Tesla Model X Can Tow “Close To 10,000 Pounds”

Tesla Model X Can Tow “Close To 10,000 Pounds”
Blomst / Pixabay

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has done a good job keeping leaks about the upcoming Model X to a minimum, but a company executive has let one detail slip.

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So far Tesla fans have been told that the Model X will feature all-wheel-drive as standard, three rows of seating and of course, the distinctive falcon-wing doors. However one executive has also claimed that the Model X will also boast a towing capacity “close to 10,000 pounds,” writes Christopher DeMorro for Gas2.

Tesla executive discusses towing capacity

Company executive Jim Chen, who is Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, made the claim during a speech at the Georgia Technology Summit in April this year. Skip to around 9:40 in this video to hear his exact words, which came directly after addressing the Model X’s falcon-wing doors.

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Chen says that the towing capacity is a feature that is not often discussed, but it is one that should be important to potential Tesla buyers. “This vehicle will have Class III towing capability. That means over 5,000 pounds, actually close to 10,000 pounds of towing capability,” he said.

Vehicles with a Class III rating can tow trailers with a Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) of up to 8,500 pounds, which means that if your trailer weighs 1,500 pounds you are free to load it up with 7,000 pounds worth of gear. Although Class III rated vehicles cannot pull loads of 10,000 pounds as Chen says, they are capable of handling a variety of loads such as a medium-sized travel trailer or a reasonably large fishing boat.

Hauling ability on a par with market rivals

Photos of the Model X towing a trailer which weighs an estimated 4,000 pounds GTW have surfaced on the internet, so the clarification that the vehicle will be rated Class III is perfectly logical.

While all of these numbers may enable readers to envisage the capabilities of the Model X, the most important takeaway here is that a Class III rating puts the keenly awaited Tesla on the same level as most conventional SUVs on the market. As such, drivers who opt to buy the Model X will not lose out in terms of hauling ability over rivals powered by traditional gasoline engines.

No details have been made available yet as to how the GTW will affect the range of the Model X, but for now prospective buyers should take note that its towing capacity is on a par with rival vehicles.

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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com</i>
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  1. That’s your opinion, not fact. I am a responsible driver. If I am travelling I need to refuel and get going, something which is very available pretty much anywhere and doesn’t take more than a few minutes. While the Tesla is still at the supercharge station getting a 50% charge in about 30-35 minutes IF and ONLY IF someone isn’t already there, I am down the road 20 miles or so.
    If you want to wait around for hours, that is up to you. My time is far more valuable than that.
    Don’t forget, that is only a 50% charge. That means next stop at 100 miles or quite a bit more time at the station. I bet I will be at my destination long before a Tesla driver will.

  2. Red, did you just pull those numbers from the place where the sun does not shine? Give us the link to that.

    Take two vehicles (trucks) have one run on Diesel and the other run on the best battery packs now in production. You may get 2X the efficiency, not 5X, if you are careful.

    Also, I was being generous with fossil fuels being 20 times more energy dense. It is closer to 40 times when you look at the entire weight of a working battery pack.

    Regardless, we are not going to be seeing EV trucks any time soon. It is not due to cost. It is due to range issues. Battery powered airplanes with anywhere near current performance? Not in my lifetime.

  3. I don’t consider a stop of 20-30 minutes at best a minor inconvenience. Remember, that is to stop at a supercharge station where there may well be a wait of anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.
    Current trailer weight loaded is about 1800 lbs. When the wife and I go to Canada on vacation for example, we fill up about 3 times with my Tacoma. I normally maintain a 70 mph speed on highways. If it’s hot, I run the A/C as well. Then there is lighting usage at night which does suck juice and range as well.
    All that is completely moot though when one sees the price of 100-135K + tax. For that price I can purchase a new GMC Canyon with the 2.8 diesel or a Ram 1500 with the 3.0. Either one should be capable of 20 + MPG towing a trailer with a range in excess of 300 miles. The extra 60k or so will purchase a whole lot of fuel for quite a few years.

  4. Not likely. But if you were to strap an 8,000 lbs load, including trailer, to a Model X 70, it would probably have a range closer to 100 miles than 200 miles.

  5. Dude. I did say, “If”. Get a grip.

    And there is no way in heck that Tesla Motors would release a vehicle with an electric range as short as 20 miles or less. You must be thinking of Cadillac… or BMW… or Honda… or Toyota. Yeah.

  6. Too bad, but you are probably correct. If each ATV is ~500 lbs, and the trailer is ~1,500 lbs, that’s only about 2,500 lbs though, right? That should be fine in the Model X 90, and would definitely get you over 200 miles per stage if you could accept the minor inconvenience of stopping for 20-30 minutes once every three or four hours along the way.

    I have only owned one car that could get me over 500 miles on a single tank. I loved it for my marathon runs in my youth. But really, I could probably use the break every 250-to-300 miles once that is an achievable range at a cruising speed of 85 MPH in an EV. It won’t take too much longer I think, and a lot less time than many Naysayers will claim.

    Best of luck in all your journeys!

