Can it be towed?

Not the question most EV owner’s would ask. Alternative titles: Taking the Bolt with you, or, even better, burning as much gas as you can with a Bolt (yeah I know–what?).

On occasion I’d like to take the Bolt with us when we go camping; even before picking up one I checked the owner’s manual to see if they can be towed behind an RV. Here is what the owner’s guide says about that:

Tow the vehicle with the two rear
wheels on the ground and the front
wheels on a dolly.
To tow the vehicle from the front
with the rear wheels on the ground:
1. Put the front wheels on the
dolly.
2. Shift the transmission to
P (Park). See Shifting Into Park
0 206.
3. Set the parking brake.
4. Secure the vehicle to the dolly.
5. Follow the dolly manufacturer’s
instructions for preparing the
vehicle and dolly for towing.
6. Release the parking brake.
7. Turn the vehicle off.
8. Open the hood.
9. Wait two minutes.
10. Disconnect the negative (-)
terminal connector from the
12-volt battery.
11. Close and latch the hood.

Ok lets give this thing a go: Steps 1-3:

boltloadedcloseup

Steps 4-8:

boltloadedstrappedhoodopen

Steps 9-10:

bolthoodopen

Note at middle right in the picture above: I’ve added a knife disconnect to make disconnecting the – 12V battery terminal easy.

Step 11: Lets go:

boltreadyletsgo

I took the RV/Bolt combo for a short drive: about 8 miles or so, including a 2 mile stint on the local freeway. The Bolt pulls pretty easily, tracks well (about the same as our C-Max and Escape do–since all three are of similar size and weight–within about 300 lbs of each other).

The real trick: Once your done and ready to unload you have to use the key to open the door: all the locks and nifty features of the Bolt run off the 12V battery thus it must be reconnected to use them.

Once reconnected I’ve discovered a few things that the car’s settings lose:

  • The home location is lost and thus the setting for home charging gets disabled–only the location is lost; none of the settings are. Thus to restore all that must be done is reset the location and turn the home charging feature back on.
  • The audio cues turn back on (the little jingle it plays on power up). This is even if the setting is turned off–you have to turn the setting on and then off again to get the car to recognize that you want it off.

We’re now all ready to happily burn gas moving our Bolt EV around LOL (this is why I mentioned in my previous post that we’d probably never go a long distance actually driving the Bolt–it will more likely be towed).

Happy camping….

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Can it be towed?

Weighing heavy on my mind…

I’m a relative newcomer to the EV lifestyle: Only living it for the past 8 months or so. We’ve been RV’ing for far longer (going on 15 years now with various forms of RVs). It would only be me that would attempt to combine the two. What combine EV’ing with RV’ing? How can you do that? The EV can’t go very far! Well if you’ve read this post you’d know the answer: Take the EV with you pulling it behind the RV.

Pulling the FFE behind an RV is a little more complicated than with your average toad (toad = car towed by an RV, typically towed with all 4 wheels down). Since the FFE cannot be towed with any  wheels down it must be towed on a trailer. As most RVer’s know: when your towing you have to carefully look at weights.

Looking at our new motorhome: The gross vehicle weight is 12,500lbs and the gross combined weight is 18,500. This would imply that it can tow 6000 lbs–it can, however, the installed trailer hitch is only good for 5000 lbs. This means that the total weight of the FFE plus the trailer can be no larger than 5000 lbs. Ford’s specifications say that the FFE weighs in at 3640 lbs–is this true? Well lets see what it really weighs:
FFE Weight

Wow that’s 20 lbs less than specified..great! (Weight obtained at a nearby Cat Scale.) This means that the trailer can be no heavier than 1380 lbs. Fortunately they make aluminum car trailers which weigh around 1200 lbs.

The other piece of the camping with the EV puzzle is: How do you charge the EV? This one is actually pretty easy. Many campgrounds have campsites wired for 240V 50A connections (many large motorhomes with 2 AC units use such plugs). All that is necessary to bring along the EVSE then is an adapter to go from the campground 50A plug to the EVSE plug (in my case this would be a NEMA 14-50 plug(RV) to a 6-30 receptacle(EVSE)). I simply need to bring my Level 2 EVSE (which is wired to a 6-30 plug) and the adapter. When camping at locations without 50A service I can simply plug in with the Level 1 EVSE provided with the car (and charge a lot slower).

It is still early yet, there is still a good 2′ of snow on the ground, and temperatures haven’t risen high enough to unwinterize the RV so there is still time to assemble the puzzle… Happy camping/EV’ing.

 

 

Weighing heavy on my mind…