free.

It gave me enough juice to reach the seaside, albeit four hours and 20 minutes after leaving home.

In that time we had covered a total distance of 94 miles.

How long would it take a holidaymaker to go from Newcastle to Weymouth with an EV pulling a caravan? A very long time.

The donkeys would be tucked up in bed for the night.

I’m not here to find a new way to bash electric cars.

Because this Skoda Enyaq is a lovely piece of kit.

Smooth, plush, easy, pulls nicely, lots of kit, lots of space. One of the best EVs on the road today.

This is just another example of how the Government hasn’t thought this through.

There are something like 555,000 touring caravans in the UK.

Plus God knows how many people who tow building equipment, horses, boats, track-dayers with race cars and bikes.

What are they expected to do?

Electric cars are rubbish at towing things. You get somewhere between a quarter and a third of the car’s normal range.

The rapid charging infrastructure is rubbish and the charging bays are even worse.

Park nose-first with a caravan on the back and you block the car park.

Park sideways-on and you block the other charging bays.

You can’t always unhitch. Especially at motorway services with one-way systems.

You won’t be able to retrieve your caravan afterwards.

We need extra-long charging bays, like truck stops, with canopies and lighting and CCTV, like a petrol station.

Otherwise you are a sitting duck.

I’ve said it before but I’ve been in journalism long enough to know that one day something terrible is going to happen with no security and no one about to help.

On a brighter note, we’re going back to Withernsea in a week or two.

And we’re going in a diesel.

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Patrick

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