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Supercharging with a trailer

YEG EV

Member
Aug 19, 2020
109
76
Edmonton
I have a Model Y on order with a hitch and my wife and I are planning on purchasing a RV trailer, my question is how does one charge the car while towing a trailer? Most of the super chargers that I have seen pictures of in Alberta and BC are ones you have to back into. Is it okay to park perpendicular to the stalls in order to charge or do I have to drop the trailer in a vacate parking stall and then charge the car?

Thanks in advance.

Duncan H.
 

Cybermoose

Member
Sep 2, 2020
56
57
Canada
I think that would depend on the situation. Some tesla superchargers have tons of spots and aren't very busy, if you came at a time of day that it wouldn't affect anyone to park perpendicular, I wouldn't see any problem with it. It's definitely not the best etiquette for supercharging or parking anywhere but I think most people would understand if it's not personally affecting them. I would assume the same if you were pulling up to a supercharger in the dead of night where you could have at least one extra charger accessible and there was no one around.

However, if there are just a few chargers or it seems like the station is pretty busy, just park the trailer in another spot before pulling up to the supercharger, another 5 minutes or so won't really hurt you but if you block multiple chargers for 20-50 minutes, people really won't be happy.
 
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ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,264
18,949
North Bay, CA
I tow frequently with my Model X. I unhitch to Supercharge at most locations, but some have tons of room with at least one pull through stall, and I can get lucky. It's not much time to unhitch, really, just a minor inconvenience.
 

bpjod

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 5, 2016
517
2,951
Alberta, Canada
Ohmman has written fairly extensively about his trailering experiences here. Look up those threads and read through to learn a lot. This weekend I encountered full SuperChargers locations in both Golden and Calgary. Glad I wasn’t towing a trailer and counting on charging!

Other things to try are camping in a suite with 50 amp service and charge overnight while camping. Also consider camping in the same location for more than one night and going to get a full charge at a nearby Supercharger while out and about with your trailer still back at the campground.

We’re looking forward to getting our Cybertruck so we can finally get rid of our last ICE vehicle which we keep for towing our RV trailer.
 
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Panda1

Member
Nov 11, 2019
69
30
Vancouver
You guys in the States are different from us up here in Canada our SC are not as big and we don’t have many SC stations around us one station to the next could be 4-500kms away for example and for Vancouver 2 of our SC are in downtown in a underground pay parking
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,463
14,469
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I tow frequently with my Model X. I unhitch to Supercharge at most locations, but some have tons of room with at least one pull through stall, and I can get lucky. It's not much time to unhitch, really, just a minor inconvenience.
I have had the same experience as @ohmman since I purchased my 17 ft Safari Condo Alto trailer in February 2018. Unhitching to charge is a minor inconvenience, and at some Supercharger locations I don’t have to unhitch to charge, though that is uncommon.

@YEG EV I do not block stalls to charge without unhitching unless the Supercharger location is lightly used, I’m there during off hours, and I can still leave most of the stalls available. So I’ve done it a few times at most.

The Supercharger in Petaluma California is one of my favorites because there are a lot of stalls and they are a pull-through layout!
 

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SnowFlyer

Member
Aug 20, 2017
81
66
Arizona
The fact that Tesla is still building new SC's without trailer compatible charging is pretty ridiculous.

The majority of new SC's I've seen come online here in the SW USA are NOT trailer compatible: Gallup, NM, Holbrook, AZ, Flagstaff AZ, Deer Valley, AZ. The SW USA is chock full of tourists and locals who tow ATV's, RV's, and boats. Sadly the only SC near me that's Trailer compatible is one spot at New River, AZ.

It's almost as if the person in charge of SC's has no idea Tesla already builds cars with towing capability, not to mention a truck that's scheduled to be delivered in short order. I have no doubt that Tesla's poor planning will cause us all inconvenience. As Teslas are more widely adopted and SC's become more congested, those with trailers will block spots thinking no one else is coming then you show up and there's a Airstream or boat trailer blocking the remaining SC's and the owner is no where to be found.

Elon should have mandated that all new SC's be built with a generous amount of trailer compatible stalls (obviously locations like parking garages would be exempt from this requirement). This level of incompetence is mind boggling.

I understand that right now there are often vacant adjacent SC's to allow you to avoid unhitching, but that's going to become much less commonplace in the coming years as Teslas become much more widely adopted. The SC overcrowding seen in CA is likely going to become commonplace worldwide as Tesla adoption outpaces SC construction.

I also understand that some Tesla owners are happy to unhitch to SC, but I can assure you that the vast majority of people who tow don't want to fuss with the time to SC on road trips, much less the additional burden of unhitching. When potential owners realize this, it's will impact sales and EV adoption. I hope they start building more trailer compatible SC's soon.
 
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Webeevdrivers

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
2,435
4,584
Canada
We have a model X on order although will probably get a model Y instead. The intention is to tow a [email protected] 400. We have also noticed all of the latest Superchargers coming online don’t have facility for trailers. Disappointing, and I’m sure it will hurt Cybertruck sales. But I noticed that many of the non Tesla DC fast charging sites are in a similar boat. The reality we only travel a couple hours a day when we are your camping. We’ll probably just charge at the campgrounds.

