Range anxiety may be gone and forgotten, at least when it comes to the newer and more expensive electric cars, but the idea of the cross-country trip is still quite a feat to achieve. Until we have reliable charging networks spanning entire countries, available 24-7 and on almost every street corner, road trips will need some careful planning. Unless you have a trailer.
Not just any trailer though. Colorado Teardrops just presented one of the first camping trailers from a new but fast-growing segment of electrified trailers. The idea is quite simple - why tow an empty camping trailer when you can fit it with some extra batteries? Some companies go as far as fitting the trailers with their own electric motors to help the EV with the towing.
While the range of electric cars has been improving steadily over the last few years, towing is the worst enemy here. Even the lightest trailer has a huge effect on the driving range and towing a normal camping trailer means often halving the distance you’d normally cover in the EV on its own. Some trailers apparently can extend the range of an EV but this is yet to be proven.
The camping trailer from Colorado Teardrops features a choice of either a 19 or 38-kWh battery. The clever camper can be used as a backup electricity storage for the EV that’s towing it or it can even provide electricity for an entire house during power cuts. The company claims the larger battery will last for longer than one day running an average US house.
In essence, this is Tesla’s Powerwall on wheels with a couple of beds thrown in for comfort. The batteries are LFP rather than lithium-ion making the whole trailer - hopefully - more affordable. The company hasn’t revealed the pricing yet but already confirmed that the trailers will qualify for a 30% subsidy for the cost of the battery system. This is thanks to the Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit - as long as the camper is used from time to time as a home battery backup.
As for added range when towing - an extra 38 kWh represents nearly a 40% increase in battery capacity for Tesla Model X or a 50% increase for VW ID.5 which can come in very handy. The looks of the trailer may not be everybody’s cup of tea but the idea behind it is simple and effective.