The world has been talking about electric vehicles (EVs) being the future for years. But technology is not yet at the point where a full EV can do everything a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) can. This is where hybrids shine.
One of the biggest issues with EVs has been their ability, or lack of ability in some cases, to tow successfully and safely. But luckily for those who don’t want to keep using ICE vehicles, hybrids exist to give drivers the best of both worlds!
Hybrids vs EVs vs PHEVs
When deciding if an EV or hybrid is right for you, it helps to know the differences between them.
EVs, as mentioned before, are fully electric vehicles. They don’t use a gasoline engine, instead relying on an electric motor and battery.
Hybrids have a design that combines EVs and standard vehicles. Their combination of electric motor and ICE means plug-in charging is unnecessary. Instead, hybrids use regenerative braking to recapture energy and recharge the battery.
PHEVs, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, are more similar to EVs. PHEVs use mainly electric power and must be plugged in and charged. They can travel farther on electric power than a hybrid but still feature a gasoline engine so drivers can switch between the two power sources as needed.
Hybrids for Towing
Using hybrids for towing often seems like the gasoline engine is doing the actual work. This is not true. Regenerative braking, found in both types of hybrids, keeps powering the electric motor. (Yes, even if you run out of charge in a PHEV.) This means that the electric motor will constantly support the ICE, lowering the amount of fuel used, the number of times you have to refuel, and the amount of emissions released!
So, while it’s not recommended that you switch entirely to electric power when towing in a PHEV or hybrid, the electric motor supports the vehicle in towing.
But do pay attention to the towing capacity on hybrids. While most models lose some towing capacity as a hybrid, it’s not really noticeable unless you’re towing major loads. This is better than most EV’s towing capacity.
And last, because hybrids are supported with electric and gas power, they don’t have the range issues that EVs have.
Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150
Two hybrid trucks that are experts in towing are the Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150 hybrid models. Both trucks feature V6 engines and drive like a normal truck.
The Ford F-150 produces approximately 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. The ratio between horsepower and torque helps you get a large trailer load moving easily. This hybrid also has a maximum towing capacity of 5760 kg and an estimated fuel consumption of 11.3 litres per 100 kilometres.
The Toyota Tundra produces 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Like the F-150, it drives like a normal truck and can easily move large loads. The Tundra’s maximum towing capacity is 5443 kg and has an estimated fuel consumption of 10.6 litres per 100 kilometres.
Both trucks are huge advancements in hybrid towing technology. They prove hybrids can reach the same level as their gas-based alternatives, while staying environmentally friendly.
Hybrid Towing Advantages
In the end, hybrids provide the best middle-ground between EVs and standard vehicles for towing. They are more fuel efficient than standard vehicles and offer more mileage and a higher towing capacity than EVs.
If you’re looking to purchase a hybrid for towing, know what towing capacity you need. Deciding what type of hybrid to purchase will depend on the towing capacity. PHEVs are a lot closer to pure electric vehicles, while standard hybrids, like the Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150, rely more on both electric and fuel power. This means for heavier towing loads, a standard hybrid will often be more efficient than a PHEV.
If your use involves towing heavy loads, you may still find hybrids lacking in the long term. However, for most people, the difference in towing capacity between a hybrid and standard model won’t make enough of a difference to outweigh the benefits of driving a hybrid.