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Found the Perfect Utility Trailer for Our MX

Discussion in 'Model X' started by bugZPDX, Mar 12, 2017.

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  1. bugZPDX

    bugZPDX Member

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    The ability to tow was a pretty big selling point for us when we decided to purchase the MX90D. We knew we'd be taking a range hit when towing but this wasn't a major problem for us since we primarily need to make trips to the Big Box stores for construction supplies. We're remodeling our old house so there are LOTS of trips to said stores. The most important features of a trailer for us are that it will hold 4'x8' sheets of plywood, be enclosed but have a removable lid, and based on the wonderful research done by Tesla Bjorn and others we knew we also needed something with a low profile. We looked at several options but most of the enclosed utility trailers were taller than we liked. We narrowed it down to the Wells Cargo MPT581 with no height adjustment.

    The local trailer shops would have to order the trailer we wanted and they told us it would take about 14 weeks. We got lucky and found a new one already built but it was 170 miles away. This is significantly further than we will probably ever take the trailer in reality but what a great test of towing and range. I had planned on charging the car to 100% before we left but naturally I forgot so we were at about 85% when we started. The trip was from Portland to Bend, Oregon so lots of elevation changes through the Cascades in the cold and the rain. Initially nav calculated no need to stop and charge before Bend but that quickly changed. We stopped in Sandy for about 15 minutes and ended up arriving at the trailer place with 12%.

    We paid for the trailer and verified the shop's closing time then headed out to feed the car and ourselves. With all of us recharged to 100% we went back for the trailer, hooked it up and tested the lights. Everything worked perfectly. The car automatically switched to tow mode and the trailer icon showed up on the dash. The salesperson said he didn't think any electric car could tow anything. He was pretty impressed to learn that the MX is rated to tow 5000 lbs. The trailer weighs about 800 lbs empty so it didn't really feel like we were towing anything. The car didn't seem to notice it at all. With our full charge the nav estimated we would make it all the way home with 26% remaining charge. We drove at ~60 mph and this estimate held steady for half the trip! Once we were in the middle of the Cascades we hit a lot of rain and that's when we saw our range take a pretty big hit, dropping fairly quickly down to 15%. We didn't regain anything as we descended from the mountains.

    We made it the 170 miles to home, no stops, with 15% remaining. We are extremely happy with the trailer and of course with our amazing car. Installing the hitch was a breeze, hooking up the trailer was as simple as could be, towing it was a pleasure. Backing it in to our long, narrow driveway was a bit of a challenge but will just take a little practice. All in all we think this solution is going to work out really well for us. I'd love to see/read about other utility trailers people have chosen and your experiences.

    TeslaTowing.jpg
     
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  2. Gwgan

    Gwgan Almost a wagon

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    Aerodynamics may be improved a bit by bringing the trailer closer, although what you have looks standard it may not be optimal for the X.
    Aerodynamics of Road Vehicles
    Untitled-4.jpg
     
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  3. bugZPDX

    bugZPDX Member

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    This looks very handy! The trailer as-is isn't adjustable but maybe we can do something about that. We'll have to investigate. Thank you!
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your report. Did you note your wH/mi figure for the trip home while towing?

    That trailer appears to be narrower than the X and not as tall as the X, so I would think the increased amount of drag it creates while you are towing it would be modest. That said, it will still be significant and I expect your wH/mi energy usage will be at least 30% more compared to not towing.
     
  5. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    Great report. As someone interested in a trailer like you got, it was very helpful.
     
  6. bugZPDX

    bugZPDX Member

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    Unfortunately we didn't look at anything but our estimated remaining charge. We've been driving it around today though and it's averaging about 430 Wh/mi with a fairly small load.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, that's a bit less than I would have predicted but if you are talking about "around town" driving as opposed to freeway speeds that figure does not surprise me.

    The amount of weight you add to the trailer won't have much effect on your energy usage: it's primarily about the increased aerodynamic drag.
     
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  8. bugZPDX

    bugZPDX Member

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    Yep it was definitely the rain that had the most significant impact on our range. We live in the PNW though so rain is always going to be a factor.
     
  9. Yinn

    Yinn Member

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    I was looking at the same trailer. Did it require any drop/rise on the hitch?
     
  10. bugZPDX

    bugZPDX Member

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