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Towing with Tesla Model X

Nakk

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Yeah, it's going to be a while before electric can take the place of long distance towing. I think the market will eventually push things that way, which doesn't concern me. Things change, and if they change naturally, or even with a well intentioned nudge, that's life. What does concern me is there are an awful lot of people who want to take choice out of the matter well before market forces move things along. I'm a moderate, and don't like to get partisan. But things have gotten pretty kooky here on the "Left Coast" over the last couple of years. Trust me, towing and boating are high on the hit list of folks who have the ear of a certain political party. A lot of these boneheads are against freeways. Any freeways.

I'm bringing this up because too many folks here--not all or even a majority--think electric cars are just about the "Green New Deal", and that's just not so. Electric cars are about choice. They're actually good for those who drive ICE rigs--like me--because reduced demand for petrol means lower prices. Everybody wins. The people you need to be concerned about are the people who want to require you to go electric, not the people who go electric because it makes sense to them. The day is coming when there will be people controlling Washington who want to make it very difficult for you to tow or go boating. Try not to push people into that camp. It's going to be hard enough of a fight as it is.
 

swatski

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@Nakk great points and perspective. I guess, for me, I get lost just marveling about the technology not quite formulating thoughts on the technology landscape, but I think you pretty much nailed it.

 

Matt Phillips

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For me the biggest detriment to towing with an EV would be charging. All of the charging bays I've seen are for cars - not vehicles with trailers. That means EVERY time you wan to charge, you have to drop the trailer, go charge for your 30-60 minutes, then go pick up the trailer. Whereas most gas stations are pull through. Even then you just KNOW if they set up some chargers that are accessible for vehicles with trailers, no num-rod will park their car in there to charge.

Don't get me wrong, we own a Tesla (roadster) and it's a great car that drive amazing and has torque for days. But for my typical towing day of 200+ miles with several thousand feet of elevation gain, it's just not practical. If I had a situation like the OP with only 4 miles, it may be a different story.
 

Liveto99

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Great cars Gl350 bluetec weighs 5000lbs tows great get 23 mpg for the 2010 and 21 for the 2014 but! 85grand for the car with options,$500 every oil change and $1,400 for 2 other services that they have. after 100k they fall part $7,000 in 2 months worth of repairs on the 2010 so I dumped it. 2014 hit 100k and I dumped that also. They did tow awesome and I got about 18 MPG when towing 3,000lbs. Have towed 7k with no problem.But not worth it went Jap and will never go back. Was nice having 600 miles between fill ups, only needed one gas station between NY and FL.
 

robert843

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Yes a full time towing vehicle is not a EV yet. As an everyday vehicle yes a Tesla is probably better then your gas vehicle no matter what it is. The average person probably fills their tank every 10 days at 5 minutes a fill for just an average number that’s over 3 hours a year fueling I bet the normal person in a Tesla doesn’t spend that much time charging outside their home a year. I can understand both worlds on this but the wife said tonight she would not go back to a gas car as her local travel vehicle again. For the few times a year we tow outside of local it’s cheaper to rent a truck then to buy one
 

2kwik4u

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For the few times a year we tow outside of local it’s cheaper to rent a truck then to buy one
I'm surprised more people don't take this option. Enterprise will rent you a 2500 pickup for not a ton of money. If you're only towing 3-5 times a year it works out to be much more economical to rent than to own. Just tax/title/registration will often be more than the cost of renting for a few times a year.

Wonder if there are any pickups on Turo that you could rent as well?!?!
 

suke

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I'm surprised more people don't take this option. Enterprise will rent you a 2500 pickup for not a ton of money. If you're only towing 3-5 times a year it works out to be much more economical to rent than to own. Just tax/title/registration will often be more than the cost of renting for a few times a year.

Wonder if there are any pickups on Turo that you could rent as well?!?!
I looked into renting a truck and I've found a lot of them don't have hitches, at least from enterprise. If you call and explain you're trying to tow they get super touchy and say their vehicles aren't meant for that kind of use. If it happens to have a hitch it was just cause it came that way. If I got one with a hitch I "could" do it, but they wouldn't cover me should there be an accident, etc. YMMV, but that's what I ran into locally to me. Especially when looking to tow long distance. Thought sweet I'll just rent for $70 a day and not worry about the wear and tear on my vehicle.


(AH HA! Enterprise never informed me their "truck" rental was different. Their pickup trucks they rent from enterprise rent-a-car is "different"). Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 1.25.15 PM.png


Hmmm yeah it's a pricey endeavor it seems. For the week it's roughly $700 to rent a truck if I was to make a good 600 mile trip with a 2500 series truck. Also additional fees may apply when towing.
 
