Model X towing a boat

Model X towing a boat

I plan to purchase a small trailerable sailboat in couple of years. Total towing weight would be 6,000 pounds. Would the Model X be able to handle such a trailer? This is a typical weight for a boat less than 8.5 feet in width/beam. What would the likely impact be on range?

ian | 10 april 2013

No idea. They haven't released any towing specs for the X. Only hints that it will have a hitch. Sit tight and wait like the rest of us for more news. ;-)


davisu | 10 april 2013

o-O A hitch? cool. I'm enervated again.

Brian H | 10 april 2013

enervated - Adjective
1. Lacking strength or vigour

Try stronger coffee. >;p

AlMc | 4 mei 2013

Towing: Problem is structural/weight. Probably would sacrifice some range/speed if they wanted it to have real towing ability as the chassis would probably have to be much heavier.

Omlette | 24 mei 2013

I believe the model x would have great towing capability in the sense that the torque is readily available. The main issue is the sacrifice in range. If the power plant is similar to that of the model s then this would definitely be a problem. Currently the model s has a tesla advertised range of 300 miles at 55 mph. If they are limiting speed for such a claim then is it not possible that if a factor of 5-10 mph can have an effect on range anywhere from 10-20% how would a couple thousand pound load not do more damage.

The issue is more so battery technology.

mezzomix99 | 4 juni 2013

I enjoyed a ride on the Model S few days ago. When I asked about the sow bracket on the Model X, the answer was that due to current regulations, no electric car is allowed to have one. I hope that will change because the options of having a tow bracket could also be a possible solution of extending the range; You just tow an adequate generator behind your electric car. On that note, can the EV be charged whilst driving?

ian | 4 juni 2013


patientv | 27 juli 2013

Based on this article, I don't think it's illegal to tow with an electric car.... maybe not advisable and Cali Dmv website doesn't mention anything

Regardless, my concerns are;

1. What affect on range should be expected towing 2 jet skis of about 1500lbs?
2. What's the expected result of a partial submerging of the model X when off loading jet skis or boats into water? Although built to handle rain & puddles, 30 minutes with back wheels and base sitting in knee high water could be a problem right?
3. After sitting in 110 degree heat all day, the cooling system will probably be running, would repeated sudden partial emergion in 65 degree water for 30 minutes cause problems?
4. Will TS consider a solar charger that can be mounted to a trailer, this energy then later used to charge the model X? Better yet, just attach the electric motor and wheels to a light weight yet sturdy frame call that the electric trailer which when linked to the model S simply works like another set of wheels. Self propelled trailer...ooooohhhhh! Whilst dreaming, I'll add that if TS wishes to design an electric jet ski, I'd like to reserve one.

Obviously, I know nothing other than, I want the model X for my next family vehicle and I want to put all the demands on it, I put on my Kia Sedona... including stuffing it with kids,clothes, sleds, boogieboard's, bikes, sometimes furniture and yes towing our beloved (yet highly pollutant) jet skis!

lmcomplex | 29 juli 2013


you launch jet skis poorly if the back of your car is submerged for 30 minutes. Do you eat lunch while you launch? Would hate to be your car.

No tow package on the first model sad. Why have all that power, and not be able to use it?

vitaleye | 1 augustus 2013

I would guess that towing is the biggest problem for this car. And it will be until battery technology improves dramatically. To tow a boat you need to spend extra energy which comes, of course, from the battery.
I cannot calculate precisely how much more energy is needed, but I can make an estimate based on gas cars: gas consumption on my Caravan increases by roughly 30% when I tow a boat. This extra energy is used to move extra weight, overcome extra air resistance, and so on. So I would expect that Model X would use ~30% more battery power, and it's range would be roughly 30% less.

You could use solar panels to recharge, but at the moment they are not efficient enough, they don't produce enough energy. And they won't help much in winter or at night.

AlMc | 1 augustus 2013

The other problem in towing is structural. The difference between say an F150/250/350 is not only HP/Torque but the strength of the chassis (undercarriage 'box'/springs/struts,etc) Increased strength will increase weight. This will have a negative impact on range. The amount of the impact??

Brian H | 1 augustus 2013

No, that's not how arithmetic works. Using 30% more power leaves you with 100% x 10/13 = 76% of the range.

