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Can a Tesla Tow?
Sure, Tesla has a lot to offer under the hood, with its Sentry mode, and of course, Ludicrous Mode, but one of the burning questions asked by many is, can a Tesla car tow? Turns out, the answer is - yes.
While there are quite a few Tesla models that can pick up the mantle for their towing capacity, the Tesla Model X does stand out as one of those electric vehicles that's all business when it comes to towing capacity (thank God for Tesla Superchargers!)
For those of you who are unaware, the Tesla Model X has the capacity to tow a cool 5,000 pounds. But the Model X doesn't just drag an RV down the freeway. This electric vehicle is chock full of some new and amazing features, one of which is known as Trailer Mode. When activated, this mode can automatically level up the suspension of the vehicle while at the same time turning off the rear proximity sensors (for the most part) for more convenient towing.
In short, lugging around a 3,800 pound RV should be a piece of cake for the Tesla Model X - and it is. However, there is a downside to using your electric vehicle for heavy towing; that comes in the form of a significant amount of energy being used up during the towing process, which does not happen during regular drives in the Tesla Model X. In fact, towing a trailer with the Model X can cut its range by nearly 40% according to some estimates, but that varies greatly depending on the wind, the condition of the roads, the number of hills or steep passes, elevation changes, and the number of stops you have to make along the way.
If you are going to use the Tesla Model X for its long range of 295 miles, then you will need to find a charger to juice up your ride every 200 miles (or after every four hours). In the US, supercharger spacing in some areas can reduce that to 150 miles.
We've already talked about how towing a boat or RV can have an impact on the range of the Model X. But that's not the only challenge you will be facing while out on the road. According to reports, it can take some time to hook up the brake controller to stop the RV when using the Tesla Model X.
One of the reasons for this issue is that Tesla uses a different wire coloring as compared to many brake controllers, as in, the wire coloring in the Tesla is reversed, which is a good tip to remember for those who plan on using the Model X to tow an RV. You might also have to add a few extra chain links from the hitch to attach the safety chains.
Oh, and you will also have to ignore the dashboard display that will constantly remind you that you're being tailgated by another car or truck as you tow along the RV.
Another challenge that some Tesla owners face when it comes to towing with the Model X is charging the car at the Supercharger station, especially those that have insufficient clearing space for the trailer. You may have to unhitch the RV from the Model X so that it can get close enough to the Supercharger, which can be a painstakingly slow and tedious process. A good rule of thumb is to plug in the Model X overnight so that it gets an adequate charge. This is mainly because the Model X battery takes around 30 minutes to warm up to be charged at full speed.
While the Tesla Model X does fine on the road even while towing a heavy load, you will need to stop at every Tesla Supercharger you spy on the road, and it will also be wise to stock up on some cards from backup networks such as Blink or ChargePoint if you're planning to go especially long distances. It is also recommended to stick to the interstates during your journey since you're more likely to find Tesla Superchargers there.
One of the reasons that make the Tesla Model X ideal for towing is not just the sheer power of the electric engine, but also the fact that Tesla has a great network of superchargers that ensures there's always enough juice in the tank (or in this case, battery) to get you where you need to go.
How Does Tesla Compare to Others?
When comparing the Tesla Model X to other electric vehicles from big-name auto manufacturers, the results are astounding. Surprise, surprise – Tesla is in the lead there as well in terms of towing capacity.
The Tesla Model X wins hands down in an EV trailer towing competition. This is thanks to its towing capacity of 2260kg, which also happens to rival several large (diesel-powered) SUVs. This remarkable result implies that towing a large twin-axle caravan is not as difficult for a Tesla as many expected. Here's some more good news; with north of 800 lb-ft of immediate torque, towing any big load should unlikely have any significant impact on its performance. That being said, having to pull a heavy load along does take away Tesla's bragging rights when it comes to range, which according to Tesla, is 360 miles for the Model X.
A pro tip when using the Model X for towing is since it comes equipped with air springs, it's easy to tow a trailer or caravan by adjusting the ride height as needed and maintaining a level keel while driving. Its big trunk and seven-seat capability further enhance its practical tow vehicle qualities. Although the uneven build quality and passive driving characteristics mean it's not without sacrifices, its gullwing rear doors will make a sensation at the campground.
Also, the Tesla Model X manages wind resistance well, but you also need to take into account that an R-Pod trailer has horrible aerodynamics. This means while the Model X will have a large regen capability, allowing it to recover energy as it travels downhill or slows down, the aerodynamics of the RV will probably slow it down. The Model X can tow a 5000-pound trailer, provided it is covered to make it more aerodynamic. Even if you're towing more weight, the watt-hours/mile will be around 450 with the covered RV and closer to 600 watt-hours/mile without the cover.
For many potential electric car owners who love the outdoors, any vehicle that can't tow (a boat or RV) is a deal-breaker. Since the ability to tow is non-negotiable for many folks, it's smart that Tesla thought about this particular requirement during the design of many of its electric vehicles. So, there you have it. If you are looking for a Tesla that can also tow your RV (or boat), then the Model X (and even the newer Model 3) should be right up your alley.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding