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Preventing Damage When Towing Your Electric Vehicle

Expert Advice: Preventing Damage When Towing Your Electric Vehicle

Date
June 14, 2024
author
Mathew Hayden
reading time
5 Min

With EVs becoming increasingly popular, electric vehicle towing services must adapt their approach to meet their unique needs. Within this guide, you will find a range of EV towing tips to prevent damage during a towing, ensuring a safe and efficient process.

Unique Aspects of Electric Vehicles in Towing

Unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts, EV’s power source is not disconnected during towing. Their electric drivetrain and battery remain in place and, because of this, need to be accounted for when carrying out an EV tow.

Battery Placement: EV batteries are often located under the vehicle's floor, making them vulnerable to damage from road debris during improper towing.

Electric Drivetrain: Electric motors can be harmed if the wheels spin freely while towing the vehicle. A key difference between EVs and gas-powered cars is that EVs use regenerative braking. 

When an EV's wheels spin, the electric motor can act as a generator, sending electricity back to the battery. However, this can create excessive resistance during a tow, potentially damaging the motor and battery.

Preparing an Electric Vehicle for Towing

Before calling for an EV towing service, take these steps to prepare your vehicle:

  1. Park in a Safe Location: Engage the parking brake and ensure the vehicle is in a safe, level position away from traffic.
  2. Consult the Owner's Manual: Each EV model may have specific towing instructions. Refer to the manual for detailed information on your vehicle's towing procedures. This may include instructions for:some text
    • Shifting the car into towing mode (if available): Some EVs have a designated towing mode that disengages the electric motor from the wheels.
    • Deactivating safety systems: Certain safety features, like automatic emergency braking, may need to be temporarily disabled during towing.
  3. Power Down the Vehicle: Completely turn off the car and remove the key from the ignition. This helps prevent electrical issues during the towing process.

Choosing the Right Towing Method

There are three main towing methods: flatbed towing, dolly towing, and wheel-lift towing. Here's why flatbed towing for electric cars is generally the safest option:

Correct Towing Method

Flatbed Towing: The EV is completely loaded onto a flatbed tow truck, eliminating any risk of damage to the battery or drivetrain from the wheels spinning. This is the recommended method for all EVs.

Incorrect Towing Methods

Dolly Towing: This method involves lifting the front or rear wheels of the vehicle while the other wheels remain on the ground. While seemingly convenient, we strongly advise against dolly towing for EVs. The free-spinning wheels can cause damage to the electric motor.

Wheel-Lift Towing: Similar to dolly towing, a wheel-lift tow truck lifts one set of wheels while the others stay on the ground. This method also risks damaging the electric motor due to the spinning wheels and should not be used for EVs.

Handling Emergency Towing Situations

If your EV breaks down and requires an emergency EV towing service, remember to stay calm and follow these steps.

Turn on Hazard Lights: Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your situation.

Gather Necessary Information: When contacting a towing company, have your vehicle information (make, model, year) and location ready.

Emergency Kit: Consider keeping an EV-specific emergency kit in your car. This kit could include items like a portable charger adapter, jumper cables for auxiliary batteries (if applicable to your EV model), and a high-visibility vest.

Contact a Towing Service: Call a reputable company with experience in towing EVs.

Choosing a Towing Service

When choosing a towing company, prioritize one with expertise in electric vehicle towing. Look for these indicators:

Certifications and Training: Inquire about certifications or training programs the towing company's technicians have completed specifically for EVs.

Experience: Ask if the company has experience towing various EV models.

Testimonials and Reviews: Research online reviews and testimonials from past customers to gauge the company's reputation for handling EVs.

By choosing a towing service with a proven track record in EV towing, you can ensure your vehicle is towed safely and efficiently.

Final Words

Towing an EV safely requires understanding its unique build. Improper methods can damage the battery and motor. To prevent this:

  • Consult your manual and prepare the vehicle for towing.
  • Always choose a flatbed tow truck for maximum safety.
  • In emergencies, follow the tips above and contact a qualified EV towing service.

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