Brian H | 1 augustus 2013

Or 77%, to round to the nearest whole number.

ehandman | 6 augustus 2013

My current tow vehicle is an ICE powered SUV. It uses 4.5 gallons of fuel to go 100 mi when not towing the boat, and uses 9 gallons of fuel to go the same distance when towing. Using that as a ballpark estimate, the Model X's real-world range of 230 miles would be reduced to something like 115. Not enough to get to the lake and back.

grega | 29 augustus 2013

Vitaleye - if a gas car uses 30% extra gas, that won't equate quite the same to electric use will it?

I mean the electric car has outgoing power, but also has incoming power, where a gas car only has outgoing. The drag/wind resistance will be significantly affected, and the trailer probably has some of its own inertial braking of some form (or the Tesla's brakes will be used more often than the regenerative braking). Which is all to say I wouldn't be surprised if it halved the range.

patientv - your comments about submerging the battery and electric motor are troubling... I hadn't thought of that.

mezzomix99 - It would be interesting to be able to rent a trailer with a generator on it. Make some people more comfortable with long trips. More importantly though, rent a trailer with a battery built into it for long trips?

Damn, I realise I've commented on an older thread. Sorry!

Brian H | 30 augustus 2013

The thread becomes new as soon as it gets a new comment.

But the EV has no incoming power (overall, other than some regen) any different from an ICE. Expect the same range loss.

The trailer with battery would likely reduce range by added drag, etc., by as much as it added.

grega | 30 augustus 2013

What I mean to say is that the range of an EV is dependent on an expected proportion of regeneration when braking. So if you double your mass, but don't double your regen, then your range will be more significantly affected.

To put it another way, lets say a car has enough gas to accelerate from lights 100 times. Now if a boat on the back makes it use 30% more gas, then it can only accelerate from the lights 77 times.

Now for an electric car with 50% regeneration (I have NO idea how much it regenerates)... lets say it has enough electricity to accelerate from lights 50 times, but each time it brakes it regenerates half, so after 50 it still has 25 left... and after those still has 12 left... it ends up doing 100 too. Now if a boat on the back adds 30% more energy required to accelerate then instead of 50 it only gets 38, but it then regenerates the same per stop as usual and uses disc brakes on the car and trailer much more for the rest stop. So after 38 starts with boat, it has charged enough for 19 withOUT a boat. Then after those 15 starts WITH a boat, it has enough for 7.5 withOUT a boat etc. All up about 62 starts, so instead of using 30% more gas converts to the equivalent of 60% more energy.

There are far too many assumptions there, I simply don't have the knowledge to fill those specifics, but the concept is the same whatever the regen proportions and actual extra gas usage to tow. It might be worse, or not quite so bad, but it'll still be a greater loss than a gas car would experience.

That's just the stopping and starting of course. The drag when travelling is a separate issue. If the Tesla has lower drag than most cars, the addition of the boat will be a higher proportion of drag than most cars would accelerate, and thus also have a higher effect.

Brian H | 30 augustus 2013

A trip is rarely spent all accelerating and then decelerating. Most is "cruising", which costs energy to push the air aside, etc.

Dwdnjck@ca | 30 augustus 2013

I wouldn't recommend towing 6000 pounds with a vehicle that does not have a steel frame. While some unibody suv's can tow, I wouldn't expect it of an aluminum one. I would guess that the model X tow rating will be "not recommended."

grega | 31 augustus 2013

Brian, yes of course it's not all stop start.. Which brings the rest back to relative increase in drag.

Vitaleye mentioned a 30% increase in gas when his caravan added the boat trailer. The model s drag would be increased far more than that.

My point was that the assumptions of a gas car towing will need adjustment for EV towing. When your EV relies on efficiencies and regeneration not counted on in old technologies, then the effect on those has to be considered.

Maybe it's not important for a boat - not many people need 200 miles to a boat ramp, and can have lots of stop and start in my experience. Towing a caravan is a very different matter, with long distances (but Americans use motor homes instead don't they?)

Dwdnjck@ca | 2 september 2013

Does anyone think that they will be able to drill into the battery to mount a towing receiver? I cannot imagine the towing capacity of the model X will be over 500 lbs. The chassis on the X is the Same as the S. There is no
frame other than the battery box. The body is also made of aluminum. I wouldn't consider towing an option.

ian | 2 september 2013

We'll see what Tesla does for towing with the X. With the S there's no drilling required...

Just some plastic trimming and bumper bolts. Rated for 200 lbs tongue weight and max of 2000lbs.