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2kwik4u

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@suke Perhaps I was always picking up from the Truck Rental Place then. In a previous life doing construction work, it was fairly common we would rent a larger 2500 or 3500 pickup from Enterprise, then run over and get an enclosed trailer from the local Equipment Rental Place. Keep them both for a few months to work a larger job, then give them back when we were done.

Boss just built that cost into the job bid up front. I was usually just the lead tech on the job, so I did the pickup/drop off during the equipment readiness and ordering stage of the job.
 

suke

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@suke Perhaps I was always picking up from the Truck Rental Place then. In a previous life doing construction work, it was fairly common we would rent a larger 2500 or 3500 pickup from Enterprise, then run over and get an enclosed trailer from the local Equipment Rental Place. Keep them both for a few months to work a larger job, then give them back when we were done.

Boss just built that cost into the job bid up front. I was usually just the lead tech on the job, so I did the pickup/drop off during the equipment readiness and ordering stage of the job.
Probably so. I checked into this when picking up my boat as I couldn't quite tow with my jeep yet (had it regeared). Found renting a truck for the purpose of boat towing was quite difficult had I presented my intentions to the rental company. Ended up borrowing my FIL old truck. Got me home, albeit sketchy. I've seen all the hertz trucks hauling construction trailers, so it seems from a commercial side it's definitely possible.
 

robert843

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I looked into renting a truck and I've found a lot of them don't have hitches, at least from enterprise. If you call and explain you're trying to tow they get super touchy and say their vehicles aren't meant for that kind of use. If it happens to have a hitch it was just cause it came that way. If I got one with a hitch I "could" do it, but they wouldn't cover me should there be an accident, etc. YMMV, but that's what I ran into locally to me. Especially when looking to tow long distance. Thought sweet I'll just rent for $70 a day and not worry about the wear and tear on my vehicle.


(AH HA! Enterprise never informed me their "truck" rental was different. Their pickup trucks they rent from enterprise rent-a-car is "different"). View attachment 107014


Hmmm yeah it's a pricey endeavor it seems. For the week it's roughly $700 to rent a truck if I was to make a good 600 mile trip with a 2500 series truck. Also additional fees may apply when towing.
LOL you found it before I could post yes you have to go to there truck rental site to get one you can tow with. Its pricey but I still a better option for me then owning another truck unless I just buy a 5k beater. If I every really need a truck I probably have several friends who would trade my wife's Model X for the week for their truck though I actually have already had a few offer if I ever needed it. @Andy S would probably trade me for a few days if I ever needed as well.
 

suke

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LOL you found it before I could post yes you have to go to there truck rental site to get one you can tow with. Its pricey but I still a better option for me then owning another truck unless I just buy a 5k beater. If I every really need a truck I probably have several friends who would trade my wife's Model X for the week for their truck though I actually have already had a few offer if I ever needed it. @Andy S would probably trade me for a few days if I ever needed as well.
Just poking around Turo seems to be the best bet should I want to tow a decent distance, but not more than 750 miles. For me if I'm towing I'd be going to FL and that's going to eat up that 750 miles most allow free, then .91 after that.
 

2kwik4u

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LOL you found it before I could post yes you have to go to there truck rental site to get one you can tow with. Its pricey but I still a better option for me then owning another truck unless I just buy a 5k beater. If I every really need a truck I probably have several friends who would trade my wife's Model X for the week for their truck though I actually have already had a few offer if I ever needed it. @Andy S would probably trade me for a few days if I ever needed as well.
Hell, if you were closer I would make that deal for a weekend.......for a fellow board member that is. Not sure I could let it go to J.Q.Public :D
 

2kwik4u

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Just poking around Turo seems to be the best bet should I want to tow a decent distance, but not more than 750 miles. For me if I'm towing I'd be going to FL and that's going to eat up that 750 miles most allow free, then .91 after that.
Have you looked into renting from Toyota? They'll rent you a Tundra. I feel like someone else did that here not to long ago.
 

suke

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Have you looked into renting from Toyota? They'll rent you a Tundra. I feel like someone else did that here not to long ago.
I did! Closest one to me was over an hour away. Also was roughly about the same deal IIRC. Granted that was almost a year ago at this point when I looked. I'll be purchasing a half ton by the Spring of 2020 so it'll be a moot point by then. Jeep will be purely for top off fun, and possibly trips towing the boat to/from storage. The storage area is large, but tight to back a boat into my spot with a full size truck. Dunno how others manage to do it. My jeep is almost up against the wall cutting the turn to get my boat into its spot.
 

