Charging ahead – toward an electric automotive experience…
By Garth W Cane
The automotive side of the RV industry has been very active over the past three years, adapting to the shift from internal combustion engines to electric and alternative fuelled vehicles.
Since the pandemic has receded from the centre of attention, more people are going camping, and the campgrounds are bustling. While electric tow vehicles are just starting to make their presence felt on the RV roads to adventure, there is no doubt that as we progress toward the 2030s, there will be more and more EVs on the road, both as tow vehicles, and as motorhomes.
Since legislation alone cannot possibly stimulate the growth of R&D in the EV sector, the Canadian Government is actively promoting the development of electric powered vehicles to help the environment, and charging stations are appearing along the nation’s highways, at campgrounds, and at auto dealerships. Similar progress is being made throughout the U.S.A., and there is a move to standardize the charging processes, which will eventually make the process much more convenient.
While the electrification of the automotive sector will ultimately change the way we get around North America, the move away from the internal combustion engine (ICE) is not progressing quite as quickly as the legislators seem to think it should. Battery technology, supply chain considerations, and the sheer volume of raw materials required to bring about a quantum shift in the way we get around will no doubt be the underlying factors that determine just how long it will take to shift away from ICE to EV power.
There are also a full range of logistical considerations within the EV revolution. Not the least is where to locate charging stations, and how long the charging process will take. As I said last year, if you tow with an electric vehicle, you may have to disconnect your trailer before connecting to the charger, as not all chargers are configured in locations that RV’ers would classify as ”Drive-Thru” charging sites. We may have to get used to limited time access to chargers – otherwise, it could take hours rather than minutes to “top up” our vehicles, and the wait times could be substantial.
Home-based EV charging stations are an option for those who can take advantage of this opportunity. Many Canadians are installing a charging outlet at their homes and local utilities companies will often finance the installation of a charger for as little as $50 per month on top of your regular electric bill.
“EnerSavings Solutions” is a Canadian company that is eager to lead the “Charge”, assisting homeowners and condominium owners across Canada to navigate the $680 Million Government Z.E.V.I.P fund designed to create a cleaner and greener Canada. The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) will invest $680 million by 2027 to improve access to EV charging.
Along with a variety of home charging solutions, Ford Motors has North America’s largest public charging network, with more than 63,000 charging plugs and growing. Built-in charging solutions, such as cloud-connected navigation, route customers to nearby charging stations, recommend where to charge on trips and provide easy access and payment via FordPass for a seamless customer experience.
For best battery life, I am told that you can often recharge in 10 minutes at a fast charger. But charging more than four times in a week with a fast charger may reduce the life of your battery. It is best to not let your charge go below 20%, and it is advisable to disconnect from the charger when your battery charge is up to 80%.
For RV campers who are towing heavy trailers, the internal combustion engine is not dead, and the auto industry is still building gas engines.
Here is the roster of RV Tow Vehicles we are recommending for 2023.
Click on the BLUE hot links to open a new browser window at the manufacturer’s website…
Ford Explorer helps you make the most of your next big adventure with a rear wheel drive platform and your choice of 4 powerful engines. For additional traction, there’s available Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System and 7 selectable drive modes. It has the ability to tow a maximum of 5,600 lbs. using the 3.73 rear axle ratio.
Ford continues to produce the 2023 Expedition, its flagship SUV, for families seeking epic adventures and memory-making road trips. With an expanded lineup of models to choose from, new driver-assist and connected technologies, and a new Timberline series, the most off-road-capable in its class. The Expedition equipped with a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine has a maximum towing capability of 9,300 pounds when equipped with the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package
Ford Maverick (The Pickup)
Equipped with a 2.0-litre EcoBoost® engine, the compact pickup builds on the FX4 Off-Road Package with an all-wheel-drive system new to Maverick. It can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel. Five selectable drive modes make it easy for customers to quickly tailor the on-road and off-road capability of Maverick Tremor to pavement, mud, sand or snow, as well as for towing conditions. Maverick Tremor does not sacrifice its Built Ford Tough credential for great capability. The compact truck offers a maximum tow rating of 2,000 pounds and payload rating of 1,200 pounds.
Ford’s effort to create an all-electric F-150 is remarkable because it combines the standard truck’s dimensions, with substantial upgrades to areas like storage and mobile power support. Ford F-150 Lightning vehicles include a boost for its standard range battery models to an EPA-estimated targeted range of 240 miles and the addition of Pro Trailer Hitch Assist technology.
An industry first, Pro Trailer Hitch Assist automatically controls steering, throttle and brake inputs to make hitching trailers easier. This is standard on the Tow Technology Package, which is available on Pro, XLT and Lariat.
The all-new 2023 F-Series Heavy Super Duty has the best towing available for every trailer type and maximum towing of 40,000 pounds, and payload of 8,000 pounds., The high-output 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel provides 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb.-ft. of torque. F-250, F-350, F-450, and Tremor package each give customers the capability they need with new features like 360-Degree Trailer Camera Package and Onboard Scales for enhanced towing and hauling confidence. Steep grades and heavy loads feel easier with four engines including the all-new 6.8-litre gas, upgraded 7.3-litre gas V8, 6.7-litre Power Stroke diesel V8, and new high-output 6.7-litre Power Stroke diesel V8.
