With these two trips giving an indication of ‘real world’ range while towing, our sights were set on Bristol – a 99-mile trip to return car and caravan. Although this longer journey prompted a degree of range anxiety, I began playing with speed whenever road conditions allowed.
Relatively empty roads interspersed with junctions and roundabouts saw large spikes on the energy graph due to the stop-start nature, so much so that I could almost plot our journey on energy usage alone. The opposite applied when we encountered heavier traffic, where lower speeds created a flatter graph. Towing at 60mph saw the graph spiral upwards, using much more energy than a 10mph speed increase would suggest. From the outset, weight versus aerodynamics was the subject of debate. When crossing hillier parts of our route, weight seemed to be the dominant factor, but aerodynamics appeared to take over when towing at faster speeds on dual carriageways, etc.
In for a penny, the Mendips were navigated once more and, unsurprisingly, reduced our predicted range as speed was maintained regardless of gradient. However, once crested, the regenerative braking began recharging the battery, the range increased, and the outskirts of Bristol used far less power than previous parts of our journey. I began using electricity with abandon, pumping out 80’s classics on the stereo, cranking up the heating to unprecedented levels, and surprising other motorists when traffic lights changed to green.
Pulling into Bailey’s Bristol HQ was something of an anti-climax. I’d anticipated a nail-biting final few miles, perhaps phoning ahead with news of a flat battery, but I rounded the corner with an astonishing 54-miles of power left. At the back of my mind, returning car and caravan on the back of a Green Flag truck was a possibility, but we had enough juice for another overnight stay, albeit more local.
Are EV’s the future of caravanning? With 2030 fast approaching and alternative fuel sources grabbing fewer newspaper column inches, this may be a glimpse into the next decade. Just a few years ago, as a driving judge for The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Towcar Awards, the electrically powered entrants did little to suggest a real caravan holiday was possible. Technology is forging ahead and although the infrastructure isn’t quite there yet, campsites with fast chargers and electric vehicles that can tow a caravan 100-miles (or more) are reassuring indicators of future caravanning trips. What’s more, EV towing manners could make it a very relaxing trip indeed.