Tesla Model X Towing: How Towing Affects Range
The Tesla Model X is pretty slick as far as electric cars go. At the time of this writing, it’s the only electric SUV on the market (although Audi will soon release their version), and it has been for a few years. It has a 5-star safety rating, room for 7 people, an autopilot system, a panoramic windshield, cool falcon doors in the back, and all the other modern accouterments. It also has a 295-mile range per charge, which is one of the more impressive ranges we’ve seen on an electric vehicle. But, even more impressive is the Model X towing capability. Tesla’s Model X, with the optional towing package, can pull up to 5,000 lbs.
But, if you’ve ever wondered how towing affects an electric car’s range, the answer, as it turns out, is: pretty drastically. That a car’s range suffers some when towing probably isn’t much of a shock; after all, even a combustion engine’s fuel economy suffers when pulling a bunch of extra weight. However, if you ask your Model X to lug around 5,000 extra pounds, don’t be surprised if you lose 60% or more of the vehicle’s range.
Tesla Model X Towing: What To Expect
It’s difficult to find any hard and fast numbers on the Tesla website for what’s to be expected when towing. Tesla lists the Model X’s towing capacity, as well as its 713 ft-lbs of torque. And, according to Max Kennedy on YouTube, the Model X towing performance is excellent. If you watch him tow his 4,850 lb boat and trailer in the video, you’ll note that the towing looks stable, comfortable, and safe. Plus, the SUV’s ability to accelerate while towing is truly remarkable.
However, in the video, you’ll also note the real-time performance specs flash across the dashboard and center console display.
On the dash, we can see the Model X moving at 55 mph on a near-full charge. The dash also tells us that, given the near-full charge, the Model X has an expected 202-mile predicted range.
However, looking at the real-time display of energy consumption on the center console readout, we can see the average energy consumption of the Model X averaged out over a 5-minute window. Here, on flat ground and moving at a steady 55 mph, the Model X is outputting around 575 watt-hours per mile. The HUD, here, predicts a range of 74 miles before the battery fully depletes.
When the speed and road incline both increase slightly, we see those numbers spike even more. The Model X, at this point, consumes over 900 Wh/mi, and the range drops even farther.
What Does All This Mean?
Of course, much of this is to be expected. For one thing, Tesla has engineered the Model X with an aerodynamic design that eliminates as much drag as possible, but there’s not a whole lot that the company can do to eliminate drag on whatever it is you’re towing. Drag, by itself, will have some adverse effects on your energy consumption.
And, while this same factor will affect your mileage with an internal combustion engine, refueling doesn’t present as much of an issue when gas stations are commonplace. Finding a supercharger in rural areas where you’re more likely to tow a boat or camper will undoubtedly be a different story. Since towing, drag, and steep inclines will drastically reduce your range, and since superchargers are still a whole lot rarer than fuel pumps, trips with your boat or camper might be limited to the more immediate vicinity.
All that said, the Tesla Model X towing capabilites, as well as the automobile in general, are pretty impressive. But, until we either start seeing an overabundance of readily available superchargers, or another workaround to the electric SUV’s towing range, taking the camper out for the weekend might be impractical.