Towing with a Tesla Model S

Can You Tow With a Tesla Model S? One Owner Answers With an Emphatic ‘Yes’

One of the criticisms of mainstream electric cars like the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Model S is that they’re not set up at the factory to tow. In some markets like Europe, towing with your electric car might even be illegal if your car’s manufacturer didn’t put the car through the correct type approval tests when preparing it for market.

Towing with a Tesla Model S? No problem!

Towing with a Tesla Model S? No problem! (Screenshot via YouTube)

Ask most electric automakers too, and they’re likely to tell you that towing with your electric car isn’t advised and may even invalidate your warranty. But in other parts of the world, putting a tow hitch on your electric car isn’t a problem, provided you don’t exceed the bounds of common sense.

So when we heard about a Tesla Model S owner who had pulled a small trailer containing a generator 129 miles without a second thought, we had to check it out.

Enter well-known YouTuber and Tesla Model S owner KmanAuto, who decided to take a generator he’d recently sold to its new owner by towing it behind his 60 kilowatt-hour Tesla Model S.

Back in May, he purchased a specialist Eco Hitch from Washington-based Torklift Central. Available for a wide range of plug-in cars, including the Tesla Model S, the EcoHitch gives the Tesla Model S basic towing functionality in the U.S., despite the fact the car was never originally intended for that purpose.

Securely strapped to a small hobby trailer at the back of his Model S, KmanAuto towed his Generator the 129 miles from his Wisconsin home to the trailer’s new owner, filming the process along the way. Although the tall generator wasn’t exactly what we’d call aerodynamic, it more than fell within the 2,000/200 pound towing capacity of the Torklift Central Ecohitch, and didn’t seem to have much of a detrimental effect on the Model S driving experience.

“Pulled a generator I sold 129 Miles one way, and then returned home another 129 miles a few days later,” he posted in the TelsaMotorsClub Forum yesterday.  “All I can say at this point, is that I cannot wait until I get a Teardrop camper!!! That will be awesome!”

As for range? According to the video, Tesla Model S energy efficiency averaged around 372 watt-hours per mile while towing the generator at highway speed, due to the increased drag caused by pulling the trailer along.  Without the generator on board but the trailer attached,  the efficiency increased a little, but still wasn’t quite as good as stock Tesla Model S efficiency.

KManAuto says there’s no notable difference in acceleration or performance when towing, but concedes that for this particular trip the generator and tiny trailer weren’t exactly hugely taxing on the powerful Model S. Next, he says, is a larger, more substantial trailer.

The Torklift Central Model S EcoHitch adds a tow hitch to your Model S.

The Torklift Central Model S EcoHitch adds a tow hitch to your Model S.

Here at Transport Evolved we’d like to remind you that towing with your electric car will most certainly affect your car’s range per charge, and may be illegal if your car hasn’t been officially approved by the necessary authorities as capable of towing. If you want to tow with your electric car, it’s up to you to check local laws and your electric car’s warranty before you make any modifications to your car.

If you do live in an area where towing with your electric car is allowed, we’re curious to know what you tow, how far you can travel per charge, and where you’ve towed. Leave us our tales in the Comments below.


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  • John Briggs

    Towing a generator? I guess that makes the Tesla an EREV.

  • Kurt Jenney

    I drove from Boston, MA to Austin, Texas with 1000 pounds of cargo and a cargo rack on my hitch in our MS. We got better than EPA mileage. Sometimes even beating Tesla’s original ratings. We drove 250 miles on a charge on our 60 kWh pack during this trip.nnFYI I have put 600-800 pounds on our cargo rack and everything was fine. Didn’t even notice it.

  • Jack McKinsley

    If your model s runs out of juice, just fire up the generator 😉

    • jbsegard

      Indeed! See for a live example of doing that. Plse check the video regarding attaching the trailer (the Tender) in one go and maneuvers without knife jacking.

      • Very much looking forward to seeing how the teardrop camper works! Well done. Wells Cargo makes some lightweight trailers that should work nicely with the Tesla…MPT461 and MPT581

  • Willy

    Was it dificult to connect the wiring for the breaking lights of the trailer?

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