TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC
Start a Discussionhttps://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/tags/

X to tow a LEAF across country?

Discussion in 'Model X: Driving Dynamics' started by cantdecide, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Portola Valley, ca
    Suppose you have 2 adults and you want to get an X and a LEAF halfway across the US (CA to CO). What is the best way?
    Obviously you would drive the X, but what about the LEAF

    1) Pay someone to take the LEAF
    I think the cost would be about $1000

    2) Sell the LEAF and buy another LEAF in the destination
    Cost is probably $1000 or more (depending on how good you are at buying and selling, and tax)

    3) Use a tow bar.
    Cost is probably $800 for the equipment, but you can resell it so real cost about $200
    Not sure that you can use a tow bar on a LEAF.
    At superchargers you would need to unhook the car (about every 100 miles)

    4) Use a tow dolly.
    Cost is about $1200 but you can resell the equipment afterwards so real cost about $200.
    This should work with the LEAF... as others have reported using a tow dolly to tow a LEAF
    However at each supercharger it would be annoying... you need to unstrap the leaf and take it off the dolly, then unhook the dolly from the car (and do the opposite after charging)... and do this operation every 100 miles or so.

    5) Use a tow trailer.
    Cost is about $3k but you can sell it afterwards... so real cost is likely $600.
    Easier to unhook and rehook at superchargers, but still a hassle.

    6) Drive the LEAF. Stop for CHADEMO charging in lots of RV parks to charge. Cost is mainly an EVSE or Jesla, but we already have an appropriate EVSE.

    Overall I suspect that (4) may be the best compromise... sure it takes an extra 15 minutes every 100 miles given 2 adults to load and unload but that would only add 3 hours to traveling time.
    Otherwise (1) would make the overall trip much faster and less risky.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2015
    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    Martinsburg, PA
    How about a U-Haul one-way rental?
     
  3. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Portola Valley, ca
    Using U-Haul to rent a trailer, dolly, or truck and put a dolly on the back of that?
    My guess is that renting a trailer or dolly would be similar cost to buying and selling a trailer or dolly (but maybe less hassle)
     
  4. Solarman004

    Solarman004 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    344
    Location:
    Colorado
    Rent a tow dolly would be my first choice. Driving the Leaf (I own a 2012 Leaf) would be dead last. I would sooner remove my own appendix with a broken bottle than attempt that drive in a Leaf.
     
    • Helpful x 1
    • Funny x 1
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    12,983
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    Rent a car trailer.

    Definitely not option #6. That would take weeks.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  6. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2,515
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Honestly I would do option 1 and just pay to have it shipped.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  7. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    3,399
    Location:
    Kongsberg, Norway
    In Norway I would do #6, but I guess you don't have the required infrastructure. Maybe the dolly? You'd probably be passing through a lot of almost deserted superchargers, so you could likely just take up 2-4 spaces at some of the superchargers.
     
    • Informative x 1
  8. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,779
    Location:
    Texas/Washington
    You cant tow a Leaf with the front wheels on the ground, so #3 is out right away.

    I don't think you can just unhitch a tow dolly -- you have to put the car on and off to unhitch the dolly. In most non-urban Superchargers you would be able to pull in to charge without unhitching, so maybe you would not have to unload too often. But when you did, it will be much more hassle than you think. Also, you can't really back up with a tow dolly more that a couple of feet straight back.

    The trailer will be heavy and increase drag more than the tow dolly, and you would still have to unhitch. But you could back up and unhitch.

    If you like the Leaf, do #1, otherwise #2.
     
    • Informative x 1
  9. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9 SageBrush, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    I brought a LEAF from CA to Colorado a couple of months ago. Shipping costs to my home were higher than I wanted to pay so I ended up with a combination:

    1. I shipped to a convenient place for myself and the trucker about 125 miles from my home. I picked a major highway that I knew car shippers frequented. ~ $600 from Stockton to Gallup, NM

    2. I rented a 'one-way' dolly from U-haul to pick it up. ~ $50

    The trade-off here, other than the obvious part of saving the trucker miles and time in return for a lower shipping price, is that you or your representative have to be available to pick up the car at the drop-off spot when the trucker arrives.
     
