Tesla VP Discusses Model X Towing


Towing Chart

Towing Chart

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

In this video (not embeddable), Tesla’s VP of Regulatory Affairs, Jim Chen, briefly discusses Model X towing. He clearly says (at the 9:40 mark in the video) that the Model X will be equipped to tow Class 3 at a weight of “close to 10,000 pounds.”

This figure seemed rather high to us at InsideEVs, so we reached out to Tesla for clarification.

As it turns out, Chen’s statement was “not intended to be an absolute figure.”

Furthermore, Tesla tells us that it’s not yet confirming specs for Model X.

Using our knowledge of tow ratings and with some assistance from sources more familiar with hauling loads, we predict that the Model X will be rated to tow no more than 6,000 pounds, but hopefully we’ll be proven wrong when Tesla releases spec for the Model X.

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39 Comments on "Tesla VP Discusses Model X Towing"

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“insideevs” effect (a la slashdot effect)?

Table ‘./tagtv_tv3/o0w6y_session’ is marked as crashed and should be repaired SQL=INSERT INTO `o0w6y_session` (`session_id`, `client_id`, `time`) VALUES (‘7dc83d93e6131d204785deccfa26f727’, 0, ‘1435676280’)

Looks like we crippled it for a bit on first publish, but its ok now, (=

Video link goers caused overload? Found link on other sites and got same result.

Table ‘./tagtv_tv3/o0w6y_session’ is marked as crashed and should be repaired SQL=INSERT INTO `o0w6y_session` (`session_id`, `client_id`, `time`) VALUES (‘271187d91de7c700457ad3e89c7186f5’, 0, ‘1435676300’)

Well, the Video link Opens to me here – http://tagtvonline.com/tag-events/2015-gts/viewvideo/1444/2015-gts/featured-speaker-jim-chen and starts to play just fine, so i guess it will be OK now!

Will be awesome to see the demos of how well electric vehicles can tow. With the instant torque available it should be easy to get anything moving well,,, and the regen should help nicely with braking too. The impressive thing could really be the first Tesla Dual Motor 4 x 4 Pickups.

Can’t wait for the release of Model X!

I think we’ll see the Model X in “tractor” or truck pulls as your local fair 🙂

I’d like to see that have (and loose) a tug of war with a steam traction engine. Ah, a man can dream.

But just asking, with just a single gear ratio designed for everyday road use, would it really be a good idea to have a Model S or X have pull races or tug of wars? Wouldn’t a constant full throttle going nowhere cause havoc on the drivetrain? I could imagine the copper windings to melt, but I hope I’d be wrong.

My truck can tow 16,000lbs but my trailer can only handle 4000lbs so this would be perfect for it. I wonder what the highway range will be with max capicity.

I thought it was targeted for women! Are women really going to tow 10,000 pounds often?
At any rate if it can tow just 5000 pounds it is by far good enough for me.

What a strange and silly comment. Both men and women will buy and drive the Model X and there is no reason why your gender is relevant when towing.

How many “women” have you seen towing something….


A lot… why? Anything from horse trailers to boats, caravans etc.

From young girls to older ladies.

/you have no point

The Model X’s falcon wing doors certainly are targeted at women, but that doesn’t mean Tesla doesn’t want to sell this CUV to men too! And it is men who will mostly want to do towing.

High-performance “supercars” aside, auto makers don’t make money by limiting their models’ market segment any more than they absolutely have to.

Class 3 tows a trailer up to 6,000lbs.

The 10,000lb number includes the weight of the model X. GVWC.

Using the 10,000lb number is misleading.

It would be pretty ham-fisted to throw out a tow capacity, as vehicle + trailer, and not just loaded trailer weight. Please, tell me this isn’t about to become another Tesla’ism.

The BMW X6 is rated for close to 6,000lb, which is about the same size/shape as Model X.

Hmm… Now that is an issue. One would expect many Model S drivers and potential Model X drivers to own a bloody boat or class 4/5 trailer.

So what? Along the same vein, one would “expect” many Tesla owners to own several vehicles, possibly including a heavy-duty truck. Tesla doesn’t have to build a vehicle that does everything to be the overall best in its class.

SO how will this affect range?
I mean if Energy consumption increases by 50% with a trailer, X70D wont make it to next supercharger or with very little charge left (especially if you charge to 90%) and you have to wait long for high state of charge

Assuming that there will be a X70D version and that it will get towing.

I would still assume that the X will get more batteries than the S and that only the X85/X90 (or whatever) or higher will get towing.

I assume that all Model X’s will be built for towing. Towing will affect the electric range of any PEV, no matter how long or short its rated range is.

Tesla would be pretty foolish to limit its market by building Model X’s with smaller battery packs that can’t tow a fishing boat down to the local lake, and can’t tow a small trailer holding a bike on the highway.

I don’t think Tesla is that foolish.

Never easy to get the base model right because it’s a price vs feature balance that you can’t know for certain until you try. Model S started with 40kWhrs, but now there’s only the 70D. But I suspect you’re right, if only to distinguish the X from the upcoming Model 3 crossover.

