Trailer / Towing Discussion

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Harris005

Scout Community Veteran
1st Year Member
Nov 15, 2022
294
486
Oak Grove, MO.
One of the draw backs to EV vehicles is the drastic decrease in range when towing. I'm wondering if Scout Motors can put some emphasis on this and lead the way to help overcome this problem, which leads to more potential buyers (especially with a full size truck model)

Some initial thoughts:
  • Consider a new trailer plug type that can tranfser energy from the trailer to charge the vehicles batteries.
    • Hate changing the current plug type because it has become the standard for all. It feels a little like the frustration when iPhones and Androids change their charging cord all the time. Maybe adding a charging port next to the female trailer connection, and if the trailer is set up to help charge it simply has an additional pig tail on the male side??
      • If this additional charging port was in the center of the bumper, maybe the everyday charging port should be at the front of the vehicle, giving both options when parking.
  • Still like the previous idea of battery Jerry Cans for the Scout, and charging stations having an exchange program. This same idea could possibly be used for trailers. Have an area on the front of the trailer that can hold a series of Jerry Cans to help increase the range while towing.
    • Curious if someone out there knows the math on how much a Jerry Can size of batteries can roughly increase the range for a typical EV (not towing anything)
  • Bear with me on this one - just spit balling here: Scouts have always been apart of world of axel swaps. Could Scout Motors design a trailer axle, that can be swapped out, that uses the rotation as it travels down the road to turn an electric generator? ...say a 240v generator? Could two 240v generators in a series be used to bypass the charging of the batteries and simply power the electric motors? I'm sure it isn't that easy, or somebody would have already done it. But is seems like there should be a way to harness some of the energy from the trailer cruising down the road.
  • Another idea is permanently mounted battery packs on trailers that are charged before the trip.
  • Mounting that Mazda motor previously discussed or a gas generator to the trailer (can see the EV haters now, having a hayday with this one)
Some of these ideas add weight to what is being towed, which robs more energy to pull it. Maybe the math doesn't work?? I just know this is a big concern for truck owners. People want to be able to go cross county with their campers. Some Scout engineering to help solve or reduce it could go a long ways (pun intended). Hopefully another way for Scout Motors to make a buck. Who's got some ideas to throw around?
 
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Another issue I have seen in some YouTube videos is the need to unhook a trailer to be able to get to a rapid charger. Apparently many rapid charger layouts don't accommodate for trailers. Maybe with the bumper charging port and the added charging male pig tail, a charging port could be installed at the end of a trailer. This would allow you to back a trailer into a charging stall, plug into the trailer, and charge the EV.

If this https://scoutmotors.community.forum/threads/dealerships-are-dying.110/ were to ever happen, a layout that took this trailer issue into account would be well received.
 
I saw once there was a guy who had a Toyota RAV4 EV and he bought an additional Toyota RAV4 EV battery pack and converted the second pack into a trailer, he then hooked the two together to get good range while towing.

I really like the idea of attaching jerry can battery packs to a trailer that would add range to it. I'll point out a few of the problems with it tho

- The batteries on the jerry cans would likely not get any cooling so the range would not be as much as a larger internal battery (kW / KG)
- There would need to be a very water proof connector but also easy to use connector that would connect the jerry cans to the trailer and then the trailer to the vehicle...not impossible but needs to be water tight or it could cause a catastrophe.


I'm sure in the future with more EVs that are capable of towing there will be more chargers set up at double parking spots so that way a truck and trailer can fit in it, but for now 99% of the vehicles that need chargers are not using a trailer at the time of charging. The only problem with a "Pig tail" as you put it is that the DC fast charger cables are also actively cooled with coolant being pumped through and around the charging cable. so the pig tail would not receive any cooling.

I think at many Electrify ameria charging stations the cables are extra long to accomidate the wide range of locations that manufacturers locate their charging ports. this could simply be a good solution of making sure chargers are on double parking spaces and have long cables to reach the vehicles.
 
I was following behind an SUV on the highway today, noticing the aftermarket receiver hitch hanging low. It really wasn't a good look. A few SUV's have taken the route of concealing a factory receiver hitch behind a panel in the rear bumper. This does create a much cleaner look, and gives the owner the ability to attach a 2" ball when needed. An interior storage compartment for the ball, pin, any wiring adapters and the removable bumper panel itself would be useful as well.

