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Lutz

Towing with a Tesla across the Alps

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In their December issue, the German 'Caravaning' magazine published an article about their practical experiences of towing with a Tesla Model X. The journey started just north of Munich with a rented Tesla hitched to a 1400kg caravan (all Teslas are fitted ex-works with a towbar, by the way). Although the car is approved to tow up to 2250kg they decided that discretion was the better part of valour and not to tempt fate too much by sticking to a 1400kg caravan. They made it to the South Tyrol in Italy and back to Munich alright although they were biting their nails on occasions whether the battery range would last. In fact, the morning after they reached their destination the car refused to start altogether because even the regular 12v battery was dead, too.

The biggest problem en route was the relative lack of 'supercharger' terminals where one would be ready to go again in 30 to 45 minutes and even the less powerful chargers were often located at hotels where they felt rather uneasy about asking for a 'fill-up' considering they were towing a caravan.

The article makes quite interesting reading.

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I am fairly sure that someone posted a Youtube link to this a while back.   Made interesting viewing.   See here?   I wonder what they would do if you were on a motorway and the car cut out due to battery being low.   You will need to be towed into the nearest charging point but if you have a caravan on the back this could pose a problem.

Edited by Durbanite

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I did a 560 mile solo road trip earlier this year, from the Midlands to the North Coast of Scotland - a long day but very pleasurable - I have a theoretical 960 mile solo range on my Touareg, but "only" 750 in the real world so didn't need to refuel.

I did a paper exercise using a Tesla S solo, so bigger battery and longer range than the X - we'd have had to stop for an early lunch at Abington on the M74 for a full supercharge - but then we'd have needed to stop at Aviemore for 3-4 hours as no more superchargers on our route - so our journey of 11 hours including stops would have taken 14-15.

EVs need better range/recharge times before I could consider one solo - much,much better ones before towing with one.

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5 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

I am fairly sure that someone posted a Youtube link to this a while back.   Made interesting viewing.   See here?   I wonder what they would do if you were on a motorway and the car cut out due to battery being low.   You will need to be towed into the nearest charging point but if you have a caravan on the back this could pose a problem.

The difference between the Youtube link that you refer to and the Caravaning magazine is that in the Youtube example they were only towing 80km, Caravaning towed 580km.

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1 minute ago, Lutz said:

The difference between the Youtube link that you refer to and the Caravaning magazine is that in the Youtube example they were only towing 80km, Caravaning towed 580km.

Was that on one charge or several charges?  I think there may be some other clips on Youtube but not sure.

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15 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

Was that on one charge or several charges?  I think there may be some other clips on Youtube but not sure.

It was one 'supercharge' charge and a 'top up' later but not on a 'supercharge' terminal, in order to make it to their destination. They had two stops on the way back as well, but both were 'superchargers'.

Edited by Lutz

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43 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

I am fairly sure that someone posted a Youtube link to this a while back.   Made interesting viewing.   See here?   I wonder what they would do if you were on a motorway and the car cut out due to battery being low.   You will need to be towed into the nearest charging point but if you have a caravan on the back this could pose a problem.

You'd be booked for causing an obstruction - out of fuel/battery isn't an emergency it's bad planning - you'd need to call your breakdown service for them to deal with you in accordance with your agreement - if you have no breakdown cover, the police will call a private contractor but you have to pay the £150 just to get you off the motorway.

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Going orf topic a bit - Friend of ours ran her new diesel company car out of fuel on a dual carriageway, but the police felt sorry for her as it wasn't strictly her fault so never gave any mention of a fine. Was back in the mid 90's & our friend had picked up her nice shiny new Peugeot 405 deisel estate after marvelling at the supposed fuel economy figures. . She drove it round for a coup,e of weeks & then took it in to the dealers to have its 'run in' service after about a 1000 miles as was the norm then. When she got it back she filled up with diesel & went off to see her clients - she was then a drug & alcohol dependancy councillor.  

