Can a hybrid tolerate towing without harm? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2019, 06:20 PM   #1
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Name: Lisle
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Can a hybrid tolerate towing without harm?

I'm planning to tow with a Highlander Hybrid. Want to be sure I'm not going to damage the hybrid engine(s) by towing, as long as I'm careful not to tow even close to the tow rating of the vehicle. Anyone know if I will damage the hybrid by towing? I heard a terrible story from a Scamp owner who said someone he knew bought a brand new Highlander Hybrid, towed a 16' over the Rockies and destroyed the car. My friend said the guy who had this experience may have been a speeder, ie. not taking care of his vehicle. Just don't want to repeat that experience.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:39 PM   #2
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I certainly would rather have a "real" tow vehicle with plenty of torque and power than take a chance with a hybrid.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:03 PM   #3
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The Highlander Hybrid has 306 HP and is rated to tow 3,500 lbs. That seems adequate for a small trailer. And it actually has a factory tow rating. If Toyota rates it for towing, it is probably a very durable system.

Often the "hybrid" part means more that the engine is shut off whenever it's not needed, like on down grades and at stop lights. It doesn't mean the battery and electric motor will pull you over the Sierra Nevada.

In the Ram 1500 mild hybrid "E Torque" design with the Hemi, it will tow up to 12,000 lbs. The system shuts off the engine in stop-start conditions, acts as a starter, aids in shifting and uses excess speed to regenerate. But, from a stop the motor only activates long enough for the engine to start and take the load, since motors have maximum torque at zero RPM and engines need to be running to work. The motor gives instant throttle response, and the engine starts running within 1/2 wheel revolution. Testers say they can barely detect it and the stop-start function can be turned off if desired.

Bottom line to Lisle's question: I'd say, "yes".
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Old 03-04-2019, 07:12 AM   #4
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We towed our Scamp 13 for many years and many miles with an '08 Highlander hybrid and found it to be an excellent tow vehicle. It handled well and had plenty of power. As a caution, when we were fully loaded for a long trip (including bikes and/or kayaks) we were approaching the rated capacity for GVWR and rear GAWR. Depending on your own load and load distribution, a heavier trailer's tongue weight might push you over the rated limits even though you are well within the "towing capacity".
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Old 03-04-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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Lisle.....

WDavidG's comments about towing are spot on.....for his rig. Your real issues involve the towing/load capacities of whatever hybrid tow vehicle you select.....and then matching them appropriately by getting a trailer with weight and hitch weight within the limits of that tow vehicle.

So.....it depends on what hybrid, and upon what trailer'

Frank
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
I'm planning to tow with a Highlander Hybrid. Want to be sure I'm not going to damage the hybrid engine(s) by towing, as long as I'm careful not to tow even close to the tow rating of the vehicle. Anyone know if I will damage the hybrid by towing? I heard a terrible story from a Scamp owner who said someone he knew bought a brand new Highlander Hybrid, towed a 16' over the Rockies and destroyed the car. My friend said the guy who had this experience may have been a speeder, ie. not taking care of his vehicle. Just don't want to repeat that experience.
I am one of several fiberglass trailer owners I know who tow with a Highlander hybrid. I have pulled both a Casita 17 and now an Escape 19 with a 2012 with no issues.
Best of luck
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:28 AM   #7
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I have a 2006 Highlander hybrid with 240,000 miles on it. I have towed my Happier Camper for 20,000 miles so far with no problems. I do keep my speed down to 60 - 65 mph max. When towing over steep passes I drive a bit slower just to be on the safe side. There has never been an issue with power.



I should mention that I live in Leadville, Colorado which is over 10,000 feet in elevation. This means I go over lots of high and steep passes whenever I leave or head home.
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:14 AM   #8
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Yes you can

A Highlander Hybrid is an excellent TV, as long as you don't exceed the towing capacity. We would likely still have our 2007 Hi-Hy, except that a 2013 non hybrid one came into our local dealership equipped with a hitch.
As far as mountain climbing, you just need to get handy at downshifting - both going up and going downhill. But, that applies to any vehicle.
If the book says it can tow 3500 lbs …it CAN! The engineers always build in a safety factor.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:26 PM   #9
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I did this same research a while back myself; I've now been towing a Casita 17 for three years with a (bought used) 2011 HiHy. I owned the Casita first, so needed to be comfortable that I could pull it ok. They're a great match, and a good WD hitch plus smart brake controller make life easier all around. I think I had about a week and a half after bringing the TV home to get the hitch and wiring installed before a scheduled trip.

Longest trip was >1200 miles roundtrip to the campsite in the middle of the band of totality for the August 2017 solar eclipse. Hot hot weather; No problems whatsoever. Easy, comfortable trip with three drivers, including one who had never towed before.

It takes off a bit slower from a light of course, but the torque from the electric motors helps here - it's perfectly acceptable. You know it's back there, but it never feels heavy. Plenty of power at highway speeds, and still 18-20mpg. My favorite part is silently pulling through a campground on battery power alone - it's led to some good conversations!
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Old 03-11-2019, 01:16 PM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses! I'm feeling very good now about getting a HiHy for my TV. (Getting good at the abbreviations, too.
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
(Getting good at the abbreviations, too.
I just hope you don't do a renovation and call it a "reno". Especially if reno is the first word in the sentence and capitalized! In other words, Reno. I live near Reno, NV and always wonder first how they are going to reno something. Maybe they should Pittsburgh it, or Denver it instead.

Good luck with your HiHy. This leads to the tow vehicle vs television problem. Will you be watching TV? Or will you be towing with a TV? Towing with a television? Remember, 746 watts per horsepower, so you can calculate how much horsepower your television has. Your TV must be a hybrid, since it's electric. Sheesh.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:10 PM   #12
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In journalism, the convention is to spell out the words in the first reference and to only use initials in following references.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #13
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Thanks Glenn. That seems a good convention.
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