Dwdnjck@ca | 2 september 2013

That is the rating for the hitch. Not the car. My guess is tesla would not approve it.

Brian H | 3 september 2013

"There is no frame other than the battery box." False. There is a boron steel frame with aluminum sheathing.

Tiebreaker | 3 september 2013

A question: how many people tow boats with their BMW X6? Or Porche Cayenne?

SBrentnall | 6 oktober 2013

I'm also interested in towing, but a horse trailer rather than a boat. I need a minimum of 5000lbs to replace my current Acura MDX.

Re. towing with a BMW X6 or Porsche Cayenne, I see it all the time at horse shows.

AlMc | 6 oktober 2013

SBrenthall: I do not see TM adding the necessary weight/reinforced frame components needed to pull a trailer. I too pull a horse trailer and will probably have to keep my Tundra to continue to do that. If TM comes out with a real truck in say...6-7 years, then I would suspect it will have better toing capacity.

Personally, I would never pull anything beyond a small one horse trailer with a pony in it with a BMW6 or Cayennne...but that is just me.

cambrown98 | 14 oktober 2013

An unnamed Tesla representative said that Model X will have an "excellent towing capacity"

So that means as good as or better than other vehicles it may compete with. Just for reference, here are some potential competitors' tow ratings (in pounds):

Acura MDX 5000
Audi Q7 6600
BMW X5 6000
Infinity QX56 9000
Mecedes GL 7500
Porsche Cayenne 7700
VW Tuareg 7700

aaquino22 | 15 oktober 2013

I have a great idea Elon. I believe an SUV should be able to tow boats, RV trailers and toys. Let's state the obvious, with all that torque and 0mph, an electric motor is superior when it comes to towing. What do you think our freight trains use, a strong electric motor with a diesel generator. Yes it requires more energy and you have to worry about a decrease in range due to a change in aerodynamics.

We can overcome this issue. Allow me to elaborate. The way to solve this dilemma I believe is to carry more electricity or carry a generator, not on the model x, but on the trailer itself. Most RV trailers have generators on them to run power when camping. I believe, that if you allow the model x to charge while moving, you can plug in a generator(ICE) or carry a stack of batteries to extend the overall range. Tesla can market selling a stack of batteries that can be mounted on the trailer if they don't what to be associated with an associated ICE generator.

Overall, the ability to plug in extra juice to extend the range of the model x would allow any avid hardcore SUV owner to carry their toys. This would be the cherry on top. This would change the SUV market to go electric. Let me know if this works for you.

Your loyal Tesla Supporter and reservation holder,


hungry | 17 oktober 2013

Imagine you can use your X to tow your S, and share the S battery pack, this will add to your range :) When you get to your destination, you can charge (SC) both car... (Not much cost involve)

How about you can rent a Tesla trailer with battery pack (60-85 kWh) so you can tow your stuffs and extend your range while going camping...

How about rent 2 Tesla Jet Skies, or a Tesla boat, etc... and share the battery pack with you X.

Now, only if Tesla allow you to share the pack :)

sosmerc | 25 november 2013

The model X definitely needs to be able to properly tow a trailer similar to what comparable ice suvs already can. For the kind of money one is expected to pay for a Tesla, towing should be part of the deal.

Brian H | 26 november 2013

AFAIK, towing is part of the design.

weasel314 | 26 juli 2014

This is a make or break for us. Gotta be able to tow a 3500lb ski boat. Model X Res #8036.

Miggy | 27 juli 2014

Don't know about the Tesla X but this is what other SUV's can do:
The Outlander PHEV is tow rated to 1500kg braked and 750kg un-braked.

vgarbutt | 28 juli 2014

Regenerative braking energy comes from the inertia of the mass. When towing something, it will add to the mass. Therefore the regen should be more as the mass goes up. I suppose the question is can the regen scale up as the mass goes up?

jjs | 28 juli 2014

@vgarbutt - I think the answer will be "sort of". There will be a limit on the amount of energy the motors can generate and there will be a limit on the amount of energy the batteries can take in. So there are definitely limits.

Right now on a Model S when standard (most aggressive)regen is selected there is a max regen force. I speculate that this was selected to optimize the regen energy captured and to protect mechanical and electrical components.

If you were towing a boat the X might slow down, more slowly, thus extending the time/distance that regen can capture energy. This would then "sort of" scale up.

