Model X Towing Ability and Capacity

Model X Towing Ability and Capacity

For those that didn't notice, Tesla teased Model X reservation holders with included towing ability. No hint at actual tow capacity.

First off Tesla, Thank you for announcing and including the tow option. There is no question that towing will significantly reduce range (simply the physics of drag and weight), but hoping the limited tow distance doesn't scare Tesla off in lowering the tow capacity.

Let me explain
• While I'd love to be able to pull a boat over long distances, even being able to pull my boat off the water and drop it off at a nearby marina or storage facility would be a HUGE benefit in itself.
• In other words, I see the Tesla X's rigid body, smart suspension, amazing torque being able to handle heavy tow loads. As long as there is good expectations set (dynamic calculations) on what the real distances are for an individual's tow situation, then please push the limits on tongue weight and tow capacity and let the tow distance be what it is until battery tech improves.

Owner of a 3,300lb Mastercraft boat.

PS> If the Model X can tow it 130miles then i can shoot for two Teslas in the family. Otherwise I'll need an ICE beast as a second car.

aljjr2 | 19. november 2014

wow... you may want to get advice from Tesla on placing the rear of a Tesla in Water on a boat ramp -- Especially if Salt Water.

ian | 19. november 2014

@aljjr2 - Why would that be any different than driving a Tesla on salted winter roads?

Red Sage ca us | 19. november 2014

I calculated the Model X towing capacity would be 6,000-7,500 lbs, compared to competitors in class. Presuming that towing speed would be 45-55 MPH, as typically posted on US highways, it may be able to manage 150 miles with an 85 kWh battery pack in good weather. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, high winds, or mountainous terrain would all ruin that. This is why I hope for an upgraded battery pack of about 135 kWh. | 20. november 2014

The rear view camera will size up the towed object and the MX will calculate estimated weight and drag and include those considerations in its energy usage calculations. This will be part of Release 7.0 to be downloaded soon after the availability of the MX.

vandacca | 20. november 2014

@georgehawley, you're on fire today with all sorts of great, patentable ideas!

jjs | 21. november 2014

I agree with george. Unfortunately I have heard from a reliable source that Release 7.0 will be delayed.

When asked about the future delay Tesla officials only comment came in the form of a press release that said the release would be released "soon".

And yes that was sarcasm. Good for an emotional release.

AlMc | 07. desember 2014

I would be pleasantly surprised if the X can tow more than 3,500-4000 lbs. To get towing capacity above that they would have to increase the frame/suspension components adding weight that would bring the range down considerably for all the other X owners that would never tow larger loads.

I suspect to get up to the 7,000+ range we will have to wait for the TM truck with the 135-150 KW battery pack.

dbh | 07. desember 2014

I'm all good with 2,500 lbs and a 20 mile range when towing a boat. 150 mile range would be super fine.

And while at it, tell me whether a RWS model S with an EcoHitch can already do it safely, if the skateboard is the same :)

dbh | 07. desember 2014

(make that RWD model S) | 08. desember 2014

I believe I heard a rumor that you will be able to hook the MX's up in tandem like diesel-electric railroad engines. Should be no practical limit on towing capacity except for sheer force resistance of the tow hitch.

ian | 08. desember 2014

Where's jjs? I think this idea is another patent in the making! Haha!

olavfelbo | 21. desember 2014

Happy Christmas here from Denmark!

I have also made a reservation for the Model X. It's of course crucial that this Model X has an significant towing capacity.

Many of us in the "SUV" segment expects high functionality - more than the Model S can offer - otherwise we would have bought a Model S.

It simply not enough just to have the possibility of carring some bikes or small racks.

It must be able to have the towing capacity for trailers, kayaktrailers, small boats etc.

I really don't hope that Tesla is so obsessed with style and range and Falcon doors, that they overlook that in the SUV segment functionality, functionality and functionality is also so important.