If a partnering were to occur - B&W adjustable hitches have become popular. I know I love mine. At a minimum you might pay attention to one of these working without hitting the surrounding panel opening. https://www.bwtrailerhitches.com/product/tow-stow-adjustable-ball-mount
 
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I feel like a few of you out there can answer (explain) this....just seems like a simple idea that could help with decreased range issues while pulling trailers.

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It won't work due to the fact that you cannot get more energy out than you put in. (Otherwise you could have perpetual motion.) Maybe during braking it could provide some additional power to re-charge the battery, but when the vehicle is pulling, it will simply add additional weight and require more energy from the vehicle's battery.
 
YES! this! ^^^^^

There isn't any answer for losing energy without regenerating it, and if the source of energy is electricity being consumed to propel the truck forward, then you add more resistance to regenerate more power, well, your equation ain't so great. It becomes a simple physics equation related to the first law of thermodynamics:

The First Law of thermodynamics is a formulation of the law of conservation of energy, adapted for thermodynamic processes. A simple formulation is: "The total energy in a system remains constant, although it may be converted from one form to another." Another common phrasing is that "energy can neither be created nor destroyed" (in a "closed system"). While there are many subtleties and implications that may be more precisely captured in more complex formulations, this is the essential principle of the First Law.

It distinguishes in principle two forms of energy transfer: heat, and thermodynamic work, for a system of a constant amount of matter. The law also defines the internal energy of a system, an extensive property for taking account of the balance of energies in the system.

The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of any isolated system, which cannot exchange energy or matter, is constant. Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed.

Range for towing is costly. From an energy perspective and wallet perspective. You either need more gas or electricity. The real issue for EV's is convenience (when towing loooooong distances), simply bc charging takes longer than filling tanks with diesel. If you only tow short distances to the dock with your boat (for example), then an EV truck is great.

If you want to travel into the backcountry, then you might need a trailer with its own power... Again, EXPENSIVE! One example: https://lightshiprv.com/l1
 
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I am not a physicist but love the idea of some form of partial energy recovery through the rotational mass of either the axle, wheels or both. Regenerative braking is another interesting idea.
On the subject of "battery jerry cans", wouldn't their weight be completely prohibitive?? Or are you thinking they would be wired into the racks that carry them so you wouldn't actually move them.
 
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Regen is a given for EV's, and there are different strengths of regen available via settings in many cases. High regen is bad on snow and ice (for example). Regen should be thought of only as something that can help improve range (not really add a ton of range). If you push a ton of regen back at an EV battery pack all at once (traveling down a mountain pass, for example), your battery will literally choke on too much juice flowing to it (in order to rightly prevent damage to the battery pack).

Battery Jerry Jugs are a). Heavy b). Expensive c). Take up a ton of space.
 
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It won't work due to the fact that you cannot get more energy out than you put in. (Otherwise you could have perpetual motion.) Maybe during braking it could provide some additional power to re-charge the battery, but when the vehicle is pulling, it will simply add additional weight and require more energy from the vehicle's battery.
Thank you for this clear explanation. I've had the same question for a while now.
 
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Screenshot_20230619_223528_Chrome.jpg

Something previously mentioned, that was a great idea, was finding a way for the Scout to charge as it is being towed behind an RV. This seams to be a great match up with Scouts and camping adventures. Taking this one step further with the details.... Designing the front end with the [Scout Motors] towing bar in mind so that it is 1) simple and effortless to connect and remove, 2) female port in front prewired for trailering wiring when being towed and 3) once disconnected being able to hide all connection points. I myself have never used this kind of system for towing vehicles, so maybe other who have can chime in with things that might help as well. I could find myself venturing towards a set up like this in the future.
 
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I know my F150 V6 Ecoboost mileage is about half when towing my 26 ft 6500lb camping trailer. About 20mpg to about 10mpg. So with an EV with a 400 mile range, 200 mile towing would be expected.
 
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Interesting look into the new Chevy Silverado EV with regards to towing. One thing they pointed out with thier testing is that typically the loss of range with EV is equal to the loss of range with ICE. The difference still being the increased time waiting for the batteries to charge along the road trip.

 
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Trail-er Cam

I'm thinking that a number of camera ideas could be balled up into one. We have discussed trail cams, as well as dash cams....I'm adding in trailer cams (as in a camera mounted on the back of campers/enclosed trailer to help with backing up visibility).

