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Old 05-23-2018, 06:31 PM   #1
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Soon-to-be owners of a 17B that will tow it with an Electric Vehicle

Hello Everyone, I'm Nic. My wife, Charliann, and I ordered a 17B that should be delivered in Sept and we can't wait!

We plan on towing our escape with an electric car, and from the looks of things... there haven't been too many of you to try it yet. (I've only seen a few posts about it previously.)

We'll be bringing 3+ dogs with us almost everywhere and hopefully a cat on occasion. This is our first trailer and there's a lot to learn. hah
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:45 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard Nic. The same general guidelines for towing capacity, GVWR, GCWR, etc. should still be followed, regardless of how the tow vehicle is powered. Can you share some specifics about the exact make and model of your vehicle?
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:08 PM   #3
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Hello Bryan, I've seen a lot of your posts heh.

We own a Tesla Model X 100D. One of the first concerns many people have when we say we plan on towing with it tends to be something along the lines of "will it have the power to tow?" which I find to be a bit humorous.

That being said, just because they can tow a crazy amount of weight for a short distance doesn't mean it's rated to do that. So to answer your question, the Owner's manual says that the GVWR is 6,788 lbs, but they generally suggest 5,000 lbs.

However, when you get the low profile tires like we did (because, lets be honest... they look SO MUCH better lol), they suggest a max GVWR of 3,500lbs. This is the one of the reasons we went with the 17B over the 19.

The main question we have when it comes to towing with the Tesla will be "how much will it impact our range?" That's a question we don't have a great answer to yet. We've read things that claim as little as 20% impact on range to 50% impact. We will find out when it comes.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. With a 3500 lb towing capacity you should be able to tow a 17, but that won't be the big issue. The big issue is the one you identified and that's your range while doing it. Some studies and articles I've read suggest a 55% to 60% reduction in range while towing, from somewhere in the 550 wh/mi area up to the mid 900 wh/mi area. The Teslas are very aerodynamic, and adding all that blunt frontal area and weight behind them really has an impact - perhaps more so than a conventional engine vehicle. As you say, you won't really know how much until you try it.

I guess one cool thing about it would be the ability to plug in to a campground power post and charge the car overnight.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:32 PM   #5
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All I know is there is no charging station at Harmon Lake.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:42 PM   #6
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That's exactly right. We towed a friend's trailer (a small utility trailer loaded with some stuff) to try it out and our average Wh/mi was 573. You identified the main culprit, aerodynamics. The Tesla is almost exactly the same width (6'7") as the trailer (6'8") which helps somewhat as it should tuck behind the car a bit more than some of the wider trailers out there, but there will still be plenty of wind resistance.

The saying for electric cars has been "go slow to go fast". In this case, it's mostly wind resistance, and our experiment was at 65mph. We can slow down and greatly increase our range. It will definitely be something different no matter what. haha
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
All I know is there is no charging station at Harmon Lake.
There is a supercharger in Hope though, only 70 miles away (111km) haha. We've been to it actually.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:46 PM   #8
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Thank you for making this thread, I'm really looking forward to seeing how your Tesla handles towing a camping trailer. I wish you all the best of luck and hope the experiment turns out well!
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:50 PM   #9
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Maybe a spoiler on the roof? But you could stop at the Arby’s in Sterling Colorado and charge your battery and get a sandwich. There were two Tesla’s there when I stopped a couple years ago.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:01 PM   #10
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Thanks @Y is Me, may I ask what the flipped floor plan on the 19 looks like? (You mention it in your status.) I've never seen that and a friend of ours is looking to buy a 19.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:03 PM   #11
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@Iowa Dave, we joked about trading our Model X in for a Tesla Semi to tow the larger 21. haha
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:14 PM   #12
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Thanks @Y is Me, may I ask what the flipped floor plan on the 19 looks like? (You mention it in your status.) I've never seen that and a friend of ours is looking to buy a 19.
A flipped floor plan on a 19 means they turn the rear permanent bed into a dinette, and the dinette up front into a permanent bed. It does make the bed substantially smaller, but the dinette is then larger.

We would not consider it because we love the queen sized bed too much, but others are happy with it.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:33 PM   #13
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I will guess that the trailer will cut your range roughly in half. But your highway speed and any headwinds will affect your results.
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuipo View Post
Hello Bryan, I've seen a lot of your posts heh.



We own a Tesla Model X 100D. One of the first concerns many people have when we say we plan on towing with it tends to be something along the lines of "will it have the power to tow?" which I find to be a bit humorous.



That being said, just because they can tow a crazy amount of weight for a short distance doesn't mean it's rated to do that. So to answer your question, the Owner's manual says that the GVWR is 6,788 lbs, but they generally suggest 5,000 lbs.



However, when you get the low profile tires like we did (because, lets be honest... they look SO MUCH better lol), they suggest a max GVWR of 3,500lbs. This is the one of the reasons we went with the 17B over the 19.



The main question we have when it comes to towing with the Tesla will be "how much will it impact our range?" That's a question we don't have a great answer to yet. We've read things that claim as little as 20% impact on range to 50% impact. We will find out when it comes.