It's simply not the same market segment as the Model S buyers segment!

I at least know, that many of us in Denmark will cancel our reservations for the Model X, if it hasn´t really excellent towing capabilities. Sorry to say it. Hope all the best for Tesla :-)

rdalcanto | 21. desember 2014

Well, in the US, most SUVs are used to go to the grocery store and the kid's school. Most Jeeps never see dirt. While real towing capacity would be nice, I wouldn't hold my breath. | 21. desember 2014

@olav: I noticed that your towing capacity requirement started out as "significant", moved to trailers and small boats, and finished as "excellent" in a single post. Tesla is fast but may not be able to keep pace with your evolving needs.:-))

The standard MX model will surely have at least 380 horsepower with over 400 pound-feet of torque. A tow hitch will be available. This is comparable, I think, to the Porsche Cayenne S. The Performance model of the MX will have more power and torque. Only you can decide whether this is significant enough or excellent enough for your needs until we get more data from Tesla.

Reli | 22. desember 2014

any updates on this? where is the original link? I would love to know more also.

ian | 23. desember 2014

No updates. The MX specifications have not been released yet. Original link to what?

Red Sage ca us | 23. desember 2014

This is from a post I made several months ago:

According to the same spokesperson, "Model X will have towing capability exceeding most SUVs in its class. With all-wheel drive, incredible torque and sophisticated traction control, it will be an excellent towing machine."
Vehicle MPG Range Tow Rating (LBS)
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S 16 422 7,716
Cadillac Escalade ESV 14 434 7,600
Mercedes-Benz GL63 14 370 7,500
Lexus LX 570 14 344 7,000
AUDI Q7 22 581 5,500
Acura MDX AWD 21 410 5,000
Lincoln MKT 18 335 5,000
BMW X5 xDrive50i 17 381 3,500
BMW X5 xDrive35d 26 582 3,500
Hmmm... Interesting. The price range of these vehicles varies rather widely. Some of them are Crossovers, others are full sized SUVs. I'm not sure which would actually be considered to be a competitor to the Tesla Model X, though I suppose someone who is shopping might consider them all at some point.

I listed them in descending order based upon their towing capacity. I included their fuel economy and range for the sake of comparison. At least two of them are diesel powered, though most use gasoline. None of them are hybrids.

Based on this chart, my guess is that Tesla Motors will shoot for a 6,000-7,500 LBS towing capacity with the Model X. I still believe they will need a 100+ kWh battery pack to properly compete in this segment. They will need the increased range, even when not towing anything, just to make people more comfortable with buying their Crossover.

Mr. Peabody | 24. desember 2014

Sorry, but I don't see any way it could be an "excellent towing machine". It might have plenty of power. It might have great road handling capability. It might have plenty of weight. They might be able to engineer a frame reinforcement that can handle it all.

But put a big square box that weighs 5000 pounds behind it, and it won't make it between superchargers.

So, you have a vehicle that can tow your boat about 60 miles to the launch and 60 miles back. (yes, I made those numbers up, too many variables to possibly estimate)

It will, indeed, be "excellent" within that range, though!

Farmer Dave | 26. desember 2014

Latest post from Tesla re: trailer hitch on the MX mentions only a hitch-mounted bike rack, not an actual trailer.

Farmer Dave | 26. desember 2014

Correction: the email from Tesla also mentions a ski rack and towing ability, but doesn't provide capacity info.

cliffmccormick | 27. desember 2014

What is Tesla incorporated an additional battery back for a "Towing Variant." Like, if a customer knew they'd like to tow things frequently, say a small business...a general contractor/carpenter..etc.

What is there was a way to integrate "onboard" the X...additional "mission specific" battery capacity.

OR...offer...standard towing accessories and or a trailer...that has integrated power storage.

Having the thing being towed, bring with it, the additional capacity would be kinda slick. And as the Model S DOES have "two" trunks available, once could have a optional "battery well/towing unit upgrade/integration option."