  7. Well, it turns out that the official tow capacity will be 5,000 lbs instead. My guess this is because that is the most you could manage with the 70 kWh battery pack, in a Model X equipped with the tow package, and still be able to traverse the ~150 miles between Superchargers on the highway. I still suspect that the 90 kWh version can still tow more, for a longer distance, at California’s 55 MPH maximum for towing vehicles. But since other States allow towing at the full speed posted on the highway, in some places as high as 85 MPH, that would not be a proper metric. We’ll have to see a 120 kWh or higher capacity battery pack before extreme towing can be managed efficiently at all legal speeds in the US.

  8. Ugh.

    1) Lithium-ion batteries were developed to power flashlights. They were adapted for use in laptops. They have been subsequently adapted for use in EVs. Tesla Motors employs a robust battery management system that cools or heats those battery cells as needed to maintain peak efficiency in a range of 60°-90° Fahrenheit. Don’t worry about it. They’ll be fine.

    2) There’s more to life than ski racks. If you rent a condo, I bet it has electricity. A Tesla Motors product will plug into ANYTHING. If it is a resort of any sort, there are likely 14-50, 6-30, or just plain ole ordinary 5-15/5-20 outdoor outlets on the premises that will ‘fill’ your needs just fine.

    3) Dude. Yeah, right. Pick El Paso TX. Only one of the single most glaring ‘holes’ that currently appear on the Supercharger map. Oh, but wait… That will be filled before the end of 2016, along with the rest of I-10 and I-20.

    4) BMW’s hybrids are among the worst on the road.

    5) The ‘niche’ for Model X will be larger than that of either Porsche Cayenne or AUDI Q7 before you know it.

    6) Read a book!

  9. Gasoline engines use five times as much energy to travel the same distance as an EV.

    The energy density of batteries does not have to equal that of gasoline.

    If 1/4 the energy stored in 20 gallons of gasoline is supplied to an EV, it will have a 600+ mile range.

  10. Dude, your nomenclature is ID-10T. Two Kool-aid references (misspelled) in on comment stream. You exist though, I’ll give you that. I take that back, you might be a douche-bot.

  11. Elon Musk the bragger is spewing his BS again. If every CEO did this, we’d find it very strange, but with him, we’re a kind of use to it.

  12. Nick. All Teslas have excellent disc brakes on all four corners. Together with regenerative braking makes it even better and safer.

  13. Yes, but… If you are towing something, your range will go down extremely quickly. Fossil fuel have over 20 times the energy density of the best battery packs in the world. That is why EV trucks and construction vehicles are going to be a real challenge for many more decades, unless some crazy breakthrough is found.

  14. Be careful there Mark, the non-Kool-Aid drinkers almost elected a man who believes in a planet called Kolab among other weird stuff. I mean seriously, just who’s drinking what?

  15. Before I write an opinion, I’d like to point out Tesla is a publically traded company. Therefore, they are in the public eye and people have the right to offer their thoughts about Tesla. Before anyone calls me a “hater,” or “oil loving terrorist,” I might point out Elon Musk has said many unflattering things about Toyota and others. Is he a hater? He has the right to offer his opinion just as I do. I work in a chemical company and certainly do not have a handle on the inside dealings of any major company but here are my thoughts on the Model X.

    1. As with all BEV’s, the X will suffer from range limitations. Lithium Ion batteries were not developed to propel 2 ton cars at sustained high speeds for long distances … especially in bitter climatic conditions. Tesla did a great job of getting the most they can from Li-Ion batteries, but Tesla owners on their own forum report range loss of up to 33% in single digit temps. At sustained high speeds and while using the heat in bitter conditions, some have reported up to 50% loss of range. As it is, the an article about the X already predicted less range than the S due to higher profile and more weight. So, will it still have range that is practical when towing an 8,000 lb trailer? I have no doubt it can do so. But will it have any sort of range to tow a boat to a quiet lake in Michigan 200 miles round trip. Consider that quiet forest areas and remote lakes generally are not close to charge points.

    2. I live part time in the Denver area and each winter I-70 is packed with SUV’s carrying ski’s and gear to the ski areas. I have never seen a BEV west of Genesse. There is a supercharger in Silverthorne, but I wouldn’t want to referee two kids waiting to get to the slope. Nor is there a charge point near the condo we rent. I-70 has every battery killer known. I wouldn’t want to take a chance with my family. Our SUV makes the trip with no worries, no anxiety. We have a roof rack for the ski’s and store gear in the back. In summer we can plug a bike rack into the class III hitch, tow a boat and drive wherever the road takes us.

    3. Tesla’s cannot drive everywhere. Use EVPlanner to plan a trip from El Paso to Dallas. You will find it is 621 miles to Dallas with NO superchargers, and according to EVPlanner, NO charge points of any kind. That scenario is repeated in other parts of the country. There are currently 194 superchargers in the US that must cover 3.8 million miles of roads in the US. They’re hardly everywhere as some have written.

    I think BMW’s initiative to convert their entire lineup to PHEV’s is admirable. In the future we will likely all be driving behind clean, efficient electric motors. BMW is making sure their customers can plug in when they choose and drive using batteries, or take advantage of 121,000 gas stations if they are in a charging wasteland. What is wrong with that? I would very much appreciate a PHEV on a trip to Vail in single digit temps.

