New recreational electric vehicles like the controversial GMC Hummer EV Truck and SUV are beginning to set records for gross vehicle weight. With a total weight of over 9,000 pounds, a Hummer EV is heavier than a Chevy Silverado pickup and a Honda Civic Combined. Torque News wondered how these massively heavy leviathans will be towed when they need roadside assistance. Can normal tow trucks handle such weight?
To find the answer, we reached out to AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor, John Paul. We know Mr. Paul well. He is a longtime President of the New England Motor Press Association, a media group of which more than one Torque News content creator has been a proud member. We asked Mr. Paul if the flatbed tow trucks America’s favorite roadside assistance company uses could handle a scale-buster like the Hummer EV.
Mr. Paul told Torque News, “Our latest flatbed tow trucks use aluminum beds and with these can accommodate up to 11,000 pounds, so a 9,000-pound Hummer EV would not be an issue.” However, Mr. Paul also told us that “AAA membership covers towing that can be performed with normal automobile servicing equipment.” He went on to say that historically tow trucks had capacities of 7,000 to 10,000 pounds. A large electric vehicle like a Ford F-150 could be handled by such a tow truck, but the 9,000-pound Hummer would have required a larger service vehicle.
Towing smaller electric vehicles like a Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Niro EV, or Hyundai Kona EV would not be problematic for any flatbed tow truck. Although EVs do tend to be much heavier than a gas-powered car their same size, most affordable electric cars weigh less than a typical pickup truck do.
One reason towing of electric vehicles is an important issue is that it is not practical to re-power them when they deplete their batteries accidentally. Unlike running out of gas, most AAA roadside assistance vehicles do not have a way to repower an EV that has no range left. A second reason that towing EVs is a hot topic is that most EVs do not come with a spare tire. While an inflator kit may work for a simple puncture, a damaged tire means being towed.
AAA can also help you jump-start the 12-Volt battery in your EV. Many Tesla owners found out the hard way that the 12-Volt battery is a rare weak point in Telsa's design.
AAA has many resources for those interested in electric vehicles. “EV sales gain more traction each year, but we know that consumers still have a lot of questions about them, such as battery life and ease of charging,” said AAA’s Megan McKernan, manager of the Automotive Research Center. “That’s where the AAA Car Guide comes in handy. It’s an easy-to-understand resource that takes some of the stress and guesswork out of car shopping by providing the vital information consumers need to make the right choice."
If you own an electric vehicle, a AAA membership can be helpful in a pinch.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.
Image of 2023 Hummer courtesy of GMC. Image of VW ID.4 with damaged tire courtesy of Ian Perry.