Or so I speculate whimsically in public forum.



cliffmccormick | 27. desember 2014

*if (to be applied in the above post)

Red Sage ca us | 28. desember 2014

An official towing package would likely require the highest capacity battery pack by default.

cliffmccormick | 28. desember 2014

Hello Red Sage!

Red Sage: "An official towing package would likely require the highest capacity battery pack by default."

Right. It would seem so. I was just wondering if they'd consider incorporating additional capacity "in parallel" with "On board" storage in the X. You know? Like say, an additional 25kw in a boot well and an additional 60-120+ depending on what you are towing?

One could imagine a very sleek purpose built/paired "Secondary recreational vehicle" that would offer an interesting opportunity for storage...provided that additional storage is engineered for/integrated into the design of the X.

Like a port near a traditional "trailer hitch-ball" or something...maybe under it for aesthetics?

I don't know. Just wondering if Tesla has considered some the the advantages of towing something you know? A problem as an asset kinda thing.

Cheers RS!


Red Sage ca us | 28. desember 2014

If we presume that towing would require 600 Wh per mile at a constant 55 MPH, when the vehicle's interior passenger and cargo space was filled to the maximum GVWR, while hauling at the maximum GVTR... You will definitely need a larger battery pack than 85 kWh to make it from one Supercharger to the next. They are likely to be around 150 miles apart, but really, it's probably best to allow a 50 mile buffer, at least, to allow for inclement weather and detours.

200 miles at 600 Wh per mile is... a lot. 120 kWh. For the sake of comfort, we'll say that be 70% of the usable battery pack capacity of ~171 kWh... And make that 90% of full battery pack capacity, for an ~190 kWh battery pack capacity.

That would be truly awesome, but I have doubts that such a large battery pack would be offered within the next five or six years. By that time it might be better to have a 220 kWh capacity instead.

Thus, if we make the same calculations using 450 Wh per mile instead, we may be closer to what might be possible prior to 2016. 90 kWh, as a usable 70% of a battery pack... Comes to ~129 kWh for a stated 90% full charge. And an absolute ~143 kWh including all reserves. Probably within spitting distance of what might be called a 135 kWh battery pack in practice. Thereby achieving at least ~270-to-~285 miles unladen and ~189-to-~200 miles towing.

It really just depends upon how great a buffer between laden and unladen range you are willing to offer customers, and what they are willing to pay for it, if given the option.

Red Sage ca us | 28. desember 2014

cliffmccormick suggested, "What [if] there was a way to integrate 'onboard' the X...additional 'mission specific' battery capacity."

Batteries remain very heavy. As long as they weigh more than my Mom's purse, and take up more space than a duffle bag, it would not do to have added 'jump packs' for 'extra miles'. Besides, one of the primary advantages of the Model X is that its interior cargo capacity greatly exceeds that of its contemporaries. Tesla Motors should not give up that advantage, because it eliminates a huge portion of the typical need for a roof rack.

cliffmccormick also put forth, "OR...offer...standard towing accessories and or a trailer...that has integrated power storage."

Others have made similar suggestions. Tesla Motors products cannot be driven while being charged, likely for safety reasons. So the extra battery could not be used to top off the main battery pack while en route.

Perhaps a means could be devised to offer a parallel power source, like a reserve 'tank' that would be switched over to either on demand or automatically. While it is nice to think outside the box, and Tesla Motors is certainly changing the transportation paradigm, there is a need to preserve some aspects of reasonable expectation.

A Toyota Rav 4 doesn't need a special, purpose built trailer with an additional 25% gasoline fuel supply to tow things. Neither should a Tesla Model X.

Suggesting that it should plays directly into the hands of doubters and naysayers, who don't see the irony of a Land Rover Defender in The Bush with a rooftop luggage rack filled with Gerry cans. They only see the inconvenience of not being able to fill an EV 'in five minutes'. As is the case with most double standards, hypocrisy in the face of opposing evidence is the norm.

