Towing Camping Trailers

Luke42

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That is a nice video. But I believe they will be making trailer axles with electric motors that will assist the movement of the trailer. Depending on the number of axles on the trailer this will help the EV pull the trailer. Possibly eliminating the load on the EV. If the batteries in the camper trailer are large enough it could even extend the range of the combo vehicles.
It's a good idea, but making it happen involves system integration challenges that require changing the interface on a century-old tech stack that supports thousands of businesses in its current form.

Anyone who's worked with legacy code in the tech industry will appreciate the non-technical challenges here.

Definitely a good idea. It's just going to be shaped by economics and prior art, and keeping a business selling selling powered-trailers afloat during the rollout would be tricky.

Remember that one of the big benefits of the current pickup-truck/trailer tech stack is that trailers are cheap and interchangeable. A powered trailer would be neither of these, at least when they first come to market.

P.S. It's worth reiterating that that ICE vehicles take a huge range-hit when towing, too -- the difference is that nobody cares when a gas pickup truck loses 30%-50% of its range.

 
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Luke42

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Distance towing effectively will be dependent on how charging will be done. Dropping the trailer to use a supercharger will add significant time and effort to the trip. Even my pop-up trailer took 5-10 minutes to unhook/hook and my Dad's travel trailer with weight distributing hitches was 10-20 minutes. Doing either of those in rain or cold weather is miserable. There are only a few superchargers in my area that have even a single charger that can accommodate an attached trailer at all. If the charge port is in the front instead of the rear then it could be done but would block the road. I don't believe any of them had multiple spots that could take a trailer. If in fact charging requires dropping the trailer, it will require a pretty serious commitment to offset the hassle of towing. If my primary use were distance towing, I would stick with an ICE vehicle at this point in time.
A weight distribution hitch with sway control is both essential for big boxy travel trailers, and it's also an engineering band-aid in top of an engineering band-aid.

When you attach a trailer using the standard system, you start by attaching a regular trailer hitch and you just keep bolting on shit that solves problems for the next 5-10 minutes.

I plan to upgrade to the ProPride 3D hitch as soon as I have $3k burning a hole in my pocket, or whenever I have to start unhooking at charging stations:


The ProPride (the successor to the Hensley Hitch) is actually designed from the bottom-up to solve the problems you encounter when towing a TT, rather than having been designed by accretion over several decades.

P.S. There are some middle-of-the-road WDH designs that simplify the connections and solve some of the problems -- but not others. I don't see the point in going halfway, at least when it comes to my personal needs/peeves.
 
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No-ICE

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I see a huge opportunity for an auxiliary battery packs for EV trucks. Something to put in the bed of the truck when towing. It would be best if plugged in to an aux port while towing, thus available while towing. And recharged while the truck is being charged.

N.ICE
 

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The CT advantage is the 4680 cell. While there are no available specs yet, it certainly seems like the form-factor, chemistry, and tablessness (untabishness? tabulatory?) features will enable much faster charging rates.

If an EV battery pack can be charged from 20% -> 80% in the same amount of time as a gas fillup, then "EV range" isn't even a discussion anymore. I doubt that's achievable with the current technology, but supercharging a CT should take minutes, not hours.
 

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The CT advantage is the 4680 cell. While there are no available specs yet, it certainly seems like the form-factor, chemistry, and tablessness (untabishness? tabulatory?) features will enable much faster charging rates.
I suggest either of the following:

Tabuliscious.

Tabulous.

If an EV battery pack can be charged from 20% -> 80% in the same amount of time as a gas fillup, then "EV range" isn't even a discussion anymore. I doubt that's achievable with the current technology, but supercharging a CT should take minutes, not hours.
Range matters in regular cars and truck too. Its just that most cars and trucks have decent range. It’s the whole reason big trucks have 25+ gallon gas tanks instead of 15 gallon ones. You get 500 miles of range when you are empty and 300 miles of range when towing a load.
 


Firetruck41

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I suggest either of the following:

Tabuliscious.

Tabulous.



Range matters in regular cars and truck too. Its just that most cars and trucks have decent range. It’s the whole reason big trucks have 25+ gallon gas tanks instead of 15 gallon ones. You get 500 miles of range when you are empty and 300 miles of range when towing a load.
My 1st world problems, now that gas is so expensive, the pump shuts down at $100 at Costco, which is before I can fill my 34 gallon tank, so I have to go through the payment process again to finish filling the last 2 or 3 gallons.?
 

Ogre

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My 1st world problems, now that gas is so expensive, the pump shuts down at $100 at Costco, which is before I can fill my 34 gallon tank, so I have to go through the payment process again to finish filling the last 2 or 3 gallons.?
I had to deal with that with our RV. We stopped driving it long distances because it cost about $0.50/ mile to get anywhere.

The Cybertruck pulling it’s full 14,000 pound load might only have a 150 mile range, but it’ll still only cost $0.10-0.15/ mile to drive. Also, regen braking will save you tons on brakes.
 

Ogre

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My 1st world problems, now that gas is so expensive, the pump shuts down at $100 at Costco, which is before I can fill my 34 gallon tank, so I have to go through the payment process again to finish filling the last 2 or 3 gallons.?
Just get used to not filling it up. Consider it practice for when you have an EV and that last 20% of battery takes twice as long to charge as the first 80%.
 

ldjessee

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I am hoping that as more EV pickups come out that the need for aerodynamic trailers will become something owners seek out.

