Towing a trailer behind your all-electric Tesla Model 3 might seem like a pipe dream. The car is already small and lightweight, so you might be wondering how it could be safe to tow a couple of thousand pounds of cargo behind you. Although a Tesla Model 3 can technically tow a trailer, the question becomes whether or not you should.
Can You Tow With a Tesla Model 3? A Tesla Model 3 can tow a trailer up to 2,000 pounds. The question of whether or not you should, boils down to personal preference. The system has been extensively tested, so it is safe to tow up to the stated maximum capacity. You will have to consider things such as battery drain and wear-and-tear on your car.
The possibilities of what you can do with a Tesla seem endless. Now that you can tow a trailer behind the Model 3, it might seem like there is nothing standing in your way. However, you should continue reading to learn more about this idea and determine for yourself if you should actually use an all-electric to tow items behind you, given the tradeoffs that come with it.
What is the Towing Capacity on the Tesla Model 3?
Tesla has rated the towing capacity of the Tesla Model 3 at a maximum of 2,000 pounds. A towing package is required to make use of this feature. The package will come with a high strength steel tow bar and a removable adapter.
Explaining the Tow Hitch on the Tesla Model 3
Interestingly enough, Tesla launched the towing feature for the Model 3 in Europe several years ago. As many drivers in North America have expressed a desire to have the same feature available to them, it is now coming to the American market.
While towing capability is a much more sought after feature on SUVs, there is still a need for it on mid-size sedans like the Tesla Model 3. It is now possible to use a tow hitch to attach a small trailer durable enough to carry a bike or set of skis behind you. There are numerous other possibilities as well.
The tow hitch is a part that is now available for the Model 3 in the United States. It can be ordered separately at any time. Once ordered, any Tesla Service center can install it and make the car ready to begin towing cargo.
What Can You Safely Tow with the Model 3?
At its stated towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, the Model 3 should primarily be seen as a vehicle capable of handling a hitch rack, which will give you additional cargo space. In addition, a small trailer can also be towed behind the all-electric sedan, provided that it is not loaded down with too much heavy cargo.
With the proper parts and installation, it is quite possible to turn a Tesla Model 3 into a mid-size electric sedan that is capable of towing quite a few things. To get started, you only need some basic tools. It is always recommended that you have Tesla install the tow hitch, but beyond that, you will be able to easily attach your trailer or hitch rack when the time comes to get moving.
With the tow hitch installed, the Tesla Model 3 can safely tow the following items:
- Dirt bikes
- A lightweight boat
- A small trailer loaded with household goods
- Building supplies
- So much more – as long as it is under 2,000 pounds
Remember that the key is to remain below the 2,000 pounds maximum towing capacity. It is recommended that you come in far under that weight in order to minimize strain on the car and give you enough battery range to reach your final destination.
How Does Towing Affect Battery Range on the Model 3?
When you want to tow a trailer behind a mid-size sedan that has a combustible gas engine, not much concern is given to how much it decreases your overall gas mileage. After all, there are typically gas stations all along the route that you can pull into and fill-up the tank whenever it becomes necessary.
However, when towing with an all-electric sedan, there is a concern that the battery will be drained far too quickly to make it feasible to take along a trailer or hitch with you. The issue becomes what you are towing and how far you plan on driving. That is why it is difficult to say whether or not it is practical to tow with a Tesla Model 3.
Test Results Are Key
Perhaps the best way to explore this issue is to review the results of testing performed by actual Tesla drivers. It is one thing to trust Tesla because the Model 3 has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, but it is another thing to test it out for yourself.
Many examples are published on the Internet that detail user experiences with towing a trailer or other types of cargo behind a Tesla Model 3. One such driver decided to put the hitch he had installed on his sedan to the test to tow a 750-pound trailer behind him. Since this is less than half of the towing capacity, this seems like a good benchmark to go by.
Tesla Model 3 Battery Drain Due to Towing 750-Pound Trailer
Drivers towing a 750-pound trailer behind their Tesla Model 3 report a roughly 40% loss in terms of normal battery capacity. Depending on how far you plan on traveling, this can be rather significant. However, one must keep in mind that Tesla all-electric vehicles have some pretty impressive range to begin with.
With a 300 mile range Tesla Model 3, a 40% loss in range would mean 180 mile range when in tow.
You will also want to keep in mind that electric cars have an incredible amount of torque in the front end, thanks to their design. This means that technically they are actually great for towing. While you are not going to be able to tow a house behind you, there are quite a few things that you can fit in a small trailer and still come in under 2,000 pounds.
Should You Bother at All?
Given the rate at which the battery seems to drain when towing a trailer behind your Model 3, you might be wondering if you should bother at all. There are two sides to this topic. Some would say that towing items short distances make the Model 3 even more convenient, while others make the claim that electric vehicles were never meant to tow.
Both arguments seem to have merit. Given the relatively still limited number of charging stations across much of the country, it can seem imprudent to cut your battery capacity in half just to tow a trailer across town.
You may also run into a situation where you drop off your load somewhere, only to discover that you have no place to charge up. That could put you in a precarious position as to whether or not you have the distance necessary to get home.
To be fair, there are certain design features that make electric vehicles perfectly suited for towing. However, those benefits could outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to range and lack of charging stations. The choice likely comes down to the situation, what you are towing, and how comfortable you are doing so.
Your mid-size Tesla Model 3 can do so much. The choice of using it to tow a small trailer behind you, however, is an important one. If you need to take some things across town, this could be a useful feature to have. However, you might want to think twice before trying to tow a lightweight boat to the lake for the weekend given the reduced efficiency and loss in range when in tow.