Thus, electric cars, and the batteries that power them, must evolve to be 'better than' ICE vehicles for such endeavors. They must be seen as capable of 'doing it all' without unusual compromises. This is why I say that eventually, battery capacity must grow to such an extent there is no denying the superior convenience of EVs.

At twice the energy density, a 170 kWh battery pack will give any Tesla Motors product the ability to match the majority of similar purpose ICE vehicles. When a 340 kWh or more version is available range will double again. But it is highly unlikely that an AUDI Q7, BMW X5, or Porsche Cayenne will have increased standard fuel capacity to 40, 50, 60 gallons or more within the next fifteen years. Equally unlikely is the notion their performance would improve even if their fuel economy miraculously rose to 40, 50, 60 MPG or more over the same time frame.

vandacca | 28. desember 2014

Tesla will never have an auxiliary battery pack. The reasons are simple:
- The battery pack needs to engineered to withstand accidents.
- To withstand accidents, the pack would have to be built with a lot of shielding
- The extra shielding will add additional weight to an already heavy battery pack (using today's battery chemistry)
- Towing around a heavy brick is going to negate most of the added benefit of having more batteries
- This expensive "trailer" with auxiliary power is going to cost a lot of money for a few extra miles
- It would be more efficient to increase the Model-X's battery capacity since it is already fully shielded, and all you're doing is adding battery weight, without any aerodynamic penalties

As I've said before in other threads, there are many ways to increase the range of the Model-X (e.g. Improved aerodynamics, lighter battery chemistry, lower rolling resistance through narrow wheels, bigger batteries with a higher electrolyte:packaging ratio thereby reducing battery pack weight, etc.). The biggest range killer of the Model-X is it's weight. If they could substantially reduce it's weight, the range would improve dramatically. A 40% increase in battery (60kWh to 85kWh) only results in a 30% increase in range. A further 40% increase in battery will likely result in less than 20% range increase. Diminishing returns.

If you simply increase the battery without doing something about the weight, you're fighting a losing battle. Tesla has to approach the range issue in a multi-pronged effort (aerodynamics, friction, weight, chemistry and capacity) in order to solve this problem. They can't simply just add more batteries as that's not a viable solution once you reach a certain point. My guess is that point is around 100kWh. | 28. desember 2014

@vandacca: +several. Only addition to your thoughtful post might be that the MX loses range because of increased drag vs the MS, amount depending on speed. This could be greater than the weight penalty at highway speeds.

vandacca | 29. desember 2014

Good point @georgehawley. Yes, air resistance is a big drag on range (pun intended) and I wouldn't be surprised if it's a bigger issue than weight. However, Tesla has no control over that parameter (unless they want to install a speed limiter, which I can't see them doing). It's up to the customer to drive at slower speeds to increase range.

The only other thing Tesla has control over (with regards to the speed impact on range) is the body aerodynamics, which I assume they've done everything they can to make it as efficient as possible, so a customer's lead foot impacts range as little as possible. In my previous post, I was only thinking about design decisions that Tesla had control over, so neglected to mention things like speed.

Brian H | 29. desember 2014

Nobody has factored in the Alcoa MiniMill development of stronger, lighter more easily worked aluminum. Maybe a MiniMill inside the Fremont factory? Costs are unknown at this time, of course.

Red Sage ca us | 30. desember 2014

vandacca: +42 UP!

