Is The Tesla Model 3 Actually Equipped To Tow?

FEB 18 2019 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 36

Will you eventually be able to tow with your Tesla Model 3?

This is not a new question. People have been asking about whether or not the Model 3 would be rated for towing or would offer a tow hitch for some time. We’ve seen some DIY tow hitch installations, videos of the Model 3 towing, and even spy footage of Tesla testing the car’s towing capacity. To date, the car is not rated to tow anything. So, if you put a hitch on and use the car for towing, some repair claims may be denied or the automaker could partially (or fully) void your vehicle’s warranty for misuse.

However, news out of Norway via the Tesla Owners Club Norway (TOCN) suggests some potential progress for those that hope for a Model 3 that can tow. The organization came upon some information related to adaptations to the car’s electronics that point to the eventual implementation of towing.

According to TOCN, new drawings of the Model 3’s inner workings show a Trailer Light Controller and Trailer Light ECU. The article makes it abundantly clear that Tesla has not officially substantiated this information. It also says that if it’s eventually an option, there’s no way to know if those who have already ordered a Model 3 may still benefit.

It doesn’t make much sense for Tesla to plan for trailer lights if there is no plan for an optional hitch and an official tow rating. But, perhaps it’s just another way the automaker can make its vehicles more future proof? In addition, Tesla has made it more clear that the upcoming Model Y will be based on the Model 3 platform. Many hope the Model Y will have a tow rating and allow for a hitch, so Tesla could be planning ahead for that as well.

Currently, the Tesla Model X can tow. However, even the Model S is not officially rated for towing and doesn’t offer a hitch. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Model 3, and especially the Model Y.

Follow the link below for more details directly from the source, as well as images of the actual diagrams in question. Then, let us know what you think.

Source: Tesla Owners Club Norway

Categories: Tesla

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36 Comments on "Is The Tesla Model 3 Actually Equipped To Tow?"

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1 of september? probably date confusion/mixup and is the 9th of january

that is one of the issues with so many data, including dates, formats.
Ugh.

The most common complaint I hear coming out of Europe. I am surprised Tesla has not addressed this issue.

I wouldn’t buy a vehicle that can’t tow plain and simple. Being able to tow allows one to do far more things.
My 700lb EV trike pickup tows 1200lbs with a ‘2.2hp’ motor. It makes much more power than that as so easy to hotrod and built 3 homes, other things with it, it’s 8′ bed trailer. It does have a long tongue for carrying
large things like composite car bodies.
The 3 is made with semi motors with very good cooling so no reason it can’t tow except by Tesla’s choice. Another reason of many like no V2G, I’ll never buy a non crashed Tesla if I had the money. Too much corporate control for me even though a great EV for many, not for me.

Hi Jerry, check freedomev.com .It would address one of your (valid) concern …

What about a hitch for my bike rack?

You can legally modify your vehicle with non-factory parts if you so desire. Just like you can install a rainbow of LED lights under your Tesla and drive around lighting up the highway below you. Or you can install aftermarket woofers in your trunk. It is your vehicle.

If your modifications are done incorrectly or poorly, and your modifications cause damage to the vehicle, you would be responsible for the direct damages you cause. But Tesla can’t say you put a bike rack hitch on your Tesla, so they are going to void your entire warranty for the whole vehicle, if that is what you are worried about.

Not in Europe

Rasmus Birkegaard Christensen

I don’t know the rules in other eu countries, but in Denmark you can add a tow hitch for a bike rack or something else, as long as you don’t pull a trailer. Just passed inspection with a tow hitch on out fiat 500e. It’s not rated to tow.

I know this is off topic here, but… with regards to Tesla’s purchase offer of Maxwell
Can someone explain to me how this works. Tesla offers $4.75/share. Maxwell share price goes up, $4.74 Friday closing. Maxwell shares were about $3.60 before the offer. If I was a Maxwell share holder I would sell now and take my profit. This has to be approved by SEC and ratified by a Maxwell shareholder vote that will happen in about 3 months.
1. Why 3 months? Is this to give time for another competitive offer by someone else like GM or VAG?
2. Why are investors willing to offer $4.74 now? Doesn’t make sense for 1 cent in 3 months. Are they expecting higher offers?
3. What are the odds of this going through?

Yes, selling now and taking your profits is legal and fine to do. The downside risk for selling now is that a competitor could make a larger competitive bid, or drive up the price even higher by attempting to take control of the company through buying up controlling ownership. You would miss out of those possible higher prices.

Investors buying at $4.74 may include Tesla, who may be accumulating shares ahead of closing the deal. At which point they are buying at a slight discount what they plan on buying anyways.

It makes no sense for Tesla to purchase shares now, they are offering to pay by new issue of Tesla shares which costs them nothing. However it does make sense that Elon would buy Maxwell shares. Whenever Tesla shares get diluted by issuing more shares he must purchase more shares to maintain his control of the company. This is money he would need to spend anyway and those shares will eventually get converted to Tesla shares. Elon buying Maxwell shares now allows him to vote on the merger, at this point only about 17% of share votes are certain to be in favor of the merger, the more shares he can buy, the more certain the outcome will be what he wants.