If one manufacturer makes one trailer that is really aerodynamic with one truck (because the 'shadow or wake of the truck will heavily influence the aerodynamics of the trailer, I think it will need to be designed for that truck) makes a big splash (be it movie, TV show, internet famous video) then it will push other manufacturers to compete.

Also, the software keeps getting cheaper (but some people will not validate or always understand what the software tells them) so hopefully more and more manufacturers will take advantage of that...

I am also hoping that with rare wheel steering will also help with some trailer towing issues.

I am sure some high end trailers will have regen braking and a battery pack to store that energy in... but not so sure about using them to move the trailer around... Then it would have to register as a vehicle, pass all the same safety standards and the price will really jump up.
 

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I am sure some high end trailers will have regen braking and a battery pack to store that energy in... but not so sure about using them to move the trailer around... Then it would have to register as a vehicle, pass all the same safety standards and the price will really jump up.
I’m not sure it would be worth having that big of a cell if they couldn’t use it for drive wheels. The cell would fill up after the first big downhill then just be along for the ride for the rest of the trip. As someone else suggested, just get a lighter trailer and the 500 mile CT at that point.
 


ldjessee

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I’m not sure it would be worth having that big of a cell if they couldn’t use it for drive wheels. The cell would fill up after the first big downhill then just be along for the ride for the rest of the trip. As someone else suggested, just get a lighter trailer and the 500 mile CT at that point.
There are trailers now with batteries as big as the one in my Leaf (I know, not that big) and they cannot do regenerative braking.

Brakes are throwing away energy, turning energy into heat and ground down brake pads and rotors... Why would not someone see the advantage of turning that into energy they can use to run their camper once they park it?

And never think of having the trailer be able to provide motive force to the trailer wheels.

I do think it would make sense to feed some or all of that power back into the Cybertruck... say at a pit-stop or such... Just not sure if Tesla will make it possible to charge the pack while in motion.

I hope Tesla adds that feature (charging while in motion), as then battery back in trailer, in the bed, or even a generator on a trailer hitch platform could really help some people in their situations... but most people will probably never need that feature, so I see it low down on the list.

I could see that being a feature of the Semi first... if the trailers there have batteries and you can avoid waiting to charge the Semi and just drop the trailer, pick up a new one (with full charged battery) and take off, pulling energy from the trailer to power and charge the Semi while underway.

For those partial loads or loads that do not weigh that much, seems like the smart thing to do.

Watching some videos of how long Semi drivers wait to even be able to back their trailer into a spot to get unloaded, probably not worth it... just make a couple of charging spots for trucks waiting to back into a dock and some charging spots at the dock...
 

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There are trailers now with batteries as big as the one in my Leaf (I know, not that big) and they cannot do regenerative braking.

Brakes are throwing away energy, turning energy into heat and ground down brake pads and rotors... Why would not someone see the advantage of turning that into energy they can use to run their camper once they park it?
If you aren’t using the energy while you are driving, regenerative braking will quickly fill up the battery then it’s worthless.

The whole reason regen braking is interesting in a vehicle is because you have a way to use that energy immediately and repeatedly. If it just fills up once then you have to drag it around worthless for the rest of your trip, it ceases to be interesting. Just plug in when you are home, then you don’t have to deal with a complex second braking system that is dead weight after the first few miles.

And never think of having the trailer be able to provide motive force to the trailer wheels.

I do think it would make sense to feed some or all of that power back into the Cybertruck... say at a pit-stop or such... Just not sure if Tesla will make it possible to charge the pack while in motion.
If there were some kind of vehicle to vehicle charging standard and you could charge while driving, then regen braking on the trailer would be awesome. I just don’t see it as being interesting unless it is actually doing work while the vehicle is in motion because all of that regenerative power is just lost.
 

ldjessee

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If you aren’t using the energy while you are driving, regenerative braking will quickly fill up the battery then it’s worthless.

The whole reason regen braking is interesting in a vehicle is because you have a way to use that energy immediately and repeatedly. If it just fills up once then you have to drag it around worthless for the rest of your trip, it ceases to be interesting. Just plug in when you are home, then you don’t have to deal with a complex second braking system that is dead weight after the first few miles.



If there were some kind of vehicle to vehicle charging standard and you could charge while driving, then regen braking on the trailer would be awesome. I just don’t see it as being interesting unless it is actually doing work while the vehicle is in motion because all of that regenerative power is just lost.
RE: Regen battery filing up and being useless...
If it saves you from paying electricity at a camp ground, maybe not?

Also, not sure how much breaking would be done and thus not sure how fast that battery would fill out. If the trailer was going as far as my grandparents when when they moved their RV from one park to the next, it was 300 to 500 miles and only getting energy from braking... if it had a 50 to 100 kWh pack, how long would that take to fill, or even do the 20 to 80% charge? I do not know... but if it would not be filled up in a 300 mile trip, then it is probably not worth doing anyway.

RE: Battery worthless if not providing motive power (either directly or thru the Cybertruck)
I get why you would want that, but I also do not see a trailer being able to provide motive power without getting classified as a vehicle and requiring to meet certain safety or atleast some regulations that would increase the cost and weight of the vehicle.

And because you do not see its worth does not mean others do not see it as worth while.
 

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RE: Regen battery filing up and being useless...
If it saves you from paying electricity at a camp ground, maybe not?
A 20kWh battery costs what $2 to charge up at home? The electrons don’t weigh anything.

If you are just looking for “House” power, solar panels on the RV would be a better investment. Charge up at home for free, then get power when you are on site as well.
 

 
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