"What If" (@J Alynn ;) ), on the front side of the rear view mirror you create two magnetic docking stations for a set of small wireless cameras. Everyday use, they function as dash cams that are constantly keeping a full charge. These cameras are integrated into the touchscreen for live viewing and can also be selected to record (a trail ride for example, catching the front of the Scout while it creeps up a mountain side). The driver can simply grab one (or both) of the cameras off of its docking station and position them anywhere on the Scout (via built in magnet) to capture live video angles while off-roading, which is displayed on the touchscreen. In trailering mode, it recognizes when the Scout is put into reverse and will display the live video behind the trailer to aid in visibility when backing.

Couple added points to think about:
  • The ability to adjust the camera angle from the touchscreen once mounted would be useful to correct for: 1) to get just the right shot when off-roading (would be nice to adjust on the app as well while outside the Scout attaching the camera), 2) the angle of the rear view mirror would give a potential undesirable shot if you were not able to adjust the camera angle. 3) If mounting it on a camper/enclosed trailer up high for the best visibility when backing, being able to angle the camera downward would be helpful. Being able to mount the wireless camera and then fine tune the shot would be useful in all three of these conditions.
  • Predetermined exterior mounting points built into the Scout could be useful. Example: attachment point molded into the side mirrors for the downward shot of each front tires position when off-roading. These could also be areas with built in wireless charging for those long days on the trail.
  • Campers are commonly constructed using fiberglass exteriors. A camper camera mount purchase option with built in magnets could be a work around. A lot of campers built today come with aftermarket backup camera mounts. It might be as simple as using the same screw pattern to swap them out with one that works with this camera.
  • Ensure the dash cam function meets all the requirements insurance companies look for when handing out driver discounts.
  • Make them so that the syncing between the Scout and the camera have to be done at the factory (and shipped to the owner if ordered after the purchase of the Scout). Just thinking of that A-hole out there that would snatch one up at the trail campsite to try and use on their own Scout. Making that tough, or impossible, to sync to their own Scout could help detour them from snatching it in the first place.
 
3/4 ton vs 1/2 ton - ICE vs EV......

Something I have been thinking about lately is the differences between a 3/4 and a 1/2 ton truck and how those differences relate to an EV truck. I've watched a few YouTube videos on EV trucks pulling trailers and they report that they do a great job towing.

Things that define a 3/4 ton:
  1. Power
    1. ICE - larger engine for pulling power
    2. EV - is this a thing, would you need larger electric motors? My understanding is one of the advantages to EV's is the ample amount of torque.
  2. HD Transmission
    1. ICE - Heavy duty transmission such as an Allison transmission
    2. EV - non existent
  3. Brakes
    1. ICE - larger brake rotors and pads
    2. EV - would imagine these would be needed still, but would question how much regenerative braking aids in stopping and saving brake pad wear.
  4. Suspension
    1. ICE - stiffer suspension
    2. EV - due to battery weight, EV's already have a beefier suspension. I would imagine this would need improved to reach a 3/4 ton truck tow rating. However, I was wondering if these rear spring HD kits would be a solution. If the Scout Motors truck came with these from the factory, they would still have the ride quality of a 1/2 ton with the benefits of a 3/4 ton. Add this to the truck assembly line, along with everything mentioned above and advertise it as 1/2 ton ride quality with 3/4 tow ratings.
suspension.jpg
suspension2.jpg

One of the definite set backs to EV towing will still be long range trips; however, I still see a lot of campers getting pulled within a 150ish mile range. Add one charge to the trip an you would have a half a day of towing.
 
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I like the "Jerry can" battery idea. Works exactly like you would expect. Getting low on range? Plug in the Jerry Can to top up. For the record a full Jerry Can ain't light. Better for back country travel rather than longer tow range - see next idea.

Some ingenious trailer builders are designing with EVs in mind and adding battery/motor to the trailer. The idea is that with the trailer motor active the EV tug will effectively be not towing (it will not have to expend energy to pull the trailer). BONUS - you can move the trailer around without a tow vehicle such as when parking camp trailer in a spot, parking the trailer in the barn, etc.

Chevy already has trailer cam and virtual cam settings for their Silverado. Top model makes a virtual image behind you allowing you to "see thru" the trailer.

Can't remember for certain, but I believe Rivian is working with ChargeGo or ChargePoint to address the charging situation for towing. Even building out to include multiple chargers so trailer can be charged as well (see idea above). Not sure if there was a trailer manufacturer like Thor getting in on this as well. But I have seen work on designing a solution for charging a towing EV.

Jason
 
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