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Tesla Powered Trailer

Discussion in 'Future Vehicles' started by Brfong, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. Brfong

    Brfong Member

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    I was reading if you tow a trailer behind your Tesla (S, X, 3, Y, and Cybertruck) you can expect up to a 50% decrease in range.

    So, let’s discuss a Tesla powered trailer. It would have a battery pack, electrically driven wheels, can supercharge, and have the electronics to follow the attached towing vehicle.

    I don’t think this is impossible, but just requires some forward thinking and changing any laws preventing this.
     
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  2. Krash

    Krash Data Technician

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    It would probably have solar panels on the roof as well. The biggest advantage of trailers having power in the Semi is you wouldn't have to charge between short hauls. Just pickup a new load and go. Tesla has to be thinking about this. No reason you can't charge while driving since that is what regen is. Just need a software change and a charger in back, so that it doesn't stick out to the side. Appearantly the Cybertruck engineers said it was too complicated to put a second charging port in the front to make it easier to supercharge without disconnecting a trailer, so maybe I am missing something.

    I'm a related note: it seems silly that our autonomous cars in the future require a human to plug and unplug them.
     
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  3. Brfong

    Brfong Member

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    I didn’t realize people were thinking about powered trailers for the semi. I was thinking of something smaller for the S, X, 3, Y, and Cybertruck to “pull”.
     
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  4. Puddles

    Puddles Member

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    I see no reason for the towing vehicle to be attached anymore at this point, or for there to even be one. Load up "trailer", set destination, and meet it there. I think we'd call it something like a "Cargo Drone".
     
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  5. ThomasD

    ThomasD Member

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    I think it would cut down on the amount of weight the trailer could carry
     
  6. Morristhecat

    Morristhecat Member

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  7. Gixx1300R

    Gixx1300R Member

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  8. RichardL

    RichardL Member

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  9. gjunky

    gjunky Trifecta: Solar and both cars are EVs

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    There is a diminishing return on putting extra weight in the trailer which you then have to pull. It wouldn't be any different then packing the weight in the car pulling it (besides perhaps a small difference in rolling resistance).

    Would love to see an RV based on the Semi though
     
  10. bxr140

    bxr140 Active Member

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    Agree--there's not a ton of value in duplicating a drivetrain in a pull-behind trailer simply to increase distance between charging stops. Additional downsides are a rig that's overall less mass efficient, terrible ROI on batteries (since trailers are generally infrequently used relative to their tow vehicles), possible increase to the towing class of the trailer (and thus tow vehicle), and a potentially unfavorable charging experience since there could be two separate things to charge (its possible the Semi charging network or some clever connection between the tow vehicle and trailer would eliminate this downside).

    That said, one can easily imagine other upsides to electrification of a trailer. Safety-related things like stability control and augmenting steep grade ascents/descents come to mind, as do convenience type enhancements like automated slow speed maneuvers (especially backing up). An interesting solution could be to leverage the tow vehicle's battery to power a modest trailer motor capable of ~10's of kW of propulsion and regeneration (say, 25-75?) vs hundreds on the tow vehicle.
     
  11. prl99

    prl99 New Member

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    I glanced at the two referenced articles and one of the reasons for having a powered trailer is to allow the towing vehicle (my Cybertruck when it comes out) to be a standard configuration for everyday driving instead of a monster vehicle, like the 3-motor CT, just to be able to tow anything. The engadget article suggests instead of pulling a 2,000 lb load you'd only be pulling a 200 lb load. Add @Puddles comment above about an autonomous trailer, and I'd see my trailer being capable of riding along with my CT as if it's not even there. Contrary to @Puddles, I'd want my trailer with me but I also would like it to have enough "intelligence" to move with the CT changing lanes, etc., by giving the CT information on its surrounding. I also assume the Semi will have this kind of control of its trailer, sensors, etc., even if a sensor package needs to be attached to a non-Tesla trailer. I envision my trailer being purposed as (DIY) construction trailer containing my tools and a reasonable amount of battery storage to power the wheels and equipment. We all know solar panels won't be enough to actually power a table saw, etc., in real time unless solar technology improves greatly. Hopefully I won't need a ICE generator. When I don't need the trailer, I disconnect and let the solar charge the batteries (free charging) and have a vehicle that will get the mileage it's designed to get without a trailer. The trailer would be constructed out of aluminum, dual axles, air adjustment for leveling, as many electrical outlets as I feel like including, roll-out tables and canopies (maybe with flexible solar panels for greater solar surface area), of course a refrigerator and a setup for water. I'd add the camping accessory for the CT and I could go wherever I want to, camping out and working.
     
  12. ThomasD

    ThomasD Member

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    The tow vehicle is still only rated to tow a certain amount of weight. Will the Trailer manufacture take on the liability of the towing rig towing more than what it is rated for. That trailer will still weigh 2,000 lbs. You also have to keep the batteries charged. It would not be safe to tow a trailer that weighs 2 to 3 times the rating of the tow vehicle. You pull into a supercharger with your Cybertruck and trailer you would have to charge them at the same time. If you can't charge the trailer then the batteries are just dead weight. So in theory I could tow an 18,000 pound trailer with my Cybertruck that is rated to tow only 14000 pounds. I'm not going to take that chance. Not only do I risk having an accident. Being fined by the cops. or worse . No matter what that trailer still outweighs the tow vehicle rating
     
  13. Rowan256

    Rowan256 Active Member

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    A normal trailer costs a few 1000 euro, a trailer with a battery weights a lot more (so costs storage), can only be used with a Tesla and will cost a hell of a lot of more money for (most likely) only a handfull of times a year.
    Because of this, it's much more easy to simply ignore this one small downside effect and simply accept it as one of the rare negative things about electric driving.
     

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