Tesla Model Y and Boat Towing Guide


Tesla Model Y and Boat Towing Guide

For many people, Tesla cars are the ultimate goal for their next vehicle since Teslas offer so many incredible features. One thing that might give people a bit of hesitation is when they think about how they would tow a boat or trailer. As with everything else, Tesla has thought about towing capabilities and made it possible.

The Tesla Model Y does not currently come standard with a towing package, but it can be installed. Here’s what it includes:

  • High-strength steel tow bar
  • 2” hitch receiver
  • North America 7-pin standard connector
  • Trailer harness
  • Tow mode software package

Although the Tesla Model Y tow package does cost an additional fee, it will certainly be well worth the price if you want to regularly take your boat to the lake for a bit of fun. Tesla enthusiasts who were initially disappointed to see that the Model Y does not have towing capabilities installed will be happy to learn about how to make towing possible.

How Can a Tesla Model Y Tow a Boat?

While the Tesla Model X, in contrast, does currently come equipped with a tow bar that is ready to tow up to 5,000 pounds, the Model Y does not.

A standard Model Y is not factory-ready to tow a boat, but it can tow one if a tow package is added to the car for an extra cost:

  • If you are ordering a Tesla, you can add on $1,000 for the package.
  • If you are installing a tow package on an existing Tesla Y, it will cost about $1,200.

A Tesla service center can install a tow package. The cost does not include ball mounts, which are dependent on the type of trailer you’re towing.

What Does the Tesla Model Y Tow Package Include?

You can order one of the Tesla Model Y tow packages online, which will then be shipped to the Tesla service center that you prefer. The $1,200 cost includes shipping and installation. The tow package includes:

  • A high-strength steel tow bar
  • 2” hitch receiver
  • North America 7-pin standard connector
  • Trailer harness
  • Tow mode software package

With the Tesla Model Y tow package installed, you can tow up to 3,500 pounds. This means that you can easily trailer most small to medium-sized boats with your Tesla Model Y safely and successfully.

What is Trailer Mode?

If you are towing a trailer or boat with your Tesla Model Y, Trailer Mode must be active. Trailer Mode will automatically be enabled in your Tesla Model Y when you connect your boat or trailer’s electric connection to the vehicle. The vehicle must be in park for this step.

Trailer Mode will not automatically disconnect when you remove the trailer or boat’s electric connection. You can simply disable Trailer Mode from the touchscreen. While you can manually enable or turn off Trailer Mode this way, you must have Trailer Mode on whenever you are towing.

What Changes with Trailer Mode?

When you have Trailer Mode activated, some features are not available. For instance, Trailer Mode will alter the availability of some autopilot features, including:

  • Autopark
  • Autosteer
  • Rear parking sensor

Towing a trailer or boat simply changes the way the vehicle needs to drive, so these features will not be available.

Trailer Mode also alters some of the other Tesla Model Y features, such as:

  • Increasing the following distance from the vehicle in front of you with the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
  • Disabling automatic steering interventions (side collision warnings stay active)
  • Limited braking force from Automatic Emergency Braking, increasing stopping distance

Most of these features that are changed just are not compatible with towing a boat or trailer. The main functions of the vehicle will naturally remain. 

What Should You Keep in Mind for Towing a Boat with the Tesla Model Y?

Towing with an electric vehicle like the Tesla Model Y is definitely different than towing with a typical regular gasoline vehicle. This means that there are other considerations that you should keep in mind before trying to tow a boat with your Tesla Model Y.

The Tesla Model Y’s Range Will Decrease

As one Tesla Model Y driver demonstrated, the range of a Model Y will definitely be decreased when you tow a boat. A typical vehicle with regular gasoline would certainly see a decrease in fuel efficiency if towing, but it is a lot easier to find a gas station to refuel such vehicles than it can be to find a Tesla charging station in some areas.

For this driver, who towed a 3,000-pound boat, 500 pounds under the maximum tow weight, the Tesla Model Y lost over half of the range it would normally get without towing a boat. This Model Y was at 45% efficiency while towing the boat.

Loss of range is not necessarily a dealbreaker for towing a boat with the Tesla Model Y; you can always expect to lose some efficiency when you add weight. The biggest issue with the loss of range when towing is that charging stations are not always available.

Certain rural areas or places that are not as popular for electric vehicles may not have many charging stations around. You should carefully plan your route before you tow a boat with your Tesla Model Y, accounting for an estimated 50% loss in range, if not a little more.

You Might Not Be Able to Charge Your Tesla Model Y When the Boat is Attached

Another thing to keep in mind if you decide to tow a boat with your Tesla Model Y is the possibility that you will not be able to charge your Model Y while you have your boat hooked up.

Most charging stations have chargers that require you to back up to the plug, which is not going to be feasible if you have a boat attached to your Model Y. For charging stations that you back your Tesla Model Y into, you will have to disconnect the boat beforehand; you will also have to reconnect the boat once the Model Y is charged.

There are some charging stations that allow you to pull your Tesla Model Y through instead of needing to back up. If you have access to one of these charging stations, then there is no need to worry about disconnecting the boat each time you need a charge. Just keep it in mind in case you will only have access to the more standard charging stations.

Consult the Owner’s Manual for Launch Procedures

In general, launching a boat with your Tesla Model Y is not that different from launching a boat with a standard regular gasoline vehicle. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want to avoid the vehicle entering the water as much as possible.

Saltwater can cause serious corrosion damage to the Tesla Model Y’s components. Regardless of the type of water at a launch, submerging the batteries of the Tesla Model Y can also cause serious damage.

You will need to consult your owner’s manual for the proper procedure for parking on a slope. This is a key part of launching or retrieving a boot, and safety is crucial.

Final Thoughts

Overall, towing a boat with a Tesla Model Y is perfectly feasible and not much more complicated than towing with a regular gasoline vehicle. Once the tow package is installed, the Trailer Mode makes sure that everything functions well and you can be on your way.

Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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