Ronnie

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I’m late to this party but have a few thoughts:
1. I live about 15 miles from the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. I see many Tesla’s on the road daily and several of my neighbors have them as second cars (most are parked in the driveway or street not the garage). I have never seen a Tesla used as a tow vehicle on the road or at at boat ramp. I can’t explain why but assume it just doesn’t make sense for most Tesla owners around here. The only time I see Teslas and a a tow vehicle together are when they are on a carrier leaving or going to the factory (I find the latter much more curious).

2. I leased an electric smart car for over a year, not to because I had to get into an electric vehicle but because I wanted a car that I could drive in the car pool lane legally even though I would be it’s only occupant most of the time. CA issues several thousand stickers per year for specific car models (electrics and hybrids) which allow the car to be driven in the car pool (aka HOV high occupancy vechile) lane with one occupant. The fine for using a car pool lane with less than the minimum number of occupants is over $400 per occurrence so buying a used ev or hybrid with the sticker will cost upwards of $1k to $2k more than a car without it but if will save you an hour a day on the road it is hard to argue it’s not worth the cost premium. The stickers have a set life after which they are no longer valid, they are color coded so that it is easy for a LEO to tell if it is valid or not.

3. Technology is improving but other things that can drain your battery are just sitting in traffic with the ac or heart on. I used to drive 35 miles to work in the smart car which had a paper range of 90 miles on a full charge. Realistically it was closer to 60 miles before only 20% of the charge remained (aka the red zone on my battery meter). As a result of being unable to get a full charge while at work there were several instances in which I was stuck in traffic 10 miles from home with less than 20% charge remaining, wondering if I was going to make it home to the point that I turned off the heater/ac, stereo and sometimes even the headlights while pulling into the slow lane in case the car just died and I had to push it onto the shoulder (ev are heavy vehicles just try pushing one, even a small one several feet). As such, I had to charge twice a day, once at work and again at home overnight. Getting a charging spot at night was never a problem but I had to get to work early to get a charging spot at Apple and they were big on charging spots (employees charged for free and there were always 2 to several dozens of spots at each Apple owned or leased building). Once I got a spot I would rarely take the car out of it during the day, like for lunch or to run errands because I didn’t want to use up the charge nor be forced into hunting for another charging spot before the drive home. The charging app only tells you when a car is using the charger it doesn’t indicate whether a car is actually occupying the spot or not. On more than one occasion the power went out at home at night which meant the car didn’t get a full charge and I couldn’t use it the next day to get to work.

4. A few years ago I went on a Jeep jamboree 4x4 rock crawling event. One of the other entrants was a Korean company that developed an electric kit for jeeps. That is, they had an all electric Jeep at the event (Rubicon trail) and it did fine. The only difference is that they also carried and used a gas powered generator to charge their Jeep at Rubicon springs (the 1/2 way point of the Rubicon trail hitch has no runnning water, electricity or phones). The generator took up a large part of their storage though.

5. Until last year my wife worked at a contract manufacturer near Tesla that developed and built the prototype for the model x Falcon door hinges and latest generation of super chargers. Her take, the hinges at the time we’re junk / always breaking so Tesla had them redesigned but used the remaining stock in the cars being built at the time. If you got a Tesla with the older hinges it is just a matter of time before they fail, hopefully they fail, if at all, under warranty. As for the super chargers, I think they finally got the, to perform to spec but she was working on a revision in the teens. There is also the cost, $5k + inststslled. After spending $50k (I’ve heard model 3s can be purchased for $35k but don’t know anyone or seen a $35k model yet, that I know of) on a Tesla I’d be hard pressed to lay down another $5k to charge it faster.

In conclusion, I would only use an ev as a tow vehicle in Two situations. First, if i didn’t have to tow far or often (e.g. 6 miles round trip 4 times a year like the op). Second, if I had no other choice. I would buy or lease an ev again but only as a Second/around town car. When an ev runs out of juice You don’t have the option to quickly recharge it. Unless you carry a gas powered generator you don’t have the option of charging it where it died, you will need to tow it away (if I ever see an ev towing an ev I will do my best to take a pic of it).
 

tabbibus

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I’m late to this party but have a few thoughts:
1. I live about 15 miles from the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. I see many Tesla’s on the road daily and several of my neighbors have them as second cars (most are parked in the driveway or street not the garage). I have never seen a Tesla used as a tow vehicle on the road or at at boat ramp. I can’t explain why but assume it just doesn’t make sense for most Tesla owners around here. The only time I see Teslas and a a tow vehicle together are when they are on a carrier leaving or going to the factory (I find the latter much more curious).