General Motors – GMC
The current generation Canyon debuted in 2014. Since then, GMC has upgraded the mid-size truck over the years to include the AT4 trim and an off-road performance package that adds a 1-inch suspension leveling kit, off-road rocker panel protection, and front and mid skid plates.
The Canyon is available with the 2.5L I-e engine and 6 speed transmission that develops 200 hp, or the 3.6L V6 engine and 8 speed transmissison that develops 308 hp, or the 2.8L turbo diesel with 6 speed transmission that develops 181 hp . Max payload 1578 pounds with the extended Cab and 3.6 V-6. Max trailering is 7700 pounds with the 2.8L Turbo.
The Blazer EV is based on GM’s innovative Ultium Platform. It features an exclusive performance AWD propulsion configuration, unique Wide open Watts mode enabling up to 557 horsepower and up to 648 lb.-ft. of torque. The Blazer EV also offers Chevrolet’s latest driver-assistance technologies, Reverse Automatic Braking and Advanced Park Assist. They complement the standard Chevrolet Safety Assist suite of technologies, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and IntelliBeam.
The 2023 Tahoe RST Performance Edition is designed for those who want the best of both worlds the everyday comfort and capability of a full-size SUV. Chevrolet delivers more power by introducing Chevrolet Performance induction and exhaust systems to this package that increase output of the standard 6.2L V-8 to 433 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque. Performance does not come at the expense of true SUV capability, as the Performance Edition offers the same 7,600-pound trailering capacity when equipped with the optional 6.2L engine.
Offering up to 640 km of driving range on a full charge, up to 10,000 pounds trailering capacity, and loaded with high-tech innovations, the Chevy Silverado EV is going to be a major factor in the future of EV RV towing.
GM-estimates indicate that more than 660 horsepower and 780 lb.-ft of torque will be available when the Silverado EV production units become available, and they will offer up to 10.2kW of offboard power with optional equipment.
The Silverado EV will be offered exclusively in Crew Cab models. The eTrunk provides enough space to fit a large hard-side suitcase – so there will be lots of space to load your gear. The modular console features a capacity of just over 26 litres, meaning a lunch cooler can easily fit inside. The RST model features a fixed-glass roof, which offers expansive visibility, increased headroom and an enhanced experience for both front and rear passengers.
The 2024 Sierra HD lineup includes 2500HD and 3500HD models, in Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab configurations, with dual-rear-wheel models available on the 3500HD. The available enhanced 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel, paired with the 10-speed Allison transmission, now delivers 470 hp (at 2800 rpm) and 975 ft-lbs. of torque (at 1600 rpm). Specifically, low-end torque production increases up to 25 per cent, compared to the current model, for improved towing performance.
The Allision 10-speed automatic transmission is now paired with the Sierra HD’s standard 6.6L gas engine with 401 horsepower and 464 lb.-ft. of torque over longer periods. Also available is the Pro Safety Plus Package which includes Rear Cross Traffic Braking and the Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert.
Since 1948, Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s: the Defender, Discovery, Discovery SportRover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar, and Range Rover Evoque. The Range Rover Velar offers a quiet cabin, thanks to refinement technologies including the pioneering Active Road Noise Cancellation. You can choose from the Velar P250 Dynamic SE 2.0L Turbocharged Ingenium I-4 (247hp / 269 lb-ft), the Velar P340 Dynamic SE Mild Hybrid 3.0L Turbocharged Ingenium I-6 (335hp / 354 lb-ft), or the Velar P400 Dynamic HSE Mild Hybrid 3.0L Turbocharged Ingenium I-6 (395hp / 406 lb-ft).
Powertrain is exclusive to the P400 Ingenium gas engine, utilizing Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology to optimize power delivery and fuel economy by harnessing energy normally lost under deceleration and braking. Maximum towing capacity is 8184 pounds.
2023 Nissan Pathfinder2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek joins the Nissan lineup. Offered in four-wheel drive only, Pathfinder Rock Creek is designed for buyers seeking a higher level of fun and adventure, without compromising the family comfort and conveniences of other Pathfinder grade levels. 2023 Pathfinder Rock Creek also offers increased available horsepower (295 hp versus 284) and torque (270 lb-ft versus 259) over the standard grades when using premium fuel, due to revised fuel mapping.
The standard 310-horsepower 3.8-litre direct injection V6 engine, which was all-new for 2020 with 93 per cent new or redesigned parts, offers best-in-class horsepower1. Torque is rated at 281 lb-ft. Matched to the engine is a 9-speed automatic transmission designed to maximize efficiency and provide strong acceleration. The Frontier’s towing capacity is rated at up to 6,490 pounds (2,944 kg) (maximum, when properly equipped). New for 2022 is standard Trailer Sway Control, which detects sway and automatically applies the brakes to eliminate it for a more confident towing experience.
