Can I pull it behind my RV

Can I pull it behind my RV

When I go RVing I usually pull a car behind me so I can set out in my new "local area". So I have a few questions about the Model S related to RVing.

1. Can I tow it flat, as in all 4 wheels on the road? Many car transmissions can't take this type of abuse.

2. Will it have a Tow mode?

3. Can I use the cars brakes to help slow the combined load? With my Jetta I can install a brake assist that activates the brakes to work with the RV's brakes to aid in slowing. This is quite handy in a panic stop situation.

4. Is it possible to charge he Model S from the RV generator while the Model S is in tow?

Vawlkus | 21. September 2010

1) The model S has NO transmission, so I don't see any impediment to towing it with all 4 tires on the road.

2) Probably just a button marked "neutral" although I dunno how that'd work. I wonder if the regerative braking would kick in and charge the battery while your RV is towing. Might slow you down a little, but it's slowing the car, and charging the battery all at the same time.

3) See above.

4) Depends on how much power that generator can put out. If it's just putting out 115 v at 10 to 15 amps, then it'll charge..... in 40 hours or so.

Forty Creek | 03. September 2013

Would be nifty if you could recharge your battery by towing the car. Constant regen.
Technically not a very green way to recharge (unless another Tesla was doing the towing).

Warkovision | 03. September 2013

I wouldn't do it. This from the user's guide:

Transporting the Model S

Use a flatbed trailer only. Do not TOW! To avoid damage, follow instructions exactly as described.
Prepare Model S for pulling (I assume onto a flat bed truck.)

1. Press the brake pedal and shift into Neutral (N). This disengages the parking brake (be sure to follow step 3 to keep Model S in Neutral).

2. If your Model S is equipped with Active Air Suspension, it automatically self-levels, even when power is off. YOU MUST press the brake pedal, then use the touchscreen to set the suspension as follows:
Touch VERY HIGH to maximize height.
Touch JACK to disable self-leveling.
Touch CONTROLS on the bottom left corner of the touchscreen.

Warkovision | 03. September 2013

Unless of course you're "towing" it on a trailer. ;>)

Anonymous | 03. September 2013

You just need one of these:

DouglasR | 03. September 2013

I don't have the 5.0 software, but I seem to recall that they have introduced a "tow mode." However, better check with TM before trying to use it.

KWTESLA | 03. September 2013


Tesla will have a Tow Mode soon I have heard that is coming for 5.0 Software level you need to check with ownership about towing with an RV. Model S is not a light weight car.My friends often suggest it as the perfect car being towed to be charged etc. The problem the system must be up to regenerate that means the Key must be in the vehicle etc ? Call Tesla on that idea.

nickjhowe | 03. September 2013

@DouglasR - I believe tow mode is used for locking the car in neutral to get it onto a flatbed, not for long distance towing.

From the Europe manual "Use a flatbed trailer only, unless otherwise specified by Tesla. Do not transport Model S with the tires directly on the ground."

Brian H | 03. September 2013

There's a Russian vid around of towing a Leaf or SLT with a pickup to recharge it. Worked fine.

rdalcanto | 04. September 2013

I had the same question, and was told by Tesla that both the S and the X can NOT be towed 4 down behind the motorhome. Too bad, because that is the only reason I still own a Jeep as well.

Brian H | 04. September 2013

What's the reason?

Dwdnjck@ca | 04. September 2013

Maybe the service center can help you find a good flat bed with surge brakes.

jbunn | 04. September 2013

Flatbed with a braking system would be ideal. At that point, I don't see any reason why you could not charge the car. As far as the car knows it's parked.

Or buy the motorhome above, and find a used roadster!

JAFIC | 05. September 2013

wacky solution : have the model S On top of your RV.

Brian H | 05. September 2013

Flatbeds are not usually bunk-beds.

holstein13 | 06. September 2013

@Jafic, I might be able to get 250 - 350 pounds up on my roof without damaging it. How much does the Model S weigh? 3,600 pounds, I think. My MH has a Gross vehicle weight rating of about 18,000 pounds and I'm already at 16,000 pounds without the car on the roof, passengers, ramps and or cranes to lift the car. Of course my MH is already 12 feet tall so adding another 4.5 feet might make it challenging under a lot of bridges. But if we could over come that and the ramp or crane we'll have to carry, it's possible.

rdalcanto | 06. September 2013

Don't know the exact reason. Most cars can't be towed 4 down. Most good tow cars allow the transmission to completely disengage from the wheels, so they are rolling like a trailer. Jeeps are great for that. With the Tesla, there is no way to keep the electric motor from spinning when the wheels turn. In addition, it is too easy to re-engage the parking brake on the Tesla after you have gotten out and turned the car off. I am hoping they develop a tow mode, as it would make the perfect tow vehicle to offset the gas guzzling motorhome, but it might not be possible without overcharging the battery (I'm just guessing here).

Liz G | 06. September 2013

You could always get a trailer. Load the Model S on the trailer. Then tow the trailer behind the RV.

Got this idea from the last Transformers movie where the parent's came via RV to visit Sam and they towed their car this way. Course it was a pretty big RV they were driving.

Carefree | 07. September 2013

I am a fellow RV enthusiast. The problem with putting the MS on a trailer is that typically there is just not enough space at an RV park for your motorhome, car AND a trailer. That's why you see so many Jeeps, Chevys and Fords being towed behind an RV - makes it easy and convenient.

If the MX were towable, I'd be the first to order one. It would make the perfect get around vehicle incl. off-road capability.

Brian H | 07. September 2013

No way? What is neutral gear for, then?

rdalcanto | 07. September 2013

Well, in a lot of ICE vehicles, putting the car in Neutral still doesn't let you tow it, because there are enough transmission parts still spinning that the fluid over heats. Some cars can be towed in neutral up to a certain speed, provided you stop after a certain number of hours and run the engine for a few minutes to circulate and cool the transmission fluid.

Perhaps a Tesla technician can tell us if putting a Model S in Neutral physically disconnects the wheels from the motor. I would be surprised if it did, since that would make a very simple and strong gear assembly from motor to axle more complicated. I think Neutral in the Tesla means parking brake off, and pushing the accelerator doesn't power the motor in either direction. But, I have been wrong before....

Brian H | 07. September 2013

No attachment points.

In neutral, you can roll downhill without regen.