    • Informative x 1
  10. McRat

    McRat Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Messages:
    4,041
    Location:
    Norco, CA
    A U-Haul full car trailer one-way is not necessarily cheap, and the empty trailer is heavy, make sure you do not exceed your tow capacity. They may not allow you to rent it though, some places are very picky about what is used as a tow vehicle. They can be backed up after you lock the trailer surge brakes.

    Tow bars are specific to the car installed on, and can involve cutting and drilling. I use a Blue Ox. It wasn't cheap, and backing up is not an option like a trailer is, it can damage the tow bar. Only vehicles that can be towed with all 4 on the ground are candidates, which is rare.

    Dolly is an option, but without any form of trailer braking, you can see heavy brake loading on the tow vehicle on grades. Rock chips will occur.

    Enclosed trailer is what we used for race cars. This is the safest for the car, but driver should be very experienced towing heavy. Not even worth it for an inexpensive car.

    Personally, I would hire an open trailer car hauling service. Safer for both you and your vehicle.
     
    • Informative x 1
  11. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    You most certainly can, and I have.
     
  12. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    San Bernardino Mts., CA (Elev. 6100' / 1900m)
    There's no way I'd drive our 2011 LEAF with its degraded 24 kWh battery - there just isn't enough range to work with.

    However, if I had time, and in temperate weather, I might consider driving a newer LEAF if it had a 30 kWh battery with minimal capacity loss (107 miles of EPA rated range). Admittedly, I'm a sucker for adventures like that. I would carry a good road or mountain bike and go for rides while charging. Or maybe go running and also use a laptop computer.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  13. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,179
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    The leafs owners manual says you shouldn't and doing so would void your warranty should a drive unit / power train issue occur.
     
    • Informative x 1
  14. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Portola Valley, ca
    Thanks for all the replies so far...
    Regarding driving the LEAF... there is certainly not much infrastructure along the way.
    Could probably do about 1/3 of the journey on Chademo level 3... drive an hour or so, wait 40 minutes, repeat...
    Could probably do another 1/3 of the journey on j1772 ... drive an hour or so, wait 3 hours to charge... is no problem for a couple of overnight stays along the way, but the rest of the time it is slow.
    The rest is campground 14-50.
    The cost is a couple of extra night's accommodation at hotels and a couple of extra nights at campgrounds (bring a tent for summer)

    For that option I wouldn't do it myself but if the other person is my father who is retired and has plenty of time and wants to see America anyway then the nice slow trip could be a plus as well as an adventure.
    e.g. across Utah (the hole in public charging) you could stay a night at each of two KOAs 125 miles apart, drive slowly between them, and spend the rest of the day relaxing at the campground facilities.
     
  15. gabeincal

    gabeincal Enjoying Napa life the electric way

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Location:
    Napa, CA, USA
    Pay someone to deliver it.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  16. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    No

    The warning is against leaving the front wheels on the ground. This is a FWD vehicle, after all. You do have to release the parking (emergency) brake.
     
    • Informative x 1
  17. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Portola Valley, ca
    On tow bars...

    SageBrush, was the method to leave the LEAF on and just let it regen the whole time? How far did you travel that way?

    It seems to be one of those things where theoretically you can't but in practice you might be able to risk it.
    Even though it is a cheap car ($6k used) I imagine any drive train damage would be costly.

    This sounds like a real hassle for a one-off drive.
    This is probably my least favourite option.
     
  18. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    #18 SageBrush, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    See my response to Dhanson. The rear wheels roll, the front wheels are on the dolly. Apologies if I was not clear. As you can see from my snippet of the User manual below, it is a Nissan approved way to tow the car.

    Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.01.03 AM.png
     
    • Like x 1
  19. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    Portola Valley, ca
    On a tow dolly...

    Removing the car to unhitch is definitely a hassle ... watched a couple of youtube videos seems only slightly easier that installing snow chains. Inability to back also makes life difficult.

    I wouldn't want to do it without brakes on the trailer... fortunately some car dollies include braking and this would be needed for a 3300lb car on the back of an X. I'm not too worried about rock chips on a nanny car worth $6k used... but it is still worth taking into account.
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    4,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    Sorry all, to clarify I was saying I towed the LEAF -- not that I used a bar. The front wheels should be off the ground.
     
    • Informative x 1

Share This Page