The competitive price, high-tech features, and long range of the Tesla Model 3 make it an intriguing choice for anyone in the market for an electric vehicle. Many shoppers probably don’t know about some of this sedan’s other capabilities, though.
For example, it might come as a surprise to learn that you can tow with these unassuming cars. Of course, it’s important to review the Tesla Model 3 towing capacity before hooking up a trailer to the back bumper.
So What Can You Tow With a Tesla Model 3?
This vehicle is not pretending to be a massive truck or SUV, so don’t expect it to provide as much towing power as vehicles designed to pull massive loads.
Nevertheless, the Model 3 has an impressive amount of torque and is rated to tow more than 2,200 pounds in its base and Long Range trims.
As it stands, the towing package is only available to Tesla owners in Europe. However, since the company has a reputation of expanding features to other countries after a limited introduction, there’s a good chance that American drivers will soon have access to this capability.
Along with its 321 horsepower, the base Model 3 also boasts 310 foot-pounds of torque. For the Long Range model, those numbers are 434 and 364, respectively.
Unfortunately, towing is not recommended for the high-output Performance edition. The culprit appears to be the large wheels offered on this model, so the towing package is not an option.
How Do You Install a Towing Package?
Tesla offers an optional package from the factory that will deliver your Model 3 with the hitch necessary to begin towing right away.
Although this is an added expense, anyone interested in pulling a trailer will appreciate the convenience of receiving the complete package.
The company initially indicated on its website that the tow hitch “cannot be installed after delivery,” though that advisory has apparently disappeared from the text. While this might mean that some Model 3 owners can add a towing package after purchase, it’s best to contact the company directly.
Since the Model 3 contains a complex system of computers underneath its skin, it’s important for any updates to reflect the addition of a hitch or tow bar. Installing and fitting the tow hitch is a pretty simple process, as shown in this short video by Vlinder:
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What Can the Model 3 Tow?
At first glance, it might not seem to be a great idea to hitch anything bigger than a small wagon to this relatively small sedan.
Tesla has put plenty of electric power into its vehicles, though, and that means even the Model 3 is capable of doing some pretty impressive hauling.
Let’s answer a few questions about exactly what this car is capable of handling.
Can a Tesla Model 3 Tow a Caravan?
When you think of towing a people-moving recreational vehicle, you might come up with a dozen other alternatives before coming around to the Model 3.
Nevertheless, the evidence shows that it can be quite capable of hauling a range of trailers.
Here’s a tour of one pretty spacious camper that the Tesla Model 3 was able to tow without any hesitation:
Anyone planning a trip with a trailer should at least consider hitching it up to the rear of a Model 3. If the towing package isn’t available in your area yet, be patient. The evidence suggests it could be coming soon.
Can Tesla Model 3 Tow a Trailer?
Hauling freight or packing up a trailer for a cross-country move might present unique challenges. Most campers and caravans offer measurements and specifications to ensure the Model 3 is up to the task.
It’s not as easy to be so precise when packing a trailer with furniture or other bulky items.
How Will Towing Affect Your Range?
As with a traditional combustion engine, any type of heavy towing takes a toll on the system that drains its power source. This means that you should expect to get a shorter range on your Model 3 when towing a load than when nothing is hitched to the vehicle.
Fortunately, the sophisticated software at work in the vehicle makes it easy to figure out how to accurately predict your range. After the system is adjusted to account for the weight and size of the trailer or camper, the dashboard display will provide plenty of relevant information to decide how long you’d be comfortable going between charges.
Bjørn Nyland tracked the range of a Model 3 while towing a load and displayed some of the useful tools available to those who choose the towing package:
How Much Range Can You Expect While Towing?
As for the precise amount of range reduction that towing will cause, there are many factors to consider. Some tests indicate that rain or other inclement weather can further drain power out of a Model 3, thus giving drivers even less range when towing.
The type of payload hitched to the car can also play a big role in determining its overall range. The more aerodynamic a trailer or camper is, the smaller impact it is likely to have on the vehicle’s range.
Certain anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that there is a lot of fluctuation at play, and actual performance is likely to fluctuate significantly from one case to another even if all these indicators are generally the same.
In broad terms, some insiders say drivers should anticipate getting about half the total miles out of a full charge when towing as compared when a Model 3 does not have anything hitched to its rear bumper.
This is hardly an exact science, though, so be sure to conduct your own analysis to obtain more accurate results.
What Are the Capabilities of the Towing Package?
Although it might be enough for some consumers to realize that the Model 3 can tow a trailer or a small caravan, this optional package can actually do much more than that.
As the Tesla owner’s manual explains, any Model 3 equipped with a hitch and smaller wheels is capable of carrying a range of accessories weighing in excess of 120 pounds.
Among the most common items that owners choose to carry are skis, bicycles, and snowboards. The package comes complete with a ball coupling that is easy to adapt to whatever standard carrier you want to use. Anyone interested in carrying multiple bikes can choose a rack specifically built for such loads.
This can often extend the capacity to as many as five bicycles, though only if they remain under the maximum weight limit.
Carrying electric bikes can be a great way to ride around upon reaching your definition, but remember that these forms of transportation are significantly heavier than their manual counterparts.
It’s worth noting, however, that the passenger weight can have a limiting effect on the overall towing capacity of a Model 3. Be sure to refer to the specifics in the manual to determine how much your car can carry with different numbers of occupants.
Furthermore, pay close attention to the weight of the accessories themselves to ensure that the total falls below the limit specified by Tesla.
Are Aftermarket Hitches Safe?
Although Tesla is pretty clear in its recommendation that towing hitches be installed at the factory, there are several compelling options available from aftermarket manufacturers. Shopping around for highly recommended hitches made for the Model 3 will result in at least a few contenders.
Deciding on the right choice is just the beginning, though. Installing this device should generally be left to the expert hands of a professional. Those motorists who have some experience working on their own cars might feel confident taking on this task.
In any case, this job is likely to require some fairly invasive work. Installing a typical aftermarket hitch will necessitate the removal of several key components of the Model 3. Among the parts you or the qualified technician will need to take off are the bumper cover, radar sensors, certain electronic pieces, and even some pieces that are connected to the car’s frame.
Before getting too far along in the process, ensure that all the steps make sense. If anything appears confusing or overwhelming, it’s likely a good idea to take it in for expert service.
What Is It Like to Tow With a Model 3?
Regardless of the vehicle’s capabilities, it’s important for drivers and passengers to feel safe and comfortable in a Model 3 while a trailer or camper is hooked up to a hitch in the rear.
One owner recorded his experiences towing a variety of items with a Model 3 over the course of a trip that spanned more than 1,000 miles.
From bikes to a utility trailer to a 3,000-pound boat, the car performed admirably in getting each of these loads to their intended destination.
Final Thoughts: Tesla Model 3 Towing Capacity: All You Need to Know
Ultimately, the Tesla Model 3 is a very capable car in all respects – and towing isn’t an expectation.
Although you can’t expect truck-level capacity, its ability to tow up to 2,200 pounds can enable you to tow a variety of trailers and campers.
Depending on your speed, the weather, and what it is that you’re towing, the range decrease can be quite significant – as much as half.
If you’re planning a camping trip miles away, make sure to prepare your route in advance
Zac LudicrousMechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.
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