Tesla Model X Energy Consumption When Towing Various Trailers – Video


Tesla Model X owner Bjorn Nyland provides us with perhaps the most detailed look yet at the Model X’s towing capability, including how various trailer and other tow-behinds impact efficiency and range of the Model X.

Tesla Model X Drags A Volvo Out Of A Ditch

Tesla Model X Drags A Volvo Out Of A Ditch

Nyland’s general consensus is that towing has a huge impact on the efficiency (and thus total range) of the Model X. According to Nyland, energy consumption of the X can basically double when towing.

Nyland concludes that the low-line X, the 60D, can have range reduced to just 70 miles or so when towing a large load.

Officially, the Model X is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. However, Tesla doesn’t exactly explain the impact of towing on range beyond stating that towing may reduce range.

Video description:

“A short explanation and display of the different trailers I have pulled with my Model X. In general, the consumption goes up by around 50-100 %.”

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18 Comments on "Tesla Model X Energy Consumption When Towing Various Trailers – Video"

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Good to see some real numbers given here.

Disappointing that Nyland didn’t include a baseline, or “control”, line on the graph, which would show the expected range without towing.

He’s not doing the test in enclosed controlled environment, so the results probably vary by much maybe even 20%. Then using EPA estimate as control is good enough.

Car that weighs close to 5000 lb (Tesla S?) result in much lighter boat or Caravan. This suggests aero of the item towed makes a big difference, making accurate control measurement even less meaningful without knowing aero characteristics of the item being towed.

Well of course we can look up the EPA’s range numbers for the Model X, but my point was the graph would be more useful if it included that data. We shouldn’t have to consult some other source to see what the baseline range is.

And I don’t agree that tests in a controlled environment would be more useful. Real-world driving doesn’t happen in an controlled environment, it happens out in the big wide messy world where there are a lot of variables we can’t control.

Looks like air drag is more of a factor than mass. It also looks like road trips with large cargo hauls will have to wait for bigger batteries, still.

Anyone who has hauled a trailer will be able to tell that air drag is a huge component of this.

It would be interesting to see what a modern pop-up trailer would do behind a Model X– this is the kind that folds down and generally is below the lower sill of the vehicle’s windows. They tend to have much less air resistance.

I’m kinda unclear as to the different trailer types in the table– looking up “lobster trailer” generally finds the trailer for the 2015 movie “The Lobster”.

Is the testing done with, or without lobsters? Are they fresh, frozen, or alive? Do they include water or ice? Inquiring minds need to know.

So towing large loads requires huge amounts of energy. What a shock. Happy motoring is killing us. Enjoy the ride.

A ”lobster trailer” appears to be the European name for what North Americans would generally call a “clamshell trailer” as used to haul ATVs or snowmobiles/seadoos, or most commonly as a “teardrop trailer” as used behind a car, truck, or motorcycle. Low, and well below the towing vehicle airstream drag, lightweight construction, and very aerodynamic. I used to tow an aerodynamic fibreglass 13 ft house trailer (Boler, 760 pounds) even behind an ancient Toyota Corolla automatic, with bad valves, with almost negligible effect on mileage or handling. I had more capable tow vehicles, except for that one time where I had to use the Corolla for a fairly long trip, which was an eye opener. Weight/mass is important, but drag is much more important a factor. The burnt out mostly dead Corolla could handle the Boler with ease but was hard pressed by a lighter metal/mesh utility trailer, with or without a lawn tractor on it. What holds true for a Corolla with 300,000 and a rough life prior to me also hold true for a T model X. Wind drag is the enemy.


I, too, was wondering what a “lobster trailer” was.

A clamshell trailer

Once you get a mass moving, it likes to keep moving. Uphill climbs are offset by downhill coasting and regen. Aero and tire resistance are your biggest energy consumers.

Nope – wind resistence is the killer when towing and type of recreational trailer.

“Uphill climbs are offset by downhill coasting and regen.”

Common mistakes.

Downhill has some coasting in steep hills. But it has very little regen at hwy speed. Often the wind resistance is sufficient to slow down the vehicle and trailers at hwy speed unless the hill is extremely steep. Also, the weight is relatively low compared with a semi which has huge amount of “potential energy” stored up that can easily overcome the wind resistance.

Certainly a reason that Tesla should put out more than a 100 kWh battery even tho they said that is the max they are considering.

So range is 1/3 to 1/2 while towing. That’s a deal breaker for me. I don’t want to change every for every hour of summer travel.

How could it possibly be a “deal breaker”? A Tesla hater and FUDster like you would never consider buying a Tesla car, despite pretending to already own one.

Sounds like he had some fun, both with towing lots of different stuff and playing with numbers.
It will be challenging to convert trucks over to electric. The up-front cost of a >>100KWh pack is huge, the time to fully charge it is long and the charge station layout is complicated when factoring in trailers (can’t pull into a parking spot).

I can’t wait for these problems to be solved but realistically can’t hope for more than a PHEV for the forseeable future as I could not even make it to the cottage with that range and there is no destination charging available.

In defense of the Model X (yes: from me!), most SUV owners never tow something of significance. If they do it’s under 5 trips/year. The number of tow-ready engine, cooling and trans packages out there that never actually do the work is legion. Love your Model X, drag race BMW M-series and AMGs with it, leave coal rollers in the dust, etc, but if you need to tow rent something that will do this temporary job well.

Sidenote: My family own a Tahoe that never tows – my wife won’t permit it, depsite its complete towing package.

I jointly own a 2009 Enclave that I use to tow an enclosed trailer for a hybrid technology demo rig for our business. The trailer weighs less than 3000 lb fully loaded, but has the aerodynamics of a garage door.

Highway mileage (70-75mph) no trailer: ~18mpg.
With trailer: ~8.5mpg.
So the results for the MX are reasonable. But I can put 20gal of gas in the truck in ~5 minutes.

Battery breakthroughs still needed to make EVs great for caravanners!

Imagine the convenience level with 250 kWh packs. ?

I have been considering an X as a Tow car for our pop top caravan, this article has made me think twice now. How about a battery pack inside the Caravan that can conect to the car on the road, this would in effect possibly double your range.