2. I leased an electric smart car for over a year, not to because I had to get into an electric vehicle but because I wanted a car that I could drive in the car pool lane legally even though I would be it’s only occupant most of the time. CA issues several thousand stickers per year for specific car models (electrics and hybrids) which allow the car to be driven in the car pool (aka HOV high occupancy vechile) lane with one occupant. The fine for using a car pool lane with less than the minimum number of occupants is over $400 per occurrence so buying a used ev or hybrid with the sticker will cost upwards of $1k to $2k more than a car without it but if will save you an hour a day on the road it is hard to argue it’s not worth the cost premium. The stickers have a set life after which they are no longer valid, they are color coded so that it is easy for a LEO to tell if it is valid or not.

3. Technology is improving but other things that can drain your battery are just sitting in traffic with the ac or heart on. I used to drive 35 miles to work in the smart car which had a paper range of 90 miles on a full charge. Realistically it was closer to 60 miles before only 20% of the charge remained (aka the red zone on my battery meter). As a result of being unable to get a full charge while at work there were several instances in which I was stuck in traffic 10 miles from home with less than 20% charge remaining, wondering if I was going to make it home to the point that I turned off the heater/ac, stereo and sometimes even the headlights while pulling into the slow lane in case the car just died and I had to push it onto the shoulder (ev are heavy vehicles just try pushing one, even a small one several feet). As such, I had to charge twice a day, once at work and again at home overnight. Getting a charging spot at night was never a problem but I had to get to work early to get a charging spot at Apple and they were big on charging spots (employees charged for free and there were always 2 to several dozens of spots at each Apple owned or leased building). Once I got a spot I would rarely take the car out of it during the day, like for lunch or to run errands because I didn’t want to use up the charge nor be forced into hunting for another charging spot before the drive home. The charging app only tells you when a car is using the charger it doesn’t indicate whether a car is actually occupying the spot or not. On more than one occasion the power went out at home at night which meant the car didn’t get a full charge and I couldn’t use it the next day to get to work.

4. A few years ago I went on a Jeep jamboree 4x4 rock crawling event. One of the other entrants was a Korean company that developed an electric kit for jeeps. That is, they had an all electric Jeep at the event (Rubicon trail) and it did fine. The only difference is that they also carried and used a gas powered generator to charge their Jeep at Rubicon springs (the 1/2 way point of the Rubicon trail hitch has no runnning water, electricity or phones). The generator took up a large part of their storage though.

5. Until last year my wife worked at a contract manufacturer near Tesla that developed and built the prototype for the model x Falcon door hinges and latest generation of super chargers. Her take, the hinges at the time we’re junk / always breaking so Tesla had them redesigned but used the remaining stock in the cars being built at the time. If you got a Tesla with the older hinges it is just a matter of time before they fail, hopefully they fail, if at all, under warranty. As for the super chargers, I think they finally got the, to perform to spec but she was working on a revision in the teens. There is also the cost, $5k + inststslled. After spending $50k (I’ve heard model 3s can be purchased for $35k but don’t know anyone or seen a $35k model yet, that I know of) on a Tesla I’d be hard pressed to lay down another $5k to charge it faster.

In conclusion, I would only use an ev as a tow vehicle in Two situations. First, if i didn’t have to tow far or often (e.g. 6 miles round trip 4 times a year like the op). Second, if I had no other choice. I would buy or lease an ev again but only as a Second/around town car. When an ev runs out of juice You don’t have the option to quickly recharge it. Unless you carry a gas powered generator you don’t have the option of charging it where it died, you will need to tow it away (if I ever see an ev towing an ev I will do my best to take a pic of it).
Can't comment on towing. But with most modern EVs, and more so with Tesla, you will be hard pressed to run out of charge. You would have to actively try to do so. I too used to have a puny 70 mile range car, but now with 200+ range I never worry anymore
 

adrianp89

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Can't comment on towing. But with most modern EVs, and more so with Tesla, you will be hard pressed to run out of charge. You would have to actively try to do so. I too used to have a puny 70 mile range car, but now with 200+ range I never worry anymore
You could say the same about gas cars - but it happens all the time.

I can already see it now. "Babe I forgot to plug the car in, it says it has a 70 mile range, do you think I could make it to work and back?" - Except I can't come bring her a can of electricity to get her to the closest charging station.
 

thefortunes

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I’m late to this party but have a few thoughts:
1. I live about 15 miles from the Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA. I see many Tesla’s on the road daily and several of my neighbors have them as second cars (most are parked in the driveway or street not the garage). I have never seen a Tesla used as a tow vehicle on the road or at at boat ramp. I can’t explain why but assume it just doesn’t make sense for most Tesla owners around here. The only time I see Teslas and a a tow vehicle together are when they are on a carrier leaving or going to the factory (I find the latter much more curious).