So she's happily driving around and looking at her fuel gauge it is still telling her that she's got 3/4 of a tank even though she's covered about 400 miles since filling up, so she was marvelling at what ever genius had worked on her car in service to give it such remarkable economy when it shuddered &ground to a halt, clients on board.  

Oh, well it's covered by breakdown & they gave her a priority slot after she explained who was on board & sure enough they turned up about 20 minutes later. The bloke starts checking the car over & can't find anything obvious so asks if she's got fuel - yeah 3/4 of a tank she replies. Mmm. Must be a blocked fuel line then so his first port of call is to open the filler cap. Big whoosh of air as the cap comes off, followed by a noise from under the car that sounded like something plastic cracking or splitting - or expanding!! Fuel gauge instantly drops to totally empty. My friend looks at the ground wishing a big hole would appear in it that she could jump in to. Anyway, by this time her husband has found them in his car,that has plenty of fuel in, so she does what most women would do in this situation & drives off in his, leaving him to sort her car out. It goes back to the dealer where they find that during service the fuel tank  breather had been kinked & therefore blocked. New plastic fuel tank later & they had the car back, although it wasn't quite the fuel efficient car it was the first time they had it back from service!!!! 

Edited by Woodie106

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Until/unless electric cars really take off across the country availability of charging points will always be an issue, and even then they will never be as straightforward as filling stations. Imagine the infrastructure and power supply needed for a motorway service area to be able to charge 100 or more cars at the same time, or a charging station in a small town to charge (say) 50 cars per hour!

Its bad enough having to queue for 10 minutes for a few cars to fill up in front of you, but what if the queue was waiting for even 2 supercharges!

 

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I'm wondering what happens with all these people who live in terraced houses - will there be cables trailing across the pavements into their front doors over night or will the rest of us be paying for footpaths & roads to be dug up so charging points can be located at the kerbsides in residential areas or outside blocks of flats.

What do you think the ratio of charging points to houses should be, especially when most people seem to have 2 or three cars. How do you accomodate a visitor who needs to recharge before they can get home? What happens if someone has used all the charging points in the street? Will you have to park around the corner and use someone elses or will you have to creep out at night and unplug a neighbour so you can get to work in the morning:(

Edited by matelodave
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4 minutes ago, matelodave said:

I'm wondering what happens with all these people who live in terraced houses - will there be cables trailing across the pavements into their front doors over night or will the rest of us be paying for footpaths & roads to be dug up so charging points can be located at the kerbsides in residential areas or outside blocks of flats.

What do you think the ratio of charging points to houses should be, especially when most people seem to have 2 or three cars. How do you accomodate a visitor who needs to recharge before they can get home? What happens if someone has used all the charging points in the street? Will you have to park around the corner and use someone elses or will you have to creep out at night and unplug a neighbour so you can get to work in the morning:(

Or if you live in a high rise block!

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28 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Or if you live in a high rise block!

You'd have to join several EHU leads together and dangle them over the balcony:D

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It'll not be long before they have one minute charge times for a 500 mile range.

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8 minutes ago, Paul_B said:

It'll not be long before they have one minute charge times for a 500 mile range.

100 kwh needs how many volts/amps to do that in a minute?

Answer, V x A = 6,000,000 say 26,000 amps at 230 volts - that's high tension spark plug voltage

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It's no doubt a huge infrastructure challenge, and this will take time and money just when it seems the country is bumping along on its RRRRs.   But guess who is going to pay for all this stuff.

I can see an argument for incentivising hybrid vehicles to buy time whilst the new infrastructure appears.

Anyway, this has all been done to death already in a recent topic about where all the electricity will come from.

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1 hour ago, Black Grouse said:

100 kwh needs how many volts/amps to do that in a minute?

Answer, V x A = 6,000,000 say 26,000 amps at 230 volts - that's high tension spark plug voltage

Tesla are certainly making some interesting announcements lately, not only with the one minute charge but also the electric lorry.
It'll also be interesting to see how Ford go if/when they take on board the Lucid brand.

