Tesla is known for its sleek design, high-performance, and high-tech electric vehicles. One question that often arises is whether Tesla vehicles can tow. If you're planning on towing with your Tesla, it's essential to know its towing capacity to avoid any issues.
The guide will cover the common questions we get asked:
- What can a Tesla tow?
- How towing affects range?
- Which Tesla has the best towing capacity?
Can a Tesla Tow?
Yes, Tesla vehicles can absolutely tow, however, how much they can tow varies by the model. It is also important to be aware of local regulations and laws governing towing with an electric vehicle. For example, in Queensland, electric vehicles are subject to new towing weight limits, which may impact the maximum weight of braked and unbraked trailers.
How Much Can Teslas Tow?
The below table outlines the rated Tesla towing capacity across different models. The Tesla Model 3 has a maximum rated towing capacity of 1,000 kg whereas the Tesla Model X Plaid (not currently available) has a maximum capacity of 2,250 kg.
Overall Tesla vehicles are considered average for towing compared to other EVs which on average have braked towing capacity of 1,400kg and ranges from 300kg to 2,500kg - refer zecar EV database.
Can a Tesla Tow a Caravan?
Yes, you can tow a caravan with a Tesla. However, it's important to note that the towing capacity of a Tesla varies depending on the model (refer above table). Before towing a caravan, you should check the towing capacity of your Tesla and ensure that your caravan's weight falls within the recommended limit.
Other factors which should also be considered include the TBM (tow ball mass) and GVM (gross vehicle mass), an in-depth review of these are however not the focus of this guide.
A small caravan with 2-4 berths can weigh between 800kg and 1.3 tonnes. Larger caravans with 4-6 berths can range from 1.3 to 1.8 tonnes in weight. Most of the EVs on the below list should have no problems towing a smaller caravan.
Based on tests conducted, towing a caravan can reduce the range of an electric car by half. Refer to the example in the next section.
Braked vs Unbraked Towing
As noted above the towing capacity of your electric car must be at least higher than the weight of the item being towed. Your car will typically have a braked and unbraked towing capacity. The tow ratings of all EVs can be viewed here.
Braked towing capacity is the maximum your vehicle can tow if the trailer you are towing has its own brakes. This figure is always almost higher than the unbraked amount.
Unbraked towing capacity is the maximum your vehicle can tow if the trailer you are towing has no brakes.
Can You Add a Tow Hitch to Tesla?
Yes, a tow hitch can be attached to a Tesla. Most Tesla models do not come factory fitted with a tow hitch. You may need to purchase a tow hitch separately, and installation should be carried out by a qualified professional.
Tesla is now offering a service to fit tow hitches.
How Towing and Payload Affect a Tesla's Range
Just like burning more fuel quickly, towing will significantly reduce your Tesla's range quicker – often cutting range in half according to some carmakers. This will have a more pronounced effect on an EV which typically has half to two-thirds the range of an equivalent petrol/diesel car.
Towing increases energy consumption and thus reduces EV range for the following key reasons:
⚖ Weight - Additional payload weight from passengers or cargo can have a detrimental impact real-world range. Towing something heavy like a trailer or caravan is likely to have the biggest negative impact on real-world range.
💨Wind-drag - Ever noticed how most electric car designs are slippery and rounded in shape? The main purpose is to increase aerodynamics (and reduce wind drag). Having a boxy trailer or caravan trailing your electric car will have an adverse effect on aerodynamics and thus range.
Carwow's Matt Watson undertook a range and towing test to find out what impact on range, mounting accessories, like a roof box or bike rack, or towing a caravan would have. The test was completed with a Skoda Enyag iV80, a medium SUV with a WLTP range of up to 528 km. The range calculations are based on the vehicle’s displayed efficiency and its battery capacity. We've summarised the results (and converted them into metric figures) of the experiment in the below table. Key highlights include:
- Carrying 4 passengers reduced range by 4%
- Carrying a bike rack reduced range by 16%
- Towing a caravan reduced range by more than half (57%)
The results from Matt's range test are broadly consistent with similar tests undertaken and advice given by several manufacturers.
Which Tesla Has the Highest Towing Capacity?
Based on its rated towing capacity of 2,250 kg, the Tesla Model X has one of the highest towing capacities of any electric car in Australia. The incoming Tesla Cybertruck is expected to have the highest towing capacity of any Tesla (or electric vehicle). It is expected to be rated at up to 14,000 pounds (6,600 kg).
Typical features of an electric car with good towing capacity include strong motors (high power and torque) and an all-wheel-drive system (dual motors or more). This means the dual-motor variants of Tesla models will typically have superior towing capacity.
About the author
Danny is a consultant and entrepreneur working at the cutting edge of the electric vehicle and energy transition. He is passionate about educating and helping consumers make better decisions through data. He is the founder of zecar and is currently the EV Innovation Manager at Endeavour Energy.
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