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Towing travel trailer with Model Y

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
Thanks for sharing. Your Wh/mi are about in line with my estimates that people didn't think would have that level of consumption. Your average speeds weren't high speeds either. Not too far off of the size of my trailer. The box on mine is 7' tall, but the overall height is closer to 8'.

How did it tow? Not worried about acceleration as it has plenty of torque. By the other driving dynamics. Did your trailer have any brakes? Do you have the factory hitch? Any idea of the trailer weight?
 

rypalmer

Active Member
Aug 22, 2014
1,402
1,504
Canada
Where are you attaching your breakaway cables? The manual mentions the use, but does to prescribe where to attach it to. Usually it is not recommended to attach to the hitch assembly, but for now I am attaching it to the area for the chains.

I am also using a bungie cord to keep the chains from rubbing on the plastic bumper. Any innovative solutions to avoid the bungie, or make chain hookup easier?
I plan on using a "soft shackle" made from Dyneema to bridge the gap and avoid rubbing the bumper to account for Tesla's truly terrible design of this.

 
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Webeevdrivers

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
2,315
4,012
Canada
Here’s what I got towing our camper over a mountain pass here in WA.
  • Monroe supercharger to Leavenworth supercharger
  • Camper weight as loaded = 3,350 lb.
  • Camper 19ft long by 8ft wide by 9 ft tall
  • Camper has a completey flat front and back, with the front angled slightly upward.
  • Elevation gain of 4000 ft followed by elevation loss of 3000 ft.
  • Weather in the 50’s and rainy, cooler at the summit.
  • Ave speed 45-55 mph

Thankyou for the info. What make and model of travel trailer do you have.
 

Araman0

Member
Apr 18, 2018
291
446
Seattle
Thankyou for the info. What make and model of travel trailer do you have.


Thanks for sharing. Your Wh/mi are about in line with my estimates that people didn't think would have that level of consumption. Your average speeds weren't high speeds either. Not too far off of the size of my trailer. The box on mine is 7' tall, but the overall height is closer to 8'.

How did it tow? Not worried about acceleration as it has plenty of torque. By the other driving dynamics. Did your trailer have any brakes? Do you have the factory hitch? Any idea of the trailer weight?

Yeah, the Wh/mi was a bit higher due the overall 1000ft elevation gain, cold weather at the summit, and rainy/wet road surface.

The Y really handles the trailer well. (Our RV dealer’s owner drove the rig and was very impressed, as just judging by the size of car and trailer it shouldn’t do as well.). The 385 horsepower really makes the Y handle towing with more ease.

We do not have a weight distribution hitch, but do have a sway bar and trailer brakes. We distribute the weight inside the trailer properly and in over 1000 miles of towing it so far I‘ve never experienced the dreaded trailer sway. The trailer is just too short and the Y too heavy for that to really be an issue.

We do have the factory hitch. (Given how close the trailer is to the maximum specs of the car, I did not at all feel comfortable going 3rd party on the hitch). The trailer, as loaded, is about 3,350 to 3,400 pounds.

The trailer is a 2021 Palomino Solaire 147x. See the picture below. (The hitch is completely resting on the car as the jack is about an inch off the ground in the picture, so you can see what if any impact it has on rear lean for the Y. After several trips with this trailer, my biggest lingering concern is how the Y‘s rear suspension will fare over time towing this trailer. I have to keep reminding myself that the toungue (plus sway bar and ball mount gear) is only 325 pounds, but there’s probably a lot of other lateral forces in play too. I plan to have Tesla inspect the rear after a year just to put my mind at ease that the suspension is fine.

1622323455218.png
 
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DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
That looks awesome together. Thanks for the sharing the photos and model info. I don't know if technically the MY is a unibody car, but I was always told by never using a weight distribution type hitch on them. Our family friends sold campers and RVs and he wouldn't even hook up one of the trailers he sold to the customer's rig if it had a WD hitch on it.

Lots of info about this on the internet in general. I haven't looked to see if Tesla permits a WD hitch for the MY and likely won't tow enough to warrant it.
 
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Araman0

Member
Apr 18, 2018
291
446
Seattle
I would love to know what it was saying at the top. I'm planning an 8000 ft climb over 50 miles. Loaded similar.
If I recall it was in the low 900’s. But I was also driving pretty slow (maybe 50mph on average). The weight of the trailer and the climb seem secondary to the energy required to displace air. Driving slower really gives the best return on energy savings when towing a non-aerodynamic trailer like mine.
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
Aerodynamic drag is your major enemy as you've appropriately surmised. Just a 10% increase in speed, increases your drag to ~ 20% more. The HP requirement goes up to about ~30% more (I rounded for simplicity). So if you need to make more power, you are going to exhaust the battery at a more rapid rate.

In general terms, drag increases by the square of speed, and HP required goes up by the cube. So 10% more is 1.1^2 for drag and for HP it is 1.1^3. As you can see, it is a parabolic curve for the amount of energy you need if you increase your speed very much. That is why I have ALWAYS appreciated Teslas is they focused on aerodynamic drag more than almost any other company across all their models.

That is why towing with an electric car isn't very practical UNLESS you can minimize the drag of what you are towing. Drag due to rolling resistance is pretty linear and such a small portion of overall drag at higher speeds. So if you are content to tow at 50-55 mph, it might not be terrible. While you have the power to tow at 70-80 mph, you could probably exhaust your battery in 50-60 miles if it has very much frontal area and a poor drag coefficient.

Curious to see how the CT does. It has more frontal area to begin with so might do a better job in conjunction with a trailer. A really tall and wide trailer is likely to crush its range too.