Long distance towing and Supercharging will be a challenging mix, as you will have to first unhitch your load and park it somewhere, then proceed to the supercharger and take of that business, and then reload what you previously unhitched…and you will repeat this procedure multiple times a day. I doubt that serious long haul towing will be done due to this annoying logistic issue. Either that, or superchargers will be configured differently to enable charging without the typical stall configuration they have now.

Interesting, you just found another advantage there would be at supercharging from a front ground charger above a narrow speed bump laying between the front wheels. You park and forget, no need to manipulate whatever and no need to unhitch.
A ground conductive supercharger can be made with protection PVC brushes around the contacts and the contacts can be secured by first requiring the green light from a separate Bluetooth communication between the supercharger and the car. Also an electric control would take place with a small currant to check for short circuits and contact quality. Only then would the full current be applied.
The system would be safe for cats since the PVC brushes around the car contacts avoid direct access and the car contacts would be mounted on semi-elliptic leaf spring to account for height variations.

4000 pounds would be more than enough for me, around 3300 pounds is my breaking point for what I need.

5000 would be a bonus and nice to know that there is a buffer. 🙂 Not that I know many people that would ever need or want that much.

I can see a case here for QWD (Quad Wheel Drive) for their heavier F150 “Truck Killer”. A motor per wheel, communicating and balancing loads with millisecond response.

Towing specs in the United States are a shonky business, typically conservative for cars and “optimistic” for trucks and SUVs. Tesla offering a Class 3 hitch receiver from the factory means the Model X will be equipped to handle the same sort of thing as a normal half-ton pickup truck. I’d only be concerned about tongue weight of the load, but being mindful of loading and placement of the trailer’s axles should account for that.

Supercharging will be a pain and will take longer because you have to decouple the trailer, supercharge, then recouple the trailer.

Except at some (fairly) trailer friendly superchargers.


I’ve seen photos of a lot of Supercharger stations where there is ample room for trailers. Perhaps even most of ’em.


I cannot get the first picture to load; the picture referenced here is NOT suitable for vehicles coupled to towed items. It is unlikely that there is sufficient room behind where the tow would sit to let other vehicles properly maneuver. Most everyone who tows something would want to pull THROUGH rather than back out. And if you have something on a towing dolly, like I deal with, it is IMPOSSIBLE to back up (picture pushing a rope). Nope, most charging configurations I have seen are NOT suitable for vehicles with things in tow. As mentioned previously, you will need to ditch your tow before charging.

Is it actually legal to tow something on public roads which makes it impossible to back up? Certainly I’ve never seen any trailer built like that.

Yeah, backing up with a trailer is difficult, and takes some practice to do it correctly. That’s just one of the many reasons why most people never tow a trailer. But anyone who does had better learn how, because if you use a trailer much, you will have to back up, sooner or later. At least, that’s been my experience, both as driver and as passenger in a towing vehicle.

The issue with towing using a BEV is not the frame strength, the drive line bearing loads, the brakes or even the motor cooling system, all of which Tesla has probably beefed up to meet Class III requirements in the Model X (for bragging rights if nothing else).

The real issue is not the rating, but how much energy is on tap to pull that extra tonnage around. Simple physics, it takes energy to get work done. In an ICE this shows up as reduced mpg when towing, in a BEV it shows up as reduced range.

So if you tow your light weight Hobie to the beach, not much impact. But if you tow a 6,000 lbs yacht up the mountains, the range will plummet dramatically, maybe to the point that the journey is not practical.

A Model X owner will have to gauge energy use much more carefully. I expect the Model X will come with some kind of estimator tool in the navigation system to account for grade and towed weight to help estimate range. But some journeys won’t be practical, superchargers notwithstanding, so expectations need to be understood to avoid disappointment.

I’ve towed with my Geo Metro, my 2000 Corvette, my 2008 Mini E, my 12 Leaf and now my 2015 Leaf. Matter of fact i installed a 2″ receiver on my new Leaf so i can tow bigger stuff and have more options for bike carriers and cargo carriers. I tow a double jetski trailer to the lake almost every weekend and the Leaf and Mini E never had a problem. It does reduce my range but the car has no trouble pulling the load or stopping it. And i never get stuck on the boat ramp even though its gravel due to the front wheel drive and even weight distribution. Ive also towed my Zero motorcycle and a loaded landscape trailer. Electric cars and cars in general make great tow vehicles. It still amazes people when they find out my car is electric though.

That’s awesome I was wondering if I could do something like that with my leaf where did you get your hitch done

I install all my hitches myself. But if you are asking who sells it, mine came from Torklift Central. They make hitches for all the electric cars including Model S and Roadster. I believe Curt makes a less expensive Leaf hitch but ive been really happy with my Torklift Central one and they were the only one offering a 2″ receiver in addition to the 1.25″ receiver usually used on cars and small trucks.

Ken, thank you very much for sharing your experience and giving us practical advice on this subject!

🙂 🙂 🙂

My biggest concern is with a WDH. The X will be unibody, and unibody vehicles don’the have much success with weight distribution unless they are ladder reinforced.

6,000 lbs is way more than enough. Most 1/2 ton pickups are only rated @ 10,000 (depending on final drive ratio more than anything) and are under-powered for that much max load.

I think with the torque available that towing would be pretty good with electric drive.

RE: towing and SC use, maybe Tesla and Tony Williams can get together on an entension cord, aka the Jlong. For those SCs you couldn’t pull through.