Cute video which has absolutely nothing to do with real world towing. I watched a man tow a fire truck 50’ on a perfectly flat lot. Add 1 degree of slope I’d bet he couldn’t budge it. Your choice of really cool looking low profile tires wouldn’t be too practical in the state and national parks we have stayed in either. Not being negative here, just real world. Really interested in your actual experience once this comes together. As far as recharging at a campsite is that realistic? What’s the draw and length of time on charging an electric vehicle?
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:55 PM   #15
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As far as recharging at a campsite is that realistic? What’s the draw and length of time on charging an electric vehicle?
The onboard charger in a Tesla Model X can use more power than even 50A@240V (12 kW) campsite power can provide, so charging will be limited to the campsite service, or lower when trying to use power for anything else. On the other hand, even at 8 kW (for example) a complete charge of the 100 kWh Tesla battery could be done in an overnight stay (12 hours ideally, a bit longer in practice), if the campground wiring can really sustain the rated current without tripping a breaker.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:09 PM   #16
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Many people think the weight alone would somehow cause problems with the electric motor. The video is more in jest of course.

We bought the car well before the trailer and knew it would limit our range if nothing else. We’re not exactly planning on back woods camping and if needed we can just borrow a friend’s truck or buy a cheap one to tow with. We could also buy a second set of rims if we wanted but that probably less likely.

The car can pull as much power as the circuit can give it. We charge on a 50amp 240v at home but most campgrounds are 30amp of course. As for charging on a 30amp circuit, it should charge from 0 to 100% in about 16 hours in best case. I assume it will likely be a bit slower.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:13 PM   #17
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I’ve seen those 50 amp services run a pair of air conditioners on some big campers pretty steadily in hot weather but cannot say it was a continuous pull. I’ve also camped many times where there is an unoccupied site next to mine and two services in one current bush. Maybe a fellow could tap into the second one on occasion. Could the draw on the Tesla battery eliminate the use of AC at your site or the microwave etc.?
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:20 PM   #18
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The car can pull as much power as the circuit can give it. We charge on a 50amp 240v at home but most campgrounds are 30amp of course.
Most have a 30 and a 50 amp receptacle. Using the 50 would be ideal because not only would it charge you faster, you could still use the 30 for the trailer.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:36 PM   #19
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Hi Robert
I was just thinking about that and realized that there are separate breakers and circuits for each receptacle. If you were running them both, you’d sure be getting your money’s worth on the electric cost. Probably some mean old Park Ranger would want more money or spend the winter routing signs that said No Tesla Charging. That’s a sad thought but I’ve seen stranger things.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:47 PM   #20
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So to answer your question, the Owner's manual says that the GVWR is 6,788 lbs, but they generally suggest 5,000 lbs.

However, when you get the low profile tires like we did (because, lets be honest... they look SO MUCH better lol), they suggest a max GVWR of 3,500lbs.
That really doesn't sound like an auto manufacturer's towing capacity advice, but then Tesla Motors isn't an experienced auto manufacturer.

I found the Model X manual. It contains an unusual statement:
Quote:
If equipped with the towing package, the Towing Label instructs you to refer to this owner's manual for tire pressures that should be used when towing a trailer. Do not use the tire pressures printed on the Tire and Loading Information Label.
So there is an extra label on the driver's door jamb for towing limits, providing alternate tire inflation pressures... but the manual doesn't appear to contain any towing limit information in the loading section; it's all in another section. It would be interesting to see a photo of that label.

The GVWR value of 6,788 lbs (3079 kg) is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the Model X 100D, not the trailer. That's the rated maximum total weight of the vehicle and all occupants and cargo. Since the curb weight (vehicle without any occupants or cargo) is 5,421 pounds (2459 kg), that means up to 1,367 pounds of people and stuff and trailer tongue weight, which is actually decent for an SUV.

There is a separate section for Towing and Accessories (page 75), which is surprisingly good (complete and clear), and says the the trailer and hitch weight limits are:
  • 4960 lbs (2250 kg) trailer and 500 lbs (227 kg) hitch weight with 245/45R19 or 275/45R20 (load index 110) tires, and
  • 3480 lbs (1580 kg) trailer and 350 lbs (158 kg) hitch weight with 285/35R22 (load index 106) tires.
Those are not suggestions, they are limits. The huge change due to tires suggests a rear axle load capacity problem due to hitch load, which is strange because although a load index of 106 seems low for tires on a vehicle this heavy, it is enough for the rear Gross Axle Weight Rating of 3,968 lbs (1,800 kg).

An issue appears to be that the Model X is significantly rear-heavy, even though all are the "D" version with the extra drive motor in the front. The manual says that they assume that when fully loaded to GVWR the load distribution is 3,097 lbs | 3,690 lbs for front | rear... so the rear axle is not supposed to carry more than 3,690 lbs, even though the rear GAWR is 3,968 pounds. Although even that would allow for several hundred pounds of people, cargo, and trailer weight, Tesla seems to be concerned that more than 350 pounds on the hitch is too much with the lower-capacity tires. They are probably following a formula that assumes rear passengers and some cargo.

You could ignore the lower limits for the 22" tires and just watch the rear axle load (despite the GAWR, I would suggest staying under 3,690 lbs on the rear axle), or get a set of 19" or 20" wheels and tires for towing, or just be careful with trailer loading (to stay within the limits, since a 17B can fit within 3,500 pounds total and 350 pound hitch weight).

Often vehicles cannot tow the rated maximum trailer while at the same time carrying any significant passenger and/or cargo weight. The limit which determines this is the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), but the key item of information that appears to be missing from the manual is the GCWR. In this case, since the vehicle can tow about 5,000 pounds with just the driver, it should be fine to handle a full load of passengers and cargo with a 3,500 pound trailer.
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