Cheers.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,463
14,469
West Vancouver, British Columbia
But I noticed that many of the non Tesla DC fast charging sites are in a similar boat.
Yes, no EV charging sites that I am aware of offer stalls deliberately designed to accommodate EVs towing something. It’s not just Tesla.

Only a tiny fraction of EV owners tow during long trips. That is clear based on the 60+ Supercharger sessions I have experienced over the past several years; I’ve never seen a Tesla at a Supercharger that was towing something except once when by chance happened upon @ohmman in California!

If EV charging stations did have designated “this stall only for use by those who are towing” signs it would be unenforceable and routinely ignored.

So I can understand why Tesla has not built such stalls.
 

SnowFlyer

Member
Aug 20, 2017
81
66
Arizona
Yes, no EV charging sites that I am aware of offer stalls deliberately designed to accommodate EVs towing something. It’s not just Tesla.

Only a tiny fraction of EV owners tow during long trips. That is clear based on the 60+ Supercharger sessions I have experienced over the past several years; I’ve never seen a Tesla at a Supercharger that was towing something except once when by chance happened upon @ohmman in California!

If EV charging stations did have designated “this stall only for use by those who are towing” signs it would be unenforceable and routinely ignored.

So I can understand why Tesla has not built such stalls.
There is a nose in stall in New River AZ (i.e: you nose in and the trailer but have to back up with the trailer attached). I know pull thorough stalls exist sporadically worldwide, but not many near me.

With the 500 mile range Cybertruck coming out soon, towing is going to be much more popular. Having trailer compatible SC's at each location would also give Tesla an advantage against the other networks who don't have them. Just because the other's aren't doing it is really not a reasonable excuse.

Regarding non towers parking in the trailer spot, common courtesy and etiquette should prevail, meaning that those not towing should only use the trailer compatible SC if it's the only SC spot left. If you show up with a trailer, there are other SC spots open for charging, and a non-tower is in the trailer spot then kindly educate them that this spot exists to accommodate those towing trailers and ask if they'd be willing to relocate to another SC slot. Tesla could also put up signs saying the same.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,463
14,469
West Vancouver, British Columbia
There is a nose in stall in New River AZ (i.e: you nose in and the trailer but have to back up with the trailer attached). I know pull thorough stalls exist sporadically worldwide, but not many near me.
Yes they do (Petaluma CA, for one) but I have no evidence to support the contention that Tesla designed such stalls with towing in mind.
Regarding non towers parking in the trailer spot, common courtesy and etiquette should prevail
Yes, but in real life that is generally not the case, even if signs are posted…
 

CanadianRob

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 26, 2021
172
185
Trenton, Ontario, Canada
In Belleville, Ontario, there's a 20 stall SC where they're all in the row right at the side of a Mall parking lot.
It's never very busy there with maybe 4 or 5 people charging at peak times. I've seen a few with trailers pull up to the one on the end where they're using the end charger, blocking the next one and a few non-charging spots beside.

Then, I've been to some other SC's in Ontario where this just wouldn't work because of the setup. It's really going to be a case of judge the location when you see it and if you have to drop the trailer, it's only a few more minutes on to the stop.
 
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Vawlkus

Active Member
Feb 28, 2017
1,749
992
Halifax
It’s less a Tesla problem, and more a landowner choice IMHO.

Pull through superchargers do exist but they’re rare in NA. Only ones I’ve seen pictures of are in the UK.

I do wonder if the production CT will have its charge port at the front rather than the rear.
 
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SnowFlyer

Member
Aug 20, 2017
81
66
Arizona
I do wonder if the production CT will have its charge port at the front rather than the rear.
A front charging port would be a great solution. I hope this happens.

My only other deal breaker is the yoke steering. I have a CT reservation, but will very likely cancel if there’s not a good charging while towing solution and if there’s no steering alternative to the yoke.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of aftermarket solutions develop.

If the port does end up on the back a SC compatible extension cord would be an interesting solution. Would likely be significantly cheaper than modifying the CT with an additional charging port on the front.
 
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Vawlkus

Active Member
Feb 28, 2017
1,749
992
Halifax
If the port does end up on the back a SC compatible extension cord would be an interesting solution. Would likely be significantly cheaper than modifying the CT with an additional charging port on the front.
The problem with building such an extension is twofold:

1) cost. Cables capable of safely handling that much power are expensive. I’ve no doubt the connectors needed for both ends would be easy enough to 3D print, although pinning them might be a little challenging.

2) resistance. Adding a length of cable will alter the resistance on the supercharger circuit. This leads to increased heat in the cable & connectors, and will absolutely tank the rate of power flow, or could cause the SC to trip it’s breakers thinking there’s a fault.

I’m dubious such a thing will be available until or unless Tesla signs off on it.


I like the multiple plug in idea, but I don’t know how feasible it is given such a connection is typically as short as possible for the same reasons I stated above.
 

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