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Pulling at max weight - experience

Pipcecil

Member
Feb 21, 2017
145
145
Midlothian, TX
I wanted to share my experience pulling a new Tab 400 boondock trailer on the Model Y. The Tab 400 weight is ~3000k, add gear and other items and you are near the 3500k limit. The tongue weight is ~325, once you add a full propane tank you are near the 350 lb limit. So for this exercise we assume we are very near maximum limits. Trailer is in a teardrop shop for maximum aerodynamics (FYI the boondock is 17 inches higher than the regular tab 400 and higher ground clearance, I expect the regular to have slightly better range). Using the manual limit of only 3/4 inch rise, the trailer was slightly lower than level (just barely).

Trip:
  • 162 miles total
  • 331 range on full charge
  • ~100ft change in elevation (downhill to destination, uphill home).
  • 70-80 degree weather
  • low wind (none/low going there, light crosswind coming home)
  • Supercharger 105 miles from home and 57 miles from destination (going back home)
  • Only drove at maximum speed recommended by trailer - 60 mph (some areas were as high as 75, but never went higher than 60)

Range used to supercharger (going there): 300 miles (31 remaining)
Range used to campsite: ~178
Range used to supercharger (from campsite): ~175
Range used to home from supercharger: 323 (8 remaining)

Even in a fairly good aerodynamic trailer, the max weight pull pretty much kills range. I was only getting slight over 1/3 of my range. I would say the comfortable range would be ~100 miles to tow at full weight. In bad weather/wind or colder temperatures I doubt I could make it to the supercharger to home (and maybe not even going there).

Pulling was an absolute breeze though. So easy to accelerate and go up and down hills. Very deceptive to use more energy on making a hill climb since you do not feel the resistance.

Hope this helps everyone in making some trailer pulling choices!
 

FloridaSun

Member
Apr 19, 2021
477
794
Lakeland, Florida
Got the hitch on mine but luckily, I wasn't planning on hauling anything more than 20 - 30 miles.. I mostly use my trailer to haul things like tile or debris/trash to the landfill.. I have read before that range is significantly reduced when towing but I thought that it's more like 50% range lost, not 66%... That's quite a bit..
 

Spenny818

Member
Apr 26, 2012
114
84
Peterborough, ON
Thanks for sharing! My parents are looking at getting a Tab 400 for their Y, so I will definitely pass this along to them. Do you have a pic of your towing setup you could share?
 

steelersmb

Member
May 29, 2021
9
2
Atlanta
I am picking up my model Y performance model in two weeks with a hitch. I have a couple of waverunners with a trailer. In total, they probably weigh about 2000 pounds or so. Luckily I store them near the lake so I won't have to tow them for more than about 5 miles each way.
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
756
732
Jax
At higher speeds (basically over 40 mph) the aero drag is the worst. If you are in stop-and-go traffic, the extra weight is more detrimental here and up hills.

Easy way to see how bad the impact is. Go 50 mph for 5-10 miles, see your energy usage, then at 60 mph and finally 70 on a pretty flat road. You will see that energy consumption has a parabolic curve to it. Drag goes up by the square of speed and HP needed by the cube. So even a small impact in drag (more frontal area, worse drag coefficient) is going to be factored in very quickly.

At the same time, if you could go about 25-30 mph, you might see a very minimal impact on the range if you really need to make it home (at least from the aerodynamic perspective). You will still have losses due to the trailer wheels, bearings, tires and the extra load put on your car and more drag as a result. These impacts tend be very linear so speed up 10% they increase by about the same amount, slow down and they increase.

Keep in mind most trailer tires aren't high-efficiency ones either. So they could have a lot more drag than you might expect. Also keeping the trailer tires as well behind a very enclosed fender can help. Open tires, without any sort of fender, are terrible for drag.
 

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