A road trip with the Tesla Model X, Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron with caravans
In Norway there are a lot of people who like and use electric vehicles. I don't blame them, they have the infrastructure for EVs in place. Because of this infrastructure, they have their own Electric Car Association - yeah, they have an association for a selected segment of cars.
They originally had decided to test only one car the Mercedes Benz EQC 400 and then someone mentioned an idea to test the EQC along with Model X long range and Audi e-tron 55 Quattro and go on a trip with three caravans in tow.
The three cars with identical caravans tow. Pic credit: Norwegian Electric Car Association
They did just that, they got the two other cars and then got three identical trailers. The trailers were 6.6 meters long and could accomodate 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children alternatively. They also made sure the trailers were not aerodynamic. Each of the three drivers took turns driving each car as well, for keeping the test as unbiased as possible. They used the charging network of Norway, which, I have to say is one of the world's most impressive charging network.
The trip was 1,381 kms covering postcard picture Norway- Østfold via Geiranger, the Trollstigen and the Atlantic Road and back. They only did it in three days because it was test.
While driving they used mostly adaptive cruise control and set the air-conditioning between 17°C -20°C, depending on the outside temperature and did not use any special energy saving during the trip.
Now the cars, the Model X was the lightest followed by EQC and Audi e-tron. The main point they noticed was that the Model X used the least amount of energy followed by the Mercedes EQC and then The Audi.
Another big point they noticed was regenerative charging especially when they were slowing down and coming down slopes - they said the brakes worked more with the caravans in tow and the batteries were able to charge more. They called it 'free fuel' and it worked to ease a bit of range anxiety range anxiety.
Yes they took it up and down mountain ways.Pic Credit: Norwegian Electric Car Association
There were many factors considered when the test was taking place - maximum range, maximum trailer weight, optimal fast charging time, optimal fast charging network and driving comfort.
How did all the cars perform in all the factors for the test? The Audi did one and one thing well - charge fast at 150 kW at the fast charging stations. This means that in 30 mins the Audi was at full charge for the trip. In my books it is ideal for road trip pit - stop to eat or relax or watch some TV at a pit stop.
Other than fast charging, the Model X takes all the other factors. It has the longest range, the biggest battery pack and lowest energy consumption, thanks to upgrades from Tesla with some parts from the Model 3 it becomes more expensive than the others as well. Under ideal conditions it will go 300 Km per charge, with the trailer in tow the others settle for 230-240 kms. They said a safe number would be 250 km with trailer in tow for the Model X, 50 depending on topography and consumption and the EQC and e-tron would be 200 Km - which still is a big distance, remember there is a caravan in tow.
However, the two German cars do dominate when it comes to comfort, especially the EQC it is much more comfortable with a trailer being towed and adapts to the caravan in a much better way. It means that the suspension of the EQC is not affected much by the caravan in the back and still focuses on providing optimal comfort for your trip.
They seem a bit more practical with appropriate infrastructure in place. Pic Credit: Norwegian Electric Car Association
In the end the Norwegian EV association determined that the Model X is the best of the three to tow a caravan for a road trip. However, the Norwegian Electric Car Association do say to take some more time during this trip and enjoy the sceneries, views and to do things along the way.