Listen now (8 mins) | We're Working to Determine the Towing Capacity of Our 2017 Bolt EV
I think your math checks out, with some caveats.
The GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is based upon all loads concentrated upon (or reasonably close to) the center of gravity of the vehicle. A possible weak link I can see is the attachment of the hitch. Because the load is now external to the vehicle, you are now concentrating the extra load on a focused point (or points) on the vehicle. Those forces applied are then greatly multiplied on those points during deceleration. Therefore, you’d have to make sure that the attachment of the hitch is VERY secure.
I think that 80% of load capacity is a little more generous than I’d be willing to go. Maybe 50% is where I would be feeling more comfortable. But, whadda I know over here, second semester calculus is why I retired as a cop and not an engineer 😳!
Have you thought of retrofitting an existing pickup truck to electric? Ford has been talking about putting out an electric crate engine for just that purpose, and has retrofitted a 70’s pickup to show it off…. Just an idea.
I’m enjoying the journey!
Hello. I'm ever so grateful for you to post on facebook and here what your towing experiences are with the Bolt. I just got the Bolt EUV a couple of weeks ago, and I've already installed a 2" trailer hitch for my two recumbent tricycles. There's a travel trailer I'm looking at getting that has a dry weight of 900 lbs. No water tanks, just maybe a 2.5 gal container of water for the sink with a hand pump, and a porta potty that I will swap out for a dry flush. Because I'm so new to the car and tend to be extremely protective of it, I hesitate to just jump in and go get this trailer. I do plan on doing a very lazy drive around the country from Ohio to California to Canada once I get it. I don't have to do more than "one charge" (beyond charging when camping) per day. I tell myself I'm not in a rush, but in fact I can hardly wait. Any feedback would be useful. (If you want to know what trailer I'm talking about, it's a Meerkat.)
I have a Bolt with a tow hitch for a bicycle rack. But one can have trailer loads much lighter than being discussed. I have an aluminum boat trailer which weighs 150 lbs. That's the weight of one (lighter than many) person. The wooden boat I carry on it is nominally 100 lbs. Add another 50 lbs with all accessories, and you have a total trailering weight of 300 lbs. Tongue weight is not an issue. A family's bicycles could easily exceed the tongue weight of the front of a 300 lb. total sprung weight trailer.
I think in general manufacturers are conservative with tow ratings cause they want to avoid lawsuits. Wendy has a chevy Trax 2016. it says no towing in America. But then the 2018 model said 1000 pounds with no changes in the engine, transmission, suspension. We found out that the 2016 european versian published 1000 pounds too.
I suspect the biggest issue you would have is the extra strain and heat on the battery, which could be ok in the flatlands of Florida, but taking it over mountain passes I would highly suggest slow speeds and caution. The bolt likely has a cooling system, but extra heat could degrade the expensive battery a bit, especially in the heat of summer. On my Cmax Energi forum, because Ford did nit provide a modern cooling system for the 20 mile EV battery, several owners put aftermarket thermometers near the battery housing with a display near the driver. They have commented that the heat spikes at freeway speeds climbing a mountain. So I do think that might be an option for you, so thst you could at least monitor a general temp nesr the battery to ensure you are not overtaxing the system.
Or you can trade in your bolt for an EV rated to tow. The mustang mach E and the Tesla model Y both have some allowed towing capacity I believe. And several of the plug in hybrids do too.