Brian H: Wouldn't it be awesome if local recycling centers in Fremont couldn't get aluminum cans anymore, because they were all being donated to Tesla Motors? | 30. desember 2014

@sujareeanddavid: By now you are probably very sorry you asked the question, one that no one can answer because no one knows how the MX will be configured. But let's try to ballpark this for you. Suppose one hooked a 3300 pound boat on a trailer behind a Model S with 85kwh battery pack. Assume that the wheel bearings on the trailer and the tire tread offer about the same rolling resistance per pound as the car. If you check the graph on page 42 of Nick Howe's excellent book, "Owning Model S", you will see that the rolling resistance accounts for about 140 WH/mile. The car weighs about 5000 pounds. Therefore, your boat trailer will add about say 100 WH/mile due to rolling friction. The MS uses about 300 WH/mile total at 60 mph. With your boat behind it it would use about 400 WH/mile. But your boat adds some wind resistance. Let's call it 450 wh/mile total with trailer. If you have 75 kWh of charge available, you should be able to drive a little over 160 miles. But the MX may be a little less efficient than the MS. Dual drive helps, weight and drag hurt. Maybe 330 WH/mile. Total then moves to about 480 wh/mile with trailer, yielding 156 miles. You made it. (Depending on how many fish you caught.)

Brian H | 30. desember 2014

How big are the fish? Can you make it home?

AlMc | 30. desember 2014

Well we are all speculating and I will continue that process. So my speculation is that the model X will be in the league of the SUV/Crossovers that can tow roughly 3,500#. There is no way it will be able to tow the 7,000# that some suggest.
The P85D is already having considerable range issues. Add to that a less aerodynamic design, huge increase in weight for the frame and suspension and TM will look at an unacceptable to EM range.

Sure, the torque/hp will be great but the rated miles will drop like a stone.

jjs | 31. desember 2014

From clear, clever and insightful (see post above) to sublimely inane (see most other posts) shows his considerable range. Which of course would be greatly reduced in a strong head wind or carrying large fish. | 31. desember 2014

@jjs: You get the last laugh for 2014 but I will be lurking under the bridge next year while waiting for my Teslas to materialize, secure in the knowledge that I have a card from Jerome Guillen and others, well you know the rest...

jjs | 31. desember 2014

@george - Ouch. Not fair!

Tâm | 05. april 2015

Can someone please tell me what Tesla said:

"We can also reveal that Model X will be the first electric vehicle with towing capability. The optional tow hitch will support accessories and racks to transport skis and bikes with the minimum effect on aerodynamics. We're also working with the best rack and accessory companies in the world to have elegant carrying solutions ready for Model X customers next year. "

What I read is: It can tow. Then, the next sentence seems to clarify what it can tow: accessories, racks, skis and bikes. It further reinforces that it works with best rack and accessory companies.

I thought there was an uproar about no roof rack to carry skis due to Falcon doors. So, isn't that what Tesla responded? Solution or your skis: tow behind, not strap on roof.

If you read more than one sentence, does that mean Tesla reveal that it will allow towing a trailer now?

So, did I read it wrong?

vandacca | 06. april 2015

@Tam, it would seem to me that Tesla has clearly said that you can put a hitch-rack for your skis/bikes.

What isn't so clear is the statement, "We're also working with the best rack and accessory companies in the world to have elegant carrying solutions ready...". This may (or may not) imply that roof-racks may also be a possibility. In fact, I may have once seen a drawing of a Thule-style roof-rack fitted across the B-pillars.

Also, once a hitch is installed, I don't think Tesla can prevent you from towing a trailer. They may say its not recommended, though.

vogel.peter | 06. april 2015

Can anyone tell me if it's a 2" or a 1.25" hitch?


tga | 06. april 2015

From analyzing the latest spy shots, it's apparent that it's 2"

suresh7745 | 07. april 2015

yes there is going to be a tesla boat. you will be able to super charge your boat and plug it into you X. it will help increase the towing distance. hint : major product release not a car.

ian | 07. april 2015

I'm expecting only hitch mount racks for bikes and skis. All those "best rack and accessory companies" make hitch mount racks in addition to roof mount racks. If Tesla somehow figures out a way to get roof racks on the X I'll be pleasantly surprised.

vperl | 08. april 2015

Need to be able to tow my 28 ft. Travel trailer with a boat attached.