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How do you charge your EV when towing an RV?

Charging your electric vehicle while towing a camper can seem like a challenge. With a tiny bit of planning and creativity, you can easily charge your EV even with a trailer in tow! We answer the most common questions we get asked about charging while towing and give our best tips to make it a breeze.

The most common questions we get asked about charging while towing our RV is: Do you have to drop the trailer every time? How much longer does it take? Is it terrible charging while towing?

Do you have to drop the trailer every time you charge?

Everyone seems to assume that because most charging stations weren't designed with towing in mind that you have to unhitch from your trailer every time you charge. We have experience towing with an EV with the charge port located at the front of the vehicle and with the charge port located at the rear of the vehicle. For both types of cars, we did NOT have to unhitch every time we charged.

How often you have to unhook is determined by: charger location, how busy a charging station is, etc. But, we find that we have to unhook from our camper less than half of the time to charge.

How much longer does it take dealing with a trailer to charge?

If we don't have to unhitch, charging with a trailer takes no more time than charging without one. Range is reduced, so you may have to charge more often, but it doesn't take extra time at your charging stop just because you're towing a trailer.

When we do have to unhitch we have found it takes us about 3-4 minutes to unhitch and about 3-4 minutes to get hooked back up to the trailer. So, it can take about 6-8 minutes longer to charge when we have to disconnect to charge.

Is it terrible to charge while towing?

The simple answer Think about towing with a gas vehicle for a moment. What do you have to think about when you're pulling in to get gas when you're towing a trailer? You have to consider if the gas station awning is tall enough for your trailer. You have to think about if the gas station is accessible to cars towing trailers. You have to worry about not hitting the gas pump with your trailer. Towing is just more complicated!

Here are 5 tips for making charging while towing easier:

  1. Look ahead at the chargers. Use Google Streetview or Google Earth to look at the chargers location. Then, make a plan as to how you will access the charger or where you may need to drop your trailer if it looks like you won't be able to charge while hitched up.

  2. Get creative! Don't assume you have to pull into the charger the way it was intended! Look around and get creative. Can you pull in behind the chargers? Can you pull in perpendicular to an end unit and charge? Is it in a low traffic area and you can pull straight in? There are lots of ways to get a charge without having to unhitch.

  3. Block Other Chargers (But be kind!) Sometimes the easiest way to get a charge without unhooking is to block a charger or two. Most people are generally understanding when you block chargers when towing. ONLY block chargers if there are other chargers available. Do NOT block chargers if the charger is full. Stay near your rig and be ready to move if the station fills up!

  4. Drop the trailer in a quiet corner out of the way. If the charging situation requires that you drop your trailer to charge, find a quiet corner at the edge of the parking lot where your trailer is well out of the way. Make sure it is not in an area where it is blocking traffic, chargers, or near doors, etc. Also consider if you have slides on your RV that need to open, if you do, park where your slides will not be in traffic or in the way.

  5. Get a Coupler Lock We recommend a coupler lock for your trailer, just in case you do have to unhitch. That way if you leave your trailer to go into the store or have to park it out of site, you will have peace of mind that it will be there when you get back. We recommend this coupler lock!

There is a quick crash course on making charging while towing easier! What other questions do you have about charging while towing?

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