There are a few people wit Mod S that have equipped their car with tow hitches, Warranty issues notwithstanding , most subcompact cars are not tow rated but I’ve seen enough tow hitches on them as well and those ICE car don’t even have the beans to peel a grape.

I saw a beat up Spark gasser towing a trailer at Home Depot. I might risk a beater, but I wouldn’t risk $70K car.

In Europe pretty much all cars have a tow rating, no matter how small the car. Not having a rating makes no sense.

“…most subcompact cars are not tow rated but I’ve seen enough tow hitches on them as well…”

Heck, my dad once put a tow hitch on his classic VW Beetle. And they make trailers specifically for touring motorcycles to tow.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing either for anything more than very light towing, but I don’t really understand this meme that if you car isn’t rating by the auto maker for towing, then you shouldn’t install a 3rd party hitch. Just use some common sense about not towing anything too heavy, and learn how to drive a car when pulling a trailer — especially how to back up when towing — before starting out on any long trip with one.

Yeah, I get that in Europe it’s actually illegal to put a tow hitch on a car that’s not built for it. Freedoms like this are one of the reasons I’m glad I live in the USA!

“freedom” to be as unsafe to yourself and the people around you as you want is not what most people would call freedom. I prefer the freedom of roaming the streets and highways without people’s homemade crap about to kill me.

Well, “Home Made” might “Infer” it’s “Crap”, but that doesn’t make it a “Fact!”

Take “Experimental” Aircraft, all “Certified” Aircraft, begin life, as “Experimental” Aircraft! Working in and Aircraft Factory, I have Worked on 3 Totally New Designs, and all begin life registered as “Experimental Aircraft!”

However, no “Commercial” Airliners, or Business Jets, are Certified as “Aerobatic Aircraft” (+6G/-3G), as they are not strong enough to meet those specifications! One step down, “Utility Category” (+4.4G/-1.76G) there is/was only One Business Jets Certified in that Category: the 3 Spar Wing Lear Jets! Next Step down, “Normal Category” (+3.8G/-1.52G), covers planes like C-172; C-182; C-210; Mooney Aircraft, etc!
The C-150/152, and the C-172 (When Flown with no back seat passenger or baggage) are also examples of Aircraft with Utility Category Certification.

Plus, there are “Aerobatic” Aircraft, rated for even Higher Limit Loads, as much as +12G/-6G, and not all are “Certified”, but that does not make them “Unsafe”, or “About to Kill You!”

But, you are, of course, allowed to have your understanding define your opinion. Just remember, not all “Homebuilt” things are “Below Code”, some are Way Better, since Serial Cost Cutting driven by Profit Motive, is not always interfering!

U-Haul will let you tow around 2,500 lbs worth of cargo in their 6′ x 12′ trailers (not including the weight of the trailer itself) if you install a 5,000 lb tow hitch on your Model 3 LR.

There are no federal laws requiring you to adhere to manufacturer provided tow ratings for non-commercial towing. State laws that may apply vary wildly by state. Whether you are covered by insurance is between you and your insurance company. Call them.

No car company can blanket void your entire warranty just for installing non-factory parts on your car. That violates the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. It is lawful for you to modify your vehicle both under MMWA and under fed. law, thus the huge aftermarket automotive modification industry. But if you modify your vehicle for your wants/needs/desires, the modification itself is your responsibility to install and use responsibly. So what you tow comes down to your own ability to responsibly modify your vehicle, and to the individual state’s laws you intend to tow in.

*shrug*

In Europe a car needs to be approved by manufacturer to tow. By law. Even smaller cars are often equipped with a towing hitch so the use is quite different from in the US. What Tesla needs to do is to include the towing capacity in the type approval. A considerable part of EU reservation holders do not convert to orders because of this.

Do this today Elon, and ill put in my order tonight!
And im not alone waiting for this in Norway, hitch type approval from Tesla will rise orders substantionally

Not just Norway, my little utility trailer only holds 1750 lbs and 200 tongue weight. A minimum need for many I think. Hitch racks for sports accessories like bikes are very popular now too.

Yes! Basic Advantage goes to Tesla, if the Model 3 can be Advertised with a 2,000 Pounds Towing Rating! If they can prove a 2,500 Pound Rating, even Better!

Most North American Smaller (Mid Size) Sedans are rated at 1,000 Pounds in North America, even if higher in Other countries! That is, IF They have Any Tow Rating At All, as most are listed as “Towing Not Recommended!”

So, a 2,000 Pound Rating Here, would give it extra Advantage! 2,500 pounds, would be nice, and allow some nice light Camper Trailers, too!

Important caveat: only applies in the US.

In Europe it’s not legal to tow with a car that has not been approved for towing, and the maximum towing capacity must be specified in the vehicle registration.