    I think the X will be a great car in a niche. But this article suggesting massive towing capability is foolish. Again, it will no doubt tow the weight, but how far can it go with an 8,000 lb Cobalt behind it? How safe will it be? Will the trailer light package drain the strained batteries even further. Will the weight and high speeds burden the motors with heat? It will do a fine job for soccer moms in warm climates, but it is hardly a mainstream, go anywhere SUV.

    It takes tremendous engineering and much money to develop a PHEV solution. It is worth it because the cars are still powered by efficient electric motors and can still make use of 121,000 gas stations if needed. I think the ability to drive anywhere without anxiety and difficulty is valuable. Of course some own BEV’s that do exactly what they want. For them there is nothing further to say except enjoy your car. We’ll see what the future holds. If anyone disagrees with my opinion, I’d like to hear your thoughts. I can also provide references for most of what I said.

  16. That is impressive, but…..First, vehicles used to tow heavy loads have a chassis and brake system to match the added capacity. Also, they tend to be pretty big and long vehicles, and I wonder how the balance of the X will be lugging a heavy boat or horse trailer…And the range will likely get crushed as well. This towing capacity could be more a theory than a really valuable capability, but it will be interesting to see when it comes out.

  17. Is it going to have a trailer brake controller built in the dash?

    What kind of tongue load can it handle? I can’t see that thing taking much…it wouldn’t have nearly enough spring or tire to handle more than a couple of hundred pounds at the most.

  18. It actually could be done with their super charger network. But that’s fine, nobody is forcing you to buy a Tesla car. Not all cars appeal to all people. Hype rules only when the company has made great products, and the Model S is a great product. Most people can’t afford it, but that doesn’t mean the product isn’t successful.

  19. Wait, the hard part about a towing system is not the engine, but the braking system. Since the Tesla has a regenerative braking it can handle a lot, but the law states that if an engine braking system fails then the brake pads have to be able to handle the full load, and I doubt that it will have a 15000 lb (5000 for the car and 10000 for what is towed) brake pad system which is enormous.

  20. Facts, who cares about facts, this is the world of Tesla and Musk. Hype rules the day and emotion overrules reality. Electric cars run on electricity produced by fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. i prefer my 36 mpg camry v6 that will last 10 years or 250k miles and cost less than one third of a car that can’t travel more the 250 miles at a time. Try driving Dallas to southern Colorado in a Tesla. Sorry can’t be done. Enjoy replacing those battery packs I heard they are not cheap.

  21. BWhaaa Bwhaaa, “Tesla accepted Government bailout money.” “It is electric and it will never work” Bwhaaa!! Obama is responsible” BWHAAA.

    Nice job Tesla!

  22. Low speed towing is probably fine, especially if it can recoup momentum with regeneration. It is when it is up to speed on the highway that there could be range issues.

    It seems to me you could put a few of those Tesla Powerwalls in a trailer and a wire to the car. Don’t know if they thought of that. I am sure they didn’t or they would have put the plug in the back rather than where it will hang out on the side. Still, I suppose, they could make a right-angle plug.

    Solar panels in a trailer roof (and fold-up carport-like sides when parked) could help a little…probably not much unless it parked for weeks.

    One problem is that other rich Tesla drivers are not going to want to share the charging station with some Tesla and a beast trailer.

  23. Even then at 200 miles it would be woefully inadequate for me. Next weekend I will be towing a trailer with 2 ATV’s from NJ to canada some 800+ miles each way. i do not have time to stop every 200 to charge the battery.

  24. Musk needn’t worry though. The most strenuous journey the Model X will ever be taking will be hauling the kids from private school or a trip down to the local Starbucks.

  25. Not going be 10k, but will be 8000. Probably will have 95kwhr battery, maybe 120 miles range under full load conditions, 250 miles under regular use. I say this because the X is competing with the Porsche Cayenne, which has tow rating (with brakes) of 7716 lbs.

  26. i would not take this car to my construction site or tow my boat with it either. Instead i will let my wife borrow it to go to TJ Max.

  27. The problem is that the batteries will drain significantly faster when towing a load. Vehicles with real tow capacities tend to have larger fuel tanks to compensate for reduced fuel economy. Even with a supercharging station you can’t be stopping often if you need to tow a long distance.

  28. The estimated range while towing 8500 is 4 miles but Musk always lives up to his promises so tow it will but the duration is just a little detail. You koolaid drinkers are so funny

  29. The high towing capacity is great news because it means Tesla X will be heavy-duty and DURABLE under usual non-towing use, even if the range at fully loaded towing capacity would be modest at best, it means I will have my Tesla a long time with little reason to worry about structural and drive train issues.

  30. Lol, what will the range of a Model X be while towing 8500 pounds? 120 miles? I mean, it would be towing 170% of its own weight.

  31. This is good news! I had estimated the tow rating for Model X at over 6,000 lbs last year. That was based on an offhand comment by a Tesla Motors representative made in 2013. If it has a range over 200 miles while towing 8,000 lbs or more, the Model X will fulfill a lot of needs.

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