Even with electric vehicles growing rapidly in popularity, there’s still a lot of doubt about their towing capacity.
If you’re wondering if it’s safe to hitch your camper, boat, or another recreational vehicle to your Tesla, read on to find our answers – whatever your model.
Table of Contents
Here’s How Much Each Tesla Model Can Tow:
How much you can tow using your Tesla depends on which model you have. Tesla’s towing capacity ranges from 0-5,000 pounds across all four models.
We also have a full article on the best electric cars for towing.
How much can a Tesla Model S tow?
The Model S is not officially approved for towing, and it’s therefore not advisable to use it for towing purposes. You may have a hitch after-installed but you should not tow anything heavier than 2,000 pounds.
Remember, if you go electric you can always use a rental truck for your towing needs.
How much can a Tesla Model X tow?
The Model X can tow up to 5,000 pounds. It’s a great option for towing campers, boats, and other gear.
The Tesla Model X has often been featured in camper and boating magazines as a great electric car option for towing.
How much can a Model Tesla Y tow?
The Model Y can tow up to 3,500 pounds. However, you should be aware that it will put a lot of strain on the range and battery capacity. The Model Y, available with all-wheel drive (AWD), can also have an official tow package after-installed if you purchased it without a hitch.
How much can a Model Tesla 3 tow?
The Model 3 can tow up to 2,000 pounds in Europe, but it is not approved for towing in the United States.
What is the Maximum Weight a Tesla Can Pull?
Make sure to take a look at Tesla’s towing guidelines before towing anything with your vehicle.
Observing certain recommendations, such as proper tire pressure, proper trailer brakes, and proper vehicle suspension, are essential for safe towing.
#1 Model S:
While it’s possible it may be submitted for testing in the future, Tesla has not yet tried to have the model tested through the National Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), so in most places in the US it will be illegal to tow anything using the Model S.
For now, the Model S remains the Tesla model most geared towards speed and simple passenger transportation needs, so it may not be a great fit if you’re hoping to regularly tow equipment.
#2 Model Y:
With the optional add-on of the Model Y Tow Package, the vehicle has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The package includes a high-strength steel tow bar, a 2” hitch receiver, and towing software, for a price of $1,300. This towing capacity applies to all wheel sizes.
#3 Model X:
The Model X, on the other hand, come equipped with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds and is currently the Tesla vehicle with the maximum towing ability. This applies only to 20” wheels, and goes down when fitted with 22” wheels.
#4 Model 3:
How much the Model 3 can tow is a bit complicated, depending on where you live. If you’re in Europe, you may want to take a closer look at Tesla’s towing guidelines, as several factors can affect your towing capacity.
In the US, you should avoid towing anything with your Model 3, as it has yet to be approved by the VCA.
How Far Can a Tesla Tow a Caravan?
When towing another vehicle such as a caravan or RV, the range of a Tesla can be significantly reduced, and the reduced battery capacity can last you anywhere from 70% to 40% of its typical distance.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to tow camping vehicles with your Tesla – you may just have to plan your route carefully to allow for more frequent stops and time to recharge.
If you do have good access to charging stations along your route, you can travel just as far as any non-electric vehicle might.
Remember, though, that a trailer may drain your car battery, if you leave lights or appliances on.
Which Tesla is Best for Towing a Camper?
The Model X is undeniably the best Tesla vehicle for towing campers.
While the average trailer weight is around 1,900 pounds, you could likely also tow most campers using the Model Y, but the Model X with it’s 5,000-pound capacity will be able to handle the weight of your camper and then some, meaning that it’s performance and range will suffer less.
Can a Tesla Tow a Horse Trailer?
As long as the combined weight of your trailer and horse passengers are below the maximum towing capacity of your model, you shouldn’t have a problem towing a horse trailer with your Tesla.
Horse trailers typically weigh between 2,300 and 4,000 pounds, and weigh more when loaded depending on the number and weight of your horses.
That means that with a Model X Tesla, you should be able to tow one or two horses as long as your trailer is on the smaller side.
You will also need to account for the possible movement of your horses in the trailer, which can influence the control of your car. When towing animals, it’s best to leave an extra 1,000 pounds or so of extra weight below the vehicle’s tow capacity for safety reasons.
Some owners have successfully towed their horse trailers using the Model X and documented their experience if you’d like some firsthand information.
How Does Tesla’s “Trailer Mode” Work?
When you hitch a trailer to your Model X or Y while it’s parked, an indicator will appear on your screen letting you know that the vehicle has automatically switched to Trailer Mode – but what exactly does this mean?
Trailer Mode optimizes many of the automatic functions on your Tesla to account for the increased weight and the greater attention demanded for steering.
When Trailer Mode is engaged, certain Autopilot features, such as auto-steering and rear parking sensors, will be disabled. In addition, the air suspension system will function a bit differently, no longer raising ride heights automatically or making speed adjustments.
In addition, the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control system increases the ideal following distance to allow for longer necessary break times, and the Automatic Emergency Braking system significantly reduces its force.
Trailer Mode does not turn off automatically – to switch it off, go to:
- Controls >
- Pedals & Steering >
- Trailer Mode on your touchscreen.
What Tesla Models Can Tow a Jet-ski?
Jet-skis typically weigh between 300 and 950 pounds, which means they should be relatively easy to tow using either the Model Y or the Model X.
You may even be able to tow up to 3 or 4 jet-skis, depending on their exact weight!
How Big a Boat Can You Tow with a Tesla?
Both the Model X and the Model Y will likely be able to handle most small boats such as fishing boats and skiffs, which typically weigh less than 2,500 pounds.
The Model X may also be able to tow pontoon boats, deck boats, and sailboats if they are on the smaller side.
Try to budget and extra 1000 to 500 pounds under the weight limit of your model, depending on how much extra weight your boat may be carrying.
Remember to factor in possible added weights, including:
- Weight of fuel, if there’s gas in your tank (240 to 450 pounds)
- Weight of boat trailer (1,000 to 1,600 pounds)
- Weight of gear on your boat (100 to 500 pounds)
How Much Does Towing Affect the Range of a Tesla?
Range is always an important concern for Tesla owners – so how much will your battery range be reduced while you’re towing?
Unfortunately, the impact of towing on range can still be pretty significant. This is due not only to the increased weight of the vehicle, but also the extra drag created by most items that are commonly towed.
Tesla vehicles get a large boost in range by being extremely aerodynamic, and this advantage is compromised when towing.
While the exact reduction in range will depend on your model and the average speed you’ll be going, as well as the weight and shape of what you’re towing.
But be prepared for anything from a 25% to 60% reduction in range for both the Model X and Model Y.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you have access to fairly close charging stations while towing, but for more isolated trips, Tesla’s range may not cut it.
If you plan to travel a long distance while towing, consider a shorter test drive first to get a better estimate of the impact it will have on your vehicle’s range.
While towing using a Tesla offers some challenges, it’s definitely possible.
In some ways, EVs can even offer a superior towing experience compared to typical internal combustion vehicles.
Quiet and powerful, with a low center of gravity and instant torque, they can handle the extra weight without suffering a decrease in handling and driver experience.
Where Tesla will have to improve is in their range capabilities, and they almost certainly will; but in the meantime,if you’re looking for a vehicle to help you tow for short distances or on well-traveled roads, Tesla remains a top contender.