2. I leased an electric smart car for over a year, not to because I had to get into an electric vehicle but because I wanted a car that I could drive in the car pool lane legally even though I would be it’s only occupant most of the time. CA issues several thousand stickers per year for specific car models (electrics and hybrids) which allow the car to be driven in the car pool (aka HOV high occupancy vechile) lane with one occupant. The fine for using a car pool lane with less than the minimum number of occupants is over $400 per occurrence so buying a used ev or hybrid with the sticker will cost upwards of $1k to $2k more than a car without it but if will save you an hour a day on the road it is hard to argue it’s not worth the cost premium. The stickers have a set life after which they are no longer valid, they are color coded so that it is easy for a LEO to tell if it is valid or not.

3. Technology is improving but other things that can drain your battery are just sitting in traffic with the ac or heart on. I used to drive 35 miles to work in the smart car which had a paper range of 90 miles on a full charge. Realistically it was closer to 60 miles before only 20% of the charge remained (aka the red zone on my battery meter). As a result of being unable to get a full charge while at work there were several instances in which I was stuck in traffic 10 miles from home with less than 20% charge remaining, wondering if I was going to make it home to the point that I turned off the heater/ac, stereo and sometimes even the headlights while pulling into the slow lane in case the car just died and I had to push it onto the shoulder (ev are heavy vehicles just try pushing one, even a small one several feet). As such, I had to charge twice a day, once at work and again at home overnight. Getting a charging spot at night was never a problem but I had to get to work early to get a charging spot at Apple and they were big on charging spots (employees charged for free and there were always 2 to several dozens of spots at each Apple owned or leased building). Once I got a spot I would rarely take the car out of it during the day, like for lunch or to run errands because I didn’t want to use up the charge nor be forced into hunting for another charging spot before the drive home. The charging app only tells you when a car is using the charger it doesn’t indicate whether a car is actually occupying the spot or not. On more than one occasion the power went out at home at night which meant the car didn’t get a full charge and I couldn’t use it the next day to get to work.

4. A few years ago I went on a Jeep jamboree 4x4 rock crawling event. One of the other entrants was a Korean company that developed an electric kit for jeeps. That is, they had an all electric Jeep at the event (Rubicon trail) and it did fine. The only difference is that they also carried and used a gas powered generator to charge their Jeep at Rubicon springs (the 1/2 way point of the Rubicon trail hitch has no runnning water, electricity or phones). The generator took up a large part of their storage though.

5. Until last year my wife worked at a contract manufacturer near Tesla that developed and built the prototype for the model x Falcon door hinges and latest generation of super chargers. Her take, the hinges at the time we’re junk / always breaking so Tesla had them redesigned but used the remaining stock in the cars being built at the time. If you got a Tesla with the older hinges it is just a matter of time before they fail, hopefully they fail, if at all, under warranty. As for the super chargers, I think they finally got the, to perform to spec but she was working on a revision in the teens. There is also the cost, $5k + inststslled. After spending $50k (I’ve heard model 3s can be purchased for $35k but don’t know anyone or seen a $35k model yet, that I know of) on a Tesla I’d be hard pressed to lay down another $5k to charge it faster.

In conclusion, I would only use an ev as a tow vehicle in Two situations. First, if i didn’t have to tow far or often (e.g. 6 miles round trip 4 times a year like the op). Second, if I had no other choice. I would buy or lease an ev again but only as a Second/around town car. When an ev runs out of juice You don’t have the option to quickly recharge it. Unless you carry a gas powered generator you don’t have the option of charging it where it died, you will need to tow it away (if I ever see an ev towing an ev I will do my best to take a pic of it).
As someone with over 150k miles on a Model S and a Roadster, there is so much wrong in this post I'm not even sure where to start.

Lol at turning off your headlights and radio to save battery. Do you realize how little power they consume? Heat/AC does consume some, but I have literally NEVER turned off one or the other to increase range.

An optional home charger is $500, not $5k. That isn't required, as you can use the mobile charger that comes with the car if you choose. Either one charges the car in a couple hours (i.e. overnight) easily. You do not put a supercharger in at home.

"When an EV runs out of juice" - has never happened to my wife or me. Do you run out of gas in your other car? The beauty of charging at home means that we wake up with full "tanks" every morning and never need to stop for (gas/electrons) unless we travel. Then we use the Supercharger network as has been discussed previously.

ETA: Just like your phone at night, you get in the habit of plugging in when you exit the car. Takes 5 seconds. The car also pings me at a specified time if it is below a certain charge and not plugged in (I use 70% and 10pm) to remind me.
 
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