Towing Hybrid and Electric Vehicles – Can they be rolled?

There is some debate about whether and how to transport hybrid and electric vehicles. You may have heard that rolling a vehicle on its own wheels can cause problems and even set off a fire. This Tech Tip will show you that hybrid and electric vehicles can be rolled onto their wheels, but only for very short distances and at very low speeds.

Let’s first look at the reasons why we shouldn’t “drag” or roll a high-voltage vehicle. We will later provide options for loading and transportation. Electric motors power hybrids and electric vehicles. Hybrids are powered by an electric motor. An electric motor is responsible for all the power, while a fully-electric vehicle uses the motor to drive the wheels. A hybrid drivetrain uses a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor can be used to generate electricity in both cases. Regenerative braking is the term for power that is generated by coasting and braking. It is used to recharge the battery.

Towing Hybrid and Electric Vehicles - Can they be rolled?

Although this design is great for increasing the vehicle’s range, it can cause problems when the vehicle is being shut down or rolled as the power generated doesn’t have any place to go. The motor’s energy will heat up if the vehicle is not in use. This can cause damage to the motor and even fire.

How fast can a hybrid or electric car be dragged? You should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. The Energy Security Agency can help you at no cost by calling them. These are the guidelines for most high-voltage vehicles.

This configuration is possible for Teslas with rear motors only.

Rolling/Dragging Guidelines:

  • Don’t roll your drive wheels faster than 1 mph
  • Don’t drive long distances in your vehicle (except where it is absolutely necessary to transport the item properly).
  • After the vehicle has been driven for long distances or at high speeds, check for heat before you transport
  • Vehicles that have been shut down by high voltage will not be safe to drive

What is the solution? You can move high voltage vehicles on dollies, flatbeds/rollbacks, or any other method that doesn’t roll the vehicle’s drive wheels. Make sure you inform dispatch if your vehicle is hybrid or electric so they can provide the correct towing equipment.

We will also be discussing “tow mode” for Tesla vehicles. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed!

Register with the ESA for a FREE consultation, training, and risk analysis!

You must call the ESA whenever you respond to an electric or hybrid vehicle that has been in an accident, has been exposed to water, or has been involved with fire. These vehicles are easy to analyze and cost-free.