Stellantis – Chrysler – Dodge – Jeep – Ram Trucks
2023 Chrysler Pacifica. The first minivan to offer both gas and hybrid powertrains and still the only one in the segment to offer a plug-in hybrid, the Pacifica four-model lineup includes the premium people-mover Pinnacle model, which features the most luxurious interior in its class. Pacifica delivers an athletic exterior appearance, available all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability paired with Pacifica’s class-exclusive Stow ‘n Go seating, more standard safety features than any vehicle in the industry, next-generation Uconnect 5 connectivity and loads of comfort, and the ability to tow 3000 pounds.
The 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8 engine on the Durango SRT 392 delivers 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, and best-in-class towing capability of 8,700 pounds, The classic 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, standard on the Durango R/T and available on the Citadel, produces a best-in-class 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. Standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, specifically calibrated for the Dodge Durango, optimizes shift points and delivers maximum torque to all four wheels.
Jeep Gladiator’s standard 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine with ESS delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on Sport, Mojave and Rubicon, and a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on Overland and optional on Sport, Mojave and Rubicon. Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine feature up to 1,710 pounds of payload and up to 7,700 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package. Gladiator offers an available 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with ESS
The standard Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6-powered Grand Cherokee, rated up to 290 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque, tows up to 6,200 pounds, while the available award-winning 5.7-liter V-8 packs 357 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque with best-in-class towing capacity of up to 7,200 pounds. Available Off-Road Group delivers Trail Rated performance, class-leading traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording; includes high-strength steel skid plates, electronic limited slip differential rear axle, 18-inch aluminum wheels and rugged, all-season performance tires
2023 Wagoneer features a 5.7-liter V-8 engine – rated at 392 horsepower and 404 lb.-ft. of torque – fitted with the next generation of eTorque 48-volt hybrid with fuel-saving technologies, including cylinder deactivation and Variable Cam Timing (VCT). All-new Hurricane Twin Turbo I-6 engine, standard on Wagoneer Series II and Wagoneer Series III, with 420 horsepower and 468 lb.-ft. of torque. The Selec-Terrain traction management system and Quadra-Lift air suspension delivers a smooth ride and up to 10 inches of ground clearance. Best-in-class towing capability of up to 10,000 lbs.
The 2023 Ram 1500 features up to 12,750 pounds of towing capability and 2,300 pounds of payload. The eTorque 48-volt mild hybrid system delivers improved fuel efficiency in both V-6 (standard) and V-8 configurations. The Ram 1500 is America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup with 480 lb.-ft. of torque, delivering up to 1,000 miles of range on a single tank of fuel.
The Ram Heavy Duty is the no-compromise benchmark for durability, extreme performance, comfort, luxury materials, innovation and technology. The most powerful, most capable pickup in the segment offers a towing capacity of up to 37,090 pounds and a payload capacity of 7,680 pounds. Ram was the first to achieve the 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque milestone with the Cummins I-6 Turbo Diesel,. Class-leading ride and handling is accomplished via a class-exclusive link-coil rear (2500) suspension system with optional rear air suspension (2500 and 3500).
Toyota – Lexus
The Toyota RAV4 is an all-wheel drive model designated for adventure beyoond the pavement. Starting with the XLE trim level, this model adds many trail-rated features, including 19″ wheels, bridge-type roof rails, a dynamic torque vectoring differential and a standard towing package that allows it to tow 3500 pounds.
The Toyota 4Runner An authentic body-on-frame chassis featuring a four-link rear axle and coil spring suspension that overcomes punishing conditions while conferring impressive ride quality. Under the hood, a 4.0L V6 delivers 270 peak horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. This is mated to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission featuring sequential shift mode, plus either on-demand or full-time 4WD and a variety of go-anywhere handling and control technologies, depending on model. Plus, with its integrated tow hitch receiver and wiring harness, every 4Runner is ready to tow up to 2,268 kgs (5,000 lbs.).
The 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Its Toyota-innovated D-4S Injection system combines direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors to help optimize efficiency, power and emissions in all conditions. The Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission maximizes Highlander’s acceleration and highway merging capability All V6 models are equipped to tow 5,000-pounds and include Trailer Sway Control (TSC) which uses the Vehicle Stability Control to help control unwanted trailer movement.
The i-FORCE 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 uses DOHC 24-valve cylinder heads and Dual VVTi systems to yield 389 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque. Top dog in the Tundra line is the available i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain with 437 horsepower at 5,200 rpm, and a staggering 583 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 2,400 rpm. 12,000-Pound Maximum Towing Capacity
The lower center of gravity and enhancements in vehicle dynamics combine for the increased performance of the 2.4L turbo on the Lexus NX 350. The eight-speed transmission supports the luxury crossover’s 275 horsepower and 317 lb. ft. of torque. Combined, the NX is propelled a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds, over a half-second quicker than the earlier model, with an EPA-estimated 25 MPG combined. Additionally, the first-ever NX 250 features a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with start/stop functionality mated with an eight-speed transmission. The powerplant produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb. ft. of torque, while having an EPA-estimated 28 combined miles per US gallon.