Tow socket

Tow socket

Does the Model S have a towing point on the front bumper? Most cars, including my current Benz have a small square plastic cover on the bar, which when removed reveals a socket to screw in a towing eye. If this is available on the S, it would solve the licence plate holding question as it can be then used for the purpose with an appropriate bracket welded to a bolt to suit.

jerry3 | 06. oktober 2012

No, it doesn't.

Sudre_ | 06. oktober 2012
joesontesla | 06. oktober 2012

Not so practical (impossible) when your stuck at 4 am in hard and deep snow to reach suspension arm.

nickjhowe | 07. oktober 2012

@joesontesla - I didn't think of that particular scenario, but I was very puzzled by the towing instructions in the manual. Seems like an overly complicated approach and in this day it is bizarre that TM wouldn't have a towing eye!

Teoatawki | 07. oktober 2012

This, in combination with the lack of an option for a hitch receiver makes me wonder if the current skateboard is ill-suited for such attachments.

Brian H | 08. oktober 2012

Yeah, it would have to link to other parts of the frame. You wouldn't want to "stretch" the battery much...

cerjor | 08. oktober 2012

If you stretch your battery, will you also stretch your range?

Volker.Berlin | 08. oktober 2012

First of all, the Model S must not be towed. That's the primary reason why they omitted the towing eye. The instructions that refer to the suspension arm as a towing point only relate to towing the Model S onto a flatbed -- not for towing it any distance!

Why that is and whether it is a problem that the Model S cannot/must not be towed at all, is another question.

Vawlkus | 09. oktober 2012

Probably a weight distribution problem V. Think about it, tow truck is expecting weight in the front (engine) and rear (gas tank). Having all the weight contained in the bottom of the car, which is a heavy car as well, will probably unbalance a standard tow truck, especially if the tow driver isn't expecting it. Might not have enough counterbalance weight in the truck, so instead of the car going up, the front of the tow truck could go up in the air! :)
(Unlikely I know, but thinking about this gave me a few absurd images in my head)

jkirkebo | 09. oktober 2012

Well, the problem with no tow eye is getting the car out from a snow drift with the help of your friendly farmer and his tractor. Do I have to keep the proper tow attachments and a 2x4" in the car myself ? Seems like a hassle...

Sudre_ | 09. oktober 2012

Strange. Back when I was a boy my car did not have the fancy tow eye and yet I was still able to pull the car out of a snow drift with a Jeep.

I'll admit it would be easier with the tow eye.

Teoatawki | 09. oktober 2012

Back when I was a boy....

And cars had metal bumpers welded to steel frames...
And men were men...
And women were women...
And all the children were above average...

Timo | 10. oktober 2012

@Sudre_, are you sure your car didn't have any "tow eye"? I needed to look WTF is tow eye, and it is basically just a metal loop attached to frame. I think pretty much all cars after WW2 had one.

TheAustin | 10. oktober 2012

Teoatawki - Back from where I come from,

All the women are strong,
All the men are good looking,
And all the children are above average.

(Not really, but that's how Garrison Keillor closes out The News From Lake Woebegone :)

Teoatawki | 10. oktober 2012

Yeah, I added the GK reference instead of what my children would have added:

And dinosaurs roamed the earth!

Beaker | 10. oktober 2012

Timo, my '67 mustang did not have a tow loop.

Timo | 10. oktober 2012

Maybe it is European thing then.

jerry3 | 13. oktober 2012


No every Japanese car has one as well.

jerry3 | 13. oktober 2012

That should be "No, every"

Dr. Bob Reinke | 14. oktober 2012

My 77 Celica has both frint and rear---as do both my 88 Supras and my 89 Supra.

sagebrushnw | 14. oktober 2012

Most, if not all Japanese vehicles (owned several) and European cars (owned two VW's) have a "tow eye" or metal loop attached to frame because they had to be tied down for shipping. This made for a convenient tie-down to keep them secure while on the ship.

Also helps when a car needs to be towed.

Volker.Berlin | 15. oktober 2012

sagebrushnw, well with that argument... The European Model S should come with a tow eye, too!

MikAo | 15. oktober 2012

What might be the reason for "not possible to tow"?
I think this would be easy way to emergency charge the battery, just hook up with big SUV/lorry/truck and charge for 50 kms.

I have helped some people to start their cars with towing, couple of times even at the airport parking lots. Could not do it if engineered like S-Model.

Timo | 15. oktober 2012

Stress for frame would be bad if the car brakes while towed. However it could be towed with minimal stress if the motor just stays electrically inert and just rolls freely. Maybe they just omitted the towing from the initial design and didn't think of it until it was too late (nothing in very front is attached directly to frame for example).

MikAo | 15. oktober 2012

Timo, how can normal cars be towed? Stress to the frame when starting the motor or breaking? I don't buy that explanation.

Brian H | 15. oktober 2012

Aluminum frame? Different game? Maybe all the seam fittings spread if it's towed.

jerry3 | 15. oktober 2012


Some cars have a "break away" clutch that slides before drive-train damage is done.

MikAo | 16. oktober 2012

Jerry3, Yes, clutch is designed to break before more expensive parts. How does this really relate to towing S-Model?
BrianH, do you think aluminium frame is less rigid? TM uses extra strengt boron steel in the front, should be strong enough for towing.
"High-strength boron-steel reinforcements are also used in key areas: THE BUMBERS, the cross-car steering-column support, and inside the B-pillars......"

"Our cars cannot be towed because frame is not strong enough". Good sales pitch!

I would like to know the real reason for not able to tow S-Model, maeby some-one from TM could tell.

Brian H | 16. oktober 2012

Yabbut. I would be more interested in the connection front-back. What bears that load?

jerry3 | 16. oktober 2012


It only relates in that I don't believe there is a break-away clutch in the Tesla. Perhaps one isn't needed but I don't know that.

The usual reasons for not towing are:

1. Towing with the drive wheels on the ground will cause the motor to spin and possibly do damage to the electrical circuits because the charging control of the motor won't be on.

2. The angle of the tow is such that the front (assuming the car's back end is lifted to avoid motor/drive train problems) will drag on the ground and become damaged.

3. There is no real place to mount a towing eye that would connect directly to the frame. In this video the bumper does not appear to be attached to the frame in a way that would take a tensile (pulling) load (it appears to be designed to take considerable compression loading), which is why Telsa has the towing to the flatbed done from the suspension.

jkirkebo | 16. oktober 2012

An induction motor won't produce any voltage or current if you simply spin it, unlike a synchronous PM motor. The induction motor needs an externally fed rotating field to do anything, since it doesn't have a single permanent magnet. Thus it could not damage anything by just spinning when the car is towed.

ggr | 16. oktober 2012

There is no clutch in Teslas. None is needed.

Timo | 16. oktober 2012

I bet the reason is that 3) from jerry3 explanation. There just isn't anything to attach the tow eye. Bumper is designed to withstand compress, not pull.