FYI - Ford has done some very interesting innovation with respect to towing a trailer with the new electric F150. A good read here about this and how they are trying to be very accurate with real time range estimates (exact opposite Tesla).

https://www.businessinsider.com/ford-f150-lightning-ev-range-darren-palmer-2021-5
 
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Araman0

Member
Apr 18, 2018
291
446
Seattle
For what it’s worth Teslas have a great tool for predicting range while towing. If you look at the energy graph, after at least 5 miles of towing the trailer at a given speed, it can use your energy consumption up to that point to calculate how much range you have left fairly accurately. It won’t do very well with changes in elevation gain or changes in speed, but for the most part as long as your driving is fairly constant, it will do a good job.

Additionally and more personally, towing a camper with an ICE vehicle was out of the question for us, efficient or not. I don’t need to burn up 30-50 gallons of fuel into the atmosphere every weekend camping trip we want to take. Granted electricity doesn’t always come from clean sources either, but here in WA it’s significantly cleaner and getting better all the time.
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
I am not doing a lot of long distance towing any more, but if I were, it would be a turbo diesel again. The filtering systems do a great job reducing emissions and on some of my vehicles I recycled vegetable oil to run them. Not good for long distance but for home it was great.

The Ford estimate range will take into account your current speed, capacity remaining, load, elevation changes, etc. to give a more accurate range estimate. It looks like they will be pulling data from other people towing to crowd source and refine their info. It looks very promising if you are towing a lot.

Whether you love/hate Tesla/Ford the competition will be good for everyone in the end. I hope some of the things Ford is doing will push Tesla to up their game.

I still will use my MY for some light towing and for that the range hit shouldn't be too bad. If I could get my wife to consider a camper like yours, it could be fun too if we didn't have to go more than a few hours of driving.
 

Wabsa

Member
Jan 23, 2021
27
35
Maine
Just got back from our first proper camping trip with the Y and teardrop.
The car tows great. Our efficiency numbers were:
Outbound 484wh/mi. 110 miles, ave 55mph (1/2 distance highway @ 65-70, other half back roads @40 ish)
Return (split into 2 segments)
Segment 1 - 524 wh/mi 46 miles @ 45 mph in the pouring rain and relatively cold 50F)
Segment 2 - 490wh/mi all highway 70 miles @ 65 mph
63479A3D-E6FB-466E-8CDB-9B7EB824F138.jpeg
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
Wow, those aren't terrible numbers. Nice looking trailer. Now if I could just get my wife interested in something like that for camping trips.
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
I am in coastal Florida and the biggest hill is a bridge. But you do have cold that impacts range. I think we saw freezing for just maybe a day or two this past winter.
 
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dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
113
66
Austin, TX
Did a 4hr trip from Austin, TX to Garner State Park and averaged about 600wh/mi. Took it at 60mph between most of San Antonio and GSP since it was the longest leg at 95mi.

To protect the bumper I
1. Added door trim guard around the hitch edge
2. Put vinyl wrap around the bottom of the number
3. Added a double latch to hold the chains up.

I will take a picture to share next time.
 

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jennilynn

New Member
May 28, 2021
1
0
Oregon
Took the Tesla and RTTC Grizzly out for a shakedown tow. The weather was not great, cold (38F), rain and windy in comparison to my not towing baselines, but here are my takeaways:

The Tesla hitch design sucks. Whoever thought any of this was a good design has obviously never towed anything and should be fired! I have to kneel on the ground behind the car to see what I'm doing!!
As has been widely reported the hitch cover is impossible to remove without tools and causing some damage to it. Clips have been removed, but still not good.
The safety chain hooks are buried and not visible, then the chains, once actually hooked up, contact the rear bumper potentially causing scuffing (I wrapped them to prevent this, but come on Tesla!)
The trailer 7-pin connector is also buried and causes issues if you try to connect a 4-pin to 7-pin adapter as the opening is small, and you can't open the cover flap wide to cleat the retention latch.
Anti rattle brackets will not fit on the hitch

Set Up
Tow vehicle - Model Y AWD LR
Camper - Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers Grizzly ~ 1700lbs as towed - Grizzly Bear | Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers

Test route out and back totaling 50 miles with 28 miles of highway @~65-70mph + 22 miles of backroads @~25-30mph. Minimal elevation change.

Non towing consumption
Northbound = 280wh/mile
Southbound = 246wh/mile

Towing consumption
Northbound = 540wh/mile
Southbound = 460wh/mile

Summary
The car tows effortlessly, installing and removing the tow ball and connecting the electrics and chains is horrible. Consumption increase is basically doubled, but not unmanageable and will meet our needs for our typical trips, but probably not great for super long cross country road trips, I'd probably revert to a tent and B&B's for long trips.
It will be interesting to see the performance over the summer when the weather is warmer, but overall it is a usable solution for towing our small camperView attachment 654577
What Kind of Trailer is this, its neat.
 

DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
I am pretty sure it is one of these. They look pretty nice. Last time I looked at them they had like a 1.5 to 2 year lead time though.

 
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Wabsa

Member
Jan 23, 2021
27
35
Maine
I am pretty sure it is one of these. They look pretty nice. Last time I looked at them they had like a 1.5 to 2 year lead time though.

Yes that's the one. We got lucky and found a used one last year before the prices went crazy due to the long lead time
 
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DayTrippin

Member
Apr 30, 2021
608
529
Jax
I had looked for a used for a while but gave up. I wouldn't mind having one but I have no idea where I'll be 2 weeks from no let alone 2 years. I saw one at a RV show and it was like a bidding war for it.

It looks like a great option for an MY, Rav4, etc. I'll keep looking for one and hopefully find one.
 

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