• Apr 27, 2012
A reader with sharp eyes and quicker reflexes sent us a pic of a Tesla Model S they had spotted on the streets of San Francisco sporting a trailer hitch receiver and a pair of portals of some type around back, which had us scratching our heads.

Tesla Model X with falcon doors slightly liftedThe Roadster, of course, doesn't come with a towing option (though the company's CTO JB Straubel does have a hitch on his) and the Model S wasn't slated to offer the option as far as we knew. So, we contacted the California automaker to ask what's up.

In a brief response, a spokesperson said "Tesla's engineering vehicles are constantly undergoing internal testing in a wide variety of circumstances to fine tune and validate performance, safety and durability" and confirmed that there will be no factory towing option. Of course, the Nissan Leaf didn't offer that function either but the aftermarket has stepped in with a solution.

So, if you want an all-electric that will pull your boat over to the bay, what are your options? A Leaf might not have the wherewithal for that sort of heavy-duty application, but there is something coming that will. The Tesla Model X (inset). According to the same spokesperson, "Model X will have towing capability exceeding most SUVs in its class. With all-wheel drive, incredible torque and sophisticated traction control, it will be an excellent towing machine."

Awesome. Thanks to Eric for the tip!


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  • 29 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sweet! Thanks for featuring my pic! Good to get some answers.
      KenZ
      • 2 Years Ago
      And if they are the 0.0000000000000000000000001% that do go off road and actually use it for sports, they'll need to tow a trailer because they stupid gull wing doors make a roof rack impossible. This vehicle will simply solidify the evidence that SUVs are poser mobiles.
      Christina
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not many sedans are utilized for towing, so I assume there wouldn't have been much of a market for that as an option; particularly given the sticker price. The Model X is a crossover (not usually purchased for off-roading capabilities), so I think the most exciting part will be the 4WD feature in an EV. Plus the doors are pretty sweet. =o) I'm sure towing capacity on that will be used by a decent handful of people that want to pull their wave runners and little speedboats though.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      JB Straubel designed and created an EV pusher trailer fir his old Porsche EV before hr Co founded Tesla Motors. Hint hint
      Majerus
      • 2 Years Ago
      Model X is going to be awesome. Cannot wait for the production model S to start in July. :D
      Abe
      • 2 Years Ago
      What I'm anxious to find out is how well the awd model x can handle being off pavement
        Red Sage
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Abe
        The Tesla Model X will be fine on any normal road surface. So asphalt, concrete, gravel, & compacted dirt will all be OK. It is not actually an SUV, but a Crossover (CUV). During inclimate weather, it will handle mud, snow, ice, sleet, and rain without a problem. You won't be able to do rock climbs, fjord rivers, or traverse whoopdedoos as an off-road vehicle. But driving across the lawn or into the pasture should be easy.
        Turbo Froggy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Abe
        99.999999999999999999999999999999999% of all SUVs the extent of "off pavement" activities involve accidently backing into the flower bed on the way out of the driveway. I am sure it the Model X will handle it just fine... :)
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Abe
        because these asphalt queens so often go off road..
      • 1 Year Ago
      an electric motor has capabilitys that far exced any compariable internal combustion engine so yes it will tow a fair load the only questions i would have is the running gear heavy enough and the how bad the range is reduced.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      JB Straubel designed and created an EV pusher trailer fir his old Porsche EV before hr Co founded Tesla Motors. Hint hint
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought I was the only one. Yes, first vote does any one of three things. All later votes work.
      Timo
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's also possible that that is an error-vote from a bug in a forum. For some reason my first vote of the day goes in random ways (can be negative, positive or doesn't do anything). Any subsequent votes go correctly. Unfortunately you can't fix a bad vote, once you have done it that's it. (no, I didn't vote on this one).
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Turbo Froggy I don't like SUV's either, but depending on the country, (in the US the state), SUV's are required to use off road capacity 9% to 100% of the time. In developed countries, the figures are obviously much lower, but 9 -16 % of SUV's utilise the high clearance and 4WD, capacity.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      There's no reason why the Tesla X or even S, can't be perfectly capable of towing. I regularly tow over 2000 lbs, without any difficulty and lose less than 10-15% of EV range. Snow and Ice over rural terrain and roads, can prove more challenging to an EV with extra load. But I've still managed to achieve 140+ miles ( 30% loss).
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Sure, but then you also have a $200,000 electrified Range Rover which is probably better suited for towing to begin with.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          @Nick. I agree that the first market for EV's is basically urban commuter/ light delivery market. In fact anywhere where range and charging isn't a problem. There are some relatively wealthy area's in the semi-rural US, but you are probably correct, EREV's (especially Voltec) might be more suitable as working SUV's.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Marco Polo "I dislike urban only EV's, and I'm amazed that Ford or Jeep don't resurrect the Ranger EV, or simply build an efficient Jeep EREV. I'm sure the semi-rural US market would respond." An EV Ranger or Jeep would be great, but not too sure they'd be a hit in semi-rural America considering EVs are still substantially more expensive than the ICE versions, and the fact that this area of the country isn't exactly its wealthiest. That said, I think city-only EVs do have a place, especially in hyper congested areas such as L.A. where traffic and parking issues are a massive problem. jkirkebo I am not sure, but doesn't a tow hitch require some form of frame reinforcement in the back? Maybe the added weight doesn't make sense when a tow hitch may be used by a small percentage of buyers, but I believe you could most likely retrofit an aftermarket hitch for less than $2500.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Nick, I see your point. But when I bought the LEVRR, it wasn't a mass produced vehicle. In fact it was the only modern 4WD EV. In time prices will come down for less luxurious SUV's. There is a market for a good all terrain 4WD that can double as a car. I use mine mostly for towing horses, rescuing classic cars, transporting small EV 's etc. In the relatively short distances of the UK, it's a perfect vehicle and although I like the luxury features, a more economical vehicle would perform just as well. I dislike urban only EV's, and I'm amazed that Ford or Jeep don't resurrect the Ranger EV, or simply build an efficient Jeep EREV. I'm sure the semi-rural US market would respond. (Walter P Chrysler would be turning in his grave, to see how timid Chrysler have become.)
          jkirkebo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Sure, if your main objective is towing. For us that need to use the hitch maybe 10-15 times a year a hitch on the Model S would be a very welcome option indeed. Then I could get rid of the VW Touran TDI that presently does the towing. I'd happily pay $2500 extra for a hitch on the S.
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