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Towing experiences with the Model 3

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,102
1,087
Leamington
I did my first real towing with my Model 3 last weekend. The plan was to drive from my home in the Leamington Spa area to the gliding club at Bidford (about 30 miles), then collect my glider trailer from there and drive to the Black Mountains Gliding Club In Wales; a destination about 90 miles away and up some hills. Overall, it was a very smooth experience.

I charged up to 100% on Sat night so headed off with a full charge.

20191020_093428.jpg


Since there was a bit of sun and I wasn't at all sure of consumption with the trailer on, I decided to turn off the heater and rely on the bum warmer only (which works remarkably well). Driving to the club at Bidford, I managed a very respectful 240Wh/mile meaning I arrived with 90% charge:

20191020_104342.jpg

So, I hitched up the trailer and was very grateful for the AWD since the field was extremely boggy and I found one of the trailer wheels had siezed. Dragging it out far enough to the track where I could rock it to release the rust was a struggle - I could hear the motors fighting for grip. I'd never have done it with my old rear wheel drive BMW. Here's the combination - 950kg trailer, about 9m long:

20191020_104402.jpg


I then set the destination on the sat nav to the gliding club in Wales and was surprised to see that the predicted arrival charge had been adjusted to allow for the trailer (the car auto-set trailer mode once I connected the electrics). You'll see it's 40% - without the trailer it would have been nearer 55%. Very nice:

20191020_104710.jpg


Once en route, I found that the combination towed very well - completely stable with no snaking at all, even at 70mph. However, for the sake of consumption, I kept it to a max of 55mph during the vast majority of the journey. As I expected, the power of the car made light work of even a 1 tonne trailer. I hardly noticed it.

The roads were fairly quiet and mostly good dual carriageways with only the last 20 miles being on smaller roads. I was very happy with the consumption - about 340 Wh/mile on level roads; slightly beating the car's predicted usage:

20191020_122455.jpg

On arrival, I had 45% battery remaining. That's pretty good - however, I was at 51 % just seven miles before the destination; but those last seven miles were all uphill, sometimes quite steeply so, and dragging a total of almost 3 tonnes uphill takes some energy.

20191020_135124.jpg


So, I got there with a very large margin of reserve. Bssed on this experience, I'd be quite comfortable planning a trip to places farther away.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,255
3,213
Scotland
I did my first real towing with my Model 3 last weekend. The plan was to drive from my home in the Leamington Spa area to the gliding club at Bidford (about 30 miles), then collect my glider trailer from there and drive to the Black Mountains Gliding Club In Wales; a destination about 90 miles away and up some hills. Overall, it was a very smooth experience.

Many thanks for that really helpful write-up! Very reassuring.
 

Cogarch

Member
Apr 27, 2019
246
180
Loches
Excellent - really glad to hear of your experience. I think it demonstrates that aerodynamics play a big part in trailer drag -- and what could be more aerodynamic than a glider..? ;)
 
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pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,102
1,087
Leamington
Ah cheers, found it. Also known as the paranoia page?
Ha, ha - yes definitely helps with paranoia. The nice thing though is that you can track your progress against the predicted value so you can see early-on whether things are going to get sticky or not.
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,102
1,087
Leamington
I'll just add that the gliding club in Wales had a number of 16A commando sockets (normally used for motor homes), so charging up was a breeze. I could fly in the mountains in the glider whilst the car was topping up!

I expect that caravan types would have easy access to these connectors and whilst 16A isn't the fastest, it is better than a 13A plug and will charge the car on a long overnight.
 

GTV-e

New Member
Aug 7, 2020
3
3
Krommenie
2 weeks ago we made our first trip with the M3 and our caravan: a 1972 SMV, max. weight 800kg (steel chassis, wooden frame and interior and aluminium bodywork). With 30 degrees Celcius and a slight wind (5 m/s) on the head, driving 90 km/h on cruise control we used ca 30 kWh over 92 km ( 330 Wh/km). 2 days later driving home , same conditions except tailwind 5m/s, the performance was about 295 Wh/km. Driving 90 or 94 km/h did not made a big difference.
B5B33B08-D856-475F-8CBD-7933241113D6.jpeg
 
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pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,102
1,087
Leamington
I've since done a couple of trips to and from Germany towing the trailer. In May with warmer weather I managed to average 320Wh/mile on one stretch from eastern Belgium to Bruges. That's pretty impressive and much better than @GTV-e got with the caravan. It's obviously about aerodynamics more than then weight since the glider trailer is heavier but has a much lower and slightly narrower front profile which I suspect means the drag is a lot lower.
 

AndrewGR

Member
Oct 18, 2019
450
227
Oxfordshire, UK
Ringi - only if you can recover all the extra energy you use going uphills when you go down again, and if the rolling resistance is the same - both of which are unlikely with the heavier trailer. Having said which, aerodynamic drag is very important. A modern glider trailer is always going to be much moe slippery than a similar weight caravan.
 
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UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
416
187
UK
I’m seriously considering towing a Knaus Travelino caravan which empty is 750kg (max weight 900kg)

From what I can tell it’s a suitable match, ticks all the regulation boxes, but as for range, maybe even estimating half the usual range of a M3 LR is optimistic.
 

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