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Could cost close to $7000 more to get trailer towing option?

Could cost close to $7000 more to get trailer towing option?

The purpose of this post is to spur discussion and not intended to be a whining or Tesla bashing post.

The currently shipping Model 3 I plan to purchase will run around 51K but to get towing capability might increase that cost by up to an additional 7K and I would probably miss out on some/all of the federal tax credit. Estimated guess on cost might be all wheel drive 5K + air suspension 1K + trailer towing hitch 1K. I would like to know the reason(s) why the rear wheel drive model may not be able to handle a towing option. Does the shipping rear drive model not have enough power or cooling capacity to pull a trailer? Is there a problem with the regen system if a trailer were towed? Suspension problem? No place to attach the trailer hitch? Any other reason?

I installed a Curt Manufacturing class 2 tow hitch on our 2011 compact class Voltswagon TDI Diesel and it works great. This car has 236ft-pounds of torque and 149 horse power. The curb weight is around 3300 lbs. This car can pull/stop a 1000 lb payload using my 500 lb trailer with no problem. After pulling the trailer for a few years, I did purchase a aftermarket progressive coil that is designed to install inside of the existing OEM rear coil springs (Something like this might also work on a rear drive Model 3 if an aftermarket vendor produced such a product). This progressive spring improved the handling, stopped the inside rear tire wear problem and keeps the car level while towing. VW does not void the warranty if a trailer is towed as long the car has a manual transmission.

Tesla states in the currently shipping Model 3 owners manual something to the effect that towing a trailer would effect handling, is not supported and (may) void the warranty.

Agreed, pulling a trailer with any vehicle would change the handling and be somewhat less safe than not pulling a trailer. Lawyers weigh in what does (MAY) void the warranty mean?

Bottom line it would be nice (if possible) to get a trailer towing capability on the rear drive Model 3. Having all wheel drive might be nice to have but is beyond my budget and will not pass the wife acceptance factor.

andy.connor.e | 05. März 2018

There is also zero confirmation about anything regarding future towing. All we know, is that theres a supposedly "towing mode" set to be available later.

dave.m.mcdonough | 05. März 2018

I've installed a few trailer hitches, nice one from Curt is like $250 with accessories. You Don't need AWD or air suspension to tow, in fact the balance will become more rear-heavy.
The car you want might be $7k in options but don't blame it on towing.

Ron.Olsberg | 05. März 2018

Andy, Thanks for the reply! Yes you are correct, Tesla has not confirmed when/if any Model 3 configuration will officially support a manufacture and/or aftermarket trailer towing option.

johnse | 05. März 2018

@dave.m.mcdonough “You Don't need AWD or air suspension to tow, in fact the balance will become more rear-heavy.”

Um... I don’t understand why you think the balance will shift to the rear with AWD? The extra weight of AWD components will be all up front. Looking at the moment arms fore and aft of the rear axle, the AWD moment arm will be significantly higher than the arm will be for 150 lbs on the hitch.

andy.connor.e | 05. März 2018

Its hard to just wait for Tesla to tell us the details and specifications.

rxlawdude | 05. März 2018

And be careful bolting a trailer hitch on - one report of severe electrolytic corrosion due to dissimilar metals (in the S). Not sure if this is an issue, but remember that currently, Tesla does not support towing at all. I would ASSUME that if and when that happens, an appropriate anchor point for the trailer hitch would be part of the option package.

Sparky | 05. März 2018

The Model Y, when it comes, will almost certainly have a towing option to be competitive with other small SUV's. Since it will be built on the Model 3 platform it would be logical to assume that the design of the chassis already includes stressed members for towing and an option to tow with the AWD version would be a welcome addition for many Tesla customers.

jamespompi | 05. März 2018

@Ron.Olsberg Did you give back your TDI? My finance and I gave ours back, which was hard since I always had such a fascination for the cars. I've owned 5 and they all ran like champs including my MK4 that had 330K. So hopefully Tesla can sustain a similar longevity!

To get back on the topic, I'm also wanting the AWD with hopes of some minor towing.

sosmerc | 05. März 2018

I wonder if the I-Pace will get a towing option? I would expect it, but nothing I can see from their photos shows anything resembling a possible "receiver".

giskard | 05. März 2018

Note, too, you can probably get a hitch for free if you're near the Seattle area. The first person willing to leave their car at Torklift for a few days will likely get the first aftermarket hitch on the house.

rxlawdude | 05. März 2018

@giskard, Torklift was the maker of the Model S hitch that was literally crumbling behind the bumper due to galvanic corrosion.

As I recall, the owner was able to work with them to come up with some isolation barriers that should reduce the problem, but it just takes a smidge of contact to start the corrosion process up again.

jordanrichard | 05. März 2018

OP, who told you that it will cost an additional $7K? Also your title makes it out like you are questioning the price of the towing option, yet by your own words Tesla has not confirmed anything about a towing option.

giskard | 05. März 2018

Ah, I was not aware that was Torklift. I have no actual experience with their products, but I've seen some good reviews and was just making the OP aware of the option. I would definitely make sure they have that corrosion issue sorted out first, though, that's for sure.

Ron.Olsberg | 06. März 2018

Thanks for the replies to this post! Note my post is simply stating what could happen if one requires a towing option and that is could be quite expensive. I know nothing more than what I have read online. I have not sold our VW TDI Sportwagon back yet but need to do so by the end of Dec this year. Since the rear appears to be aluminum on the Model 3, thanks for the posts regarding dissimilar metal galvanic corrosion. This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for. After seeing the Model 3 racing on the track Youtube video yesterday and the motor appearing to handle the abuse, I would think the motor could handle pulling a trailer (but of course I do not know for sure).