In principle, you can modify a car and obtain approval. You will then be issued a new vehicle registration, and must bring that along in the car so it can be displayed upon request from relevant authorities (police and a couple others). In practice, it’s not really possible unless the manufacturer has obtained approval for the particular modification.

You can mount a third-party towing hook, and put a bike rack on, and some bikes. But you cannot, in EU/EEC jurisdictions at least, use it for towing.

Both Norwegian and Dutch buyers generally want towing capability, and together constitute most of the European EV market for the time being. Still the manufacturers seem to just not care. Kia Norway has been saying for over a year that they are “working with the manufacturer” to try to get the Niro EV to get approval with towing…

Just note, that the rest of the non US world have very different rules for towing.
Personally, i reserved the TM3 on day 1. But as I live in the suburbs in Denmark, and a car without a towhitch is a total no go.
Here we do not have any pickup trucks. And instead every one have a small garden trailer that you use every time you have a construction project etc..
So no towhitch is a very limiting factor here, and I personally will only press order when towing is available.

* My post was intended for US owners.

Which I thought was implied with reference to lb’s instead of kilo’s, feet instead of meters, federal vs. state laws, the US Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, U-Haul, etc…..

It’s frustrating, at least for us Norwegians, how car makers neglect this feature. One would think it was pretty easy to make sure a car can tow!? And for MANY people here, it’s a bit of a must! Where I live perhaps as many as half of the households have a boat. Most of them need to take the boat out of the ocean to dry storage each autumn, and put it back on the ocean each spring. It’s usually not a big distance, so the fact that range takes a big hit isn’t really relevant for this use case. Another big (and partially overlapping) group is all the people who have gardens… and, generally, it’s just useful for anyone to have the capability. So if it’s as easy as one would think, it is all the harder to understand why it isn’t being done. Also, in Norway, and I believe all of Europe, modifying the car yourself and using it to tow isn’t a warranty issue. It would require the modifications to be approved by the relevant authority (Statens Veivesen in Norway), which isn’t easy since they basically just rubber-stamp the documentation provided by the car maker. If you… Read more »

Agree with you
Its kind of sad,, reserved the car near three years ago, but still awaiting ordring due the hitch,,
Come on Elon; make the three a perfect car for most Norwegians!

They didn’t get into the tow weight issue. With X easily capable of its rated 5,000#. S would have similar capability. 3 around 4,000#.

Air suspension allowing load leveling would be nice along with a “tow mode” that maximized for tow issues with controls and handling.

Must had promised towing for Model 3 way back when he first started taking deposits.

Elon did promise one back in 2016; https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/716708661024804866 ; would be nice to fulfill that.

I guess that Elon should preface every single tweet about the future of Tesla and/or its cars with “Our current plans are…” to avoid this sort of endless whining when Tesla later changes its plans. 🙄

Love to camp! Hooking up a little tent camper, hitting the road after the week.
Tesla, provides a nice touch/mix a cool car and a option? To to, camp! Yes
Barry

“So, if you put a hitch on and use the car for towing, it could void your warranty.”

Steven, I urge you to change that sentence in the article. It’s perpetuating a myth seen all too often in discussions about cars, and not just EV discussions.

In Europe, as I understand it, it is illegal to modify a car for towing if it’s not so rated by the auto maker. But in the USA, so far as I know, in every State it’s legal to add a 3rd party hitch, which won’t void the entire warranty.

Here’s my understanding: If, in the USA, you add a 3rd party trailer hitch to a car which isn’t rated for towing by the auto maker, and if the car sustains damage which a service shop judges is caused by towing and/or modifications from installing the hitch, then the warranty won’t cover any expenses relating to repairing that damage.

But that’s rather distant from “Towing with the car will void the warranty”. The warranty hasn’t been voided, even if the car sustains some damage which isn’t covered by the warranty.

If any part of what I’ve said here is not completely correct, then someone please correct me.

Towing places extra load on the drive train and chassis. Yes, light load may be less than full compliment of passengers, but there’s no way to distinguish that if you tow.

As such, MFR may deny warranty coverage on everything drive train related, motor, battery, gears, wheels, etc. etc. (ie, the most expensive bits) Quite simply, towing is not advised on cars not rated to tow unless you’re prepared to lose warranty coverage and/or spend money on lawyers to fight.

“However, news out of Norway via the Tesla Owners Club Norway (TOCN) suggests some potential progress for those that hope for a Model 3 that can tow. The organization came upon some information related to adaptations to the car’s electronics that point to the eventual implementation of towing.”

Interesting!

I’ve been assuming that Tesla simply decided not to have the Model 3 rated for towing, presumably to reduce build costs, and that those who want Tesla car rated for towing but don’t want a Model X, will have to wait for the Model Y.

But if Tesla has put software in to the TM3 for a towing mode, that certainly does suggest Tesla plans on a change to that. At least in the past, discovery of software possibilities in the MS and MX have always been harbingers of Tesla making a new option available. Of course it’s possible that this isn’t the case here, but Occam’s Razor certainly shaves in that direction.