It would be great if regen were to capture more energy more quickly as this would be a great safety feature enhancing breaking of heavy loads. Unfortunately I doubt this will happen.

Still.....this is Tesla and there is no doubt they have thought of maybe...?

LazMan | 29 juli 2014

@weasel314 That is exactly what I'm waiting for. We also have a ski boat. This is the only reason we keep an ICE car around. I would live to use an X instead.

Also, our current tow vehicle is a Honda Pilot. We can get about 500km to a tank without towing and only 300km to a tank with towing. I wonder what the tow range would be on a Model X.

I've often wondered about an electric ski boat. We are a family of competitive skiers. Usual practice at a dedicated ski lake is to go for a 15 minute set. How many kWh would that use? Could you carry a battery that would run the boat for a 15 minutes set. Just imagine arriving at a lake witch has a ski boat and chargers, and each person with their own 15-20 minute battery pack.....

bevguy | 31 augustus 2014

Re towing a boat

If you can afford a Tesla maybe you could afford a dock for your boat? Or even stow it near the lake in a boat storage site? Pay for it with the gas you save.

The fact is that a Tesla battery reality has very limited energy potential. OTOH, unlike other SUV (except the giant Tahoe type truck based SUV types) the Tesla is built on a frame, rather than a unibody. Unibody design makes towing difficult, frames make it easier .

For doubters ,wait and see the specs.

Range will be badly effected by weight and even more so by rotten aerodynamics of a trailer. A they are in a gas car. In time 1450 typo chargers will be found at most destinations.

jjs | 31 augustus 2014

+1 bevguy
I don't see how range can be anything but severely affected. However there still is a need. If you have a boat and you live in a climate where, even with a dock, you need to take it out once a year and put it in once a year an X could be very helpful. Further assume you store the boat within 50 miles of the lake and you should be able to get this done with an X. Even if you take it in and out as long as you are not too far from the lake you should be fine. But no cross country trips hauling a big boat I think.

ian | 1 september 2014

bevguy - You make conflicting statements in your post. At first, you have it backwards, but then you correct yourself.

Most big SUV's are built in a manner commonly called "body on frame", which is indeed better for towing. While some smaller SUV's and most cars, including the Model S and X are unibody structures, and aren't as good handling big tow loads.


bevguy | 7 september 2014

The model X and S are definately not unibody. Google the model S skateboard chassis pictures.

This chassis does not primarily rely on the body for rigidity. Made possible (desirable? ) because of the rigid box like battery compartment.

Then google "unibody"and look at the images. Big difference.

Unibody construction in ICE weighs less.But the separate chassis body will have big advantages in Gen 3 , allowing model variations much easier and cheaper.

Red Sage ca us | 7 september 2014

The battery pack is a stressed member of the assembly.

ian | 7 september 2014

I've seen pictures of the skateboard.

OK, I admit that it's not exactly a unibody, but it's definitely not a traditional body on frame either. It's more of a hybrid.

We're talking about towing though, so what would they have to do to the structure of the S to make the X a towing beast?

Red Sage ca us | 7 september 2014

The body of the Tesla Model X will be a much more solid and cohesive unit when tied to the skateboard than the various SUVs that are sheet metal dropped over a 'box frame' or built with 'I-Beam Construction'.

vperl | 12 september 2014

Yep, gunna buy a MX to tow my 30 travel trailer. That makes perfect sense and if I
cannot tow my trailer I complain. Gee whiz, I am damaged and feel cheated. Now let's complain on a forum.

jjs | 12 september 2014

@vperl - That's the spirit! ;)

LazMan | 14 september 2014

I just reserved a model X. Keeping this reservation is dependent on the towing capacity for the car. I will be very interested to know what kind of range degradation pulling a ski boat will cause.

Tesla, if you're listening, please build more than one supercharger between Toronto and Northbay.

PS, very happy with the 40,000 km I have on my model S.

SamO | 15 september 2014

The issue with towing trailers or boats over long distance will be the hassle of disconnection in order to access certain Superchargers. Blocking 6 Superchargers so you can charge while towing your boat will result in (justifiable) homicide.

jjs | 15 september 2014

SamO - Great point. Never thought of that. This issue might actually be something the SCer team should consider in designing future sites. I could see most stalls as they are now, but 1-2 with extra long drive through stalls.

Brian H | 15 september 2014

a) unhitch boat
b) Supercharge
c) hitch boat