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The new lorry looks interesting 0-60 in 5 seconds and fully loaded at 40t is 20 sec 10000 NM and the roadster has a 0-60 in 1. 9 seconds which is faster than a 2 million pound Bugatti .  

 

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2 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

100 kwh needs how many volts/amps to do that in a minute?

Answer, V x A = 6,000,000 say 26,000 amps at 230 volts - that's high tension spark plug voltage

I can't edit my post now but it does have a glaring error - 26,000 amps at 230 volts ISN'T HT spark plug voltage - but it's still a very high current.

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9 hours ago, matelodave said:

I'm wondering what happens with all these people who live in terraced houses - will there be cables trailing across the pavements into their front doors over night or will the rest of us be paying for footpaths & roads to be dug up so charging points can be located at the kerbsides in residential areas or outside blocks of flats.

The residents of Amsterdam seem to manage, they have towers coming up from the kerb that operate like any other public charging point. Okay it’s not ‘yours’ but neither are the fuel stations.

If you could do 200 miles towing followed by an enforced 45 minute break sounds perfect to me - I’m always ready for a coffee, pee and opportunity to scratch my backside after 3-4 hours towing anyway.

 

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13 minutes ago, FrankBullet said:

The residents of Amsterdam seem to manage, they have towers coming up from the kerb that operate like any other public charging point. Okay it’s not ‘yours’ but neither are the fuel stations.

If you could do 200 miles towing followed by an enforced 45 minute break sounds perfect to me - I’m always ready for a coffee, pee and opportunity to scratch my backside after 3-4 hours towing anyway.

 

Yes, but - try finding a charging point anywhere in the UK that a car+caravan can use - long journeys put you in very rural countryside wherever you start from in the UK.

Have you noticed the lack of choice in bodystyles among EVs? Where are the estate/CUV/SUV types.

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58 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

Yes, but - try finding a charging point anywhere in the UK that a car+caravan can use - long journeys put you in very rural countryside wherever you start from in the UK.

Have you noticed the lack of choice in bodystyles among EVs? Where are the estate/CUV/SUV types.

That the UK doesn’t invest in it doesn’t mean it’s not possible - as I say, the Dutch manage it.

We could do our main family holiday on a 200 mile towing range, Home-Portsmouth, plug in overnight on the ferry, then drive down to the Vendee with a ‘splash and dash’ on the way.

As for body styles, the architecture of cars is defined by the internal combustion engine - battery and motor propulsion allows a revolution in car design unless you are scared of alienating customers, in which case you end up with the Leaf and Zoe.

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13 minutes ago, FrankBullet said:

That the UK doesn’t invest in it doesn’t mean it’s not possible - as I say, the Dutch manage it.

We could do our main family holiday on a 200 mile towing range, Home-Portsmouth, plug in overnight on the ferry, then drive down to the Vendee with a ‘splash and dash’ on the way.

As for body styles, the architecture of cars is defined by the internal combustion engine - battery and motor propulsion allows a revolution in car design unless you are scared of alienating customers, in which case you end up with the Leaf and Zoe.

The powertrain may define the platform - but modern platforms have every bodystyle built on top of them - EVs haven't got there yet - not a lot between Leaf/Zoe and Tesla X

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1 hour ago, Black Grouse said:

The powertrain may define the platform - but modern platforms have every bodystyle built on top of them - EVs haven't got there yet - not a lot between Leaf/Zoe and Tesla X

Errr. ..

There are massive differences between these platforms . .. So please explain your theory.   ??

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3 hours ago, Silverback said:

Errr. ..

There are massive differences between these platforms . .. So please explain your theory.   ??

I think he's saying that most modern cars use the same platforms  for cars / suv's etc, so there is no reason why electric cars wouldn't follow the same once that platform is developed.  

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1 hour ago, Woodie106 said:

I think he's saying that most modern cars use the same platforms  for cars / suv's etc, so there is no reason why electric cars wouldn't follow the same once that platform is developed.  

Indeed they do, the Tesla S and X are built on the same platform, not just similar but exactly the same, I'm sure that in time we'll see the development of further body styles.  

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