Torque Shop

I just bought an electric Hyundai. How do I tow it if I ever need to?

Presumably, the need to tow your electric vehicle (EV) is because the battery has completely run out of useable charge.

The first thing to do is to push the car away from traffic and to the side of the road.

There is no problem doing this for a short distance at walking pace.

All cars, whether they are petrol, diesel or electric, must be towed by lifting the end with the driven wheels.

Only the non-driven pair of wheels should roll on the road. Four-wheel-drive vehicles must be transported on a flat-bed truck.

In cars with automatic transmissions, turning the driven wheels for several kilometres, at even moderate road speeds, will cause the transmission fluid to heat up, oil pressure to build up in the gearbox even if the selector is in Neutral, or both.

EVs do not have automatic gearboxes, but there is a more critical consequence from towing them incorrectly.

Turning the driven wheels will generate current and heat in the same way regeneration works with electric or hybrid vehicles.

If the EV has shut down due to low charge, the cooling system will not be operating. The heat built-up is a fire hazard.

It is safe to push an EV only for a short distance at low speeds or tow it with the driven wheels off the ground.

Transporting any four-wheel-drive EV requires it to be loaded onto a flat-bed tow truck.

If you are unaware of the towing precautions stated in your owner's manual, just be safe and call in a flat-bed.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2019, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe