2021 Tesla Model Y long-term update: Utility trailer towing time

Yep, that is a pinball desk on a utility trailer.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

We’re a number of months and over a thousand miles into our Tesla Mannequin Y possession. In that point the automotive has been on the middle of lots of pseudo full-self driving histrionics and seen a further $2,000 price hike. (Possibly these appreciating asset claims aren’t so loopy in any case?) Our little SUV to this point has been seeing its method round upstate New York and surrounding environs, ushering us into fall with the specter of winter simply over the horizon, the place I very a lot sit up for testing out its all-wheel-drive chops.

However earlier than the snow falls I needed to get some testing of a really completely different kind in: towing. Tesla’s Class II hitch was a $1,000 possibility that I insisted we spec on our automotive, and it was additionally the one accent that I needed to have defined to me earlier than pulling our automotive off the dealership lot. The hitch, you see, is definitely tucked beneath the bumper cowl, hidden behind a pop-off hatch that makes it utterly invisible till you want it.

In my initial write-up of the car I referred to as this hitch “neatly hidden.” Now, after utilizing the factor, I see why different producers do not do the identical factor.

Let’s begin with the numbers. The hitch on the Mannequin Y is rated to tow a most of three,500 kilos, with a most tongue weight of 350 kilos. The utmost vertical accent weight, for bike racks and the like, is 160 kilos.

Now, 3,500 kilos is nice sufficient to tow an honest sized camper. Nonetheless, that tongue weight — the utmost vertical weight the hitch can help — is kind of limiting. I’ve solely discovered a handful of choices that match inside the Tesla’s parameters, and sadly, none appear to be obtainable for me to borrow for analysis. So, we’ll have to go away the camper testing for one more replace. For this replace, I dug out my previous utility trailer. You realize, the Harbor Freight DIY particular that everybody buys after they get into kart racing or the like. I’ve had mine for nicely over a decade and it is nonetheless going sturdy. Ugly as it’s, it is precisely the form of utility trailer that lots of chances are you’ll flip to for those who want a load of mulch, some sheets of drywall or, as in my case, a pinball desk. 

Sure, I used to be headed out to select up a undertaking pinball desk. And never simply any desk — the 1985 Williams masterpiece Excessive Velocity. The roughly 500-pound mixed weight of pinball desk and trailer was no risk to both the Mannequin Y’s most tow nor tongue scores, however once more, this form of load approximates what I count on many who’ve a utility trailer can be pulling.

Anyhow, the Mannequin Y comes with a hitch receiver however not a ball mount, in order that was step 1. I would anticipated having the ability to use one of many many I’ve collected through the years on numerous vehicles, however I used to be stunned to find that the Mannequin Y has a 2-inch receiver. Most vehicles with a Class II hitch have a 1.25-inch receiver, in order that necessitated a visit to the ironmongery shop. I wanted to roll there anyway, as a result of the Mannequin Y additionally makes use of a seven-blade plug for the trailer connection, slightly than the flat, four-pole connector extra generally used with Class II hitches. 


A rusty chain dragging in opposition to your bumper is not thought-about an excellent factor. 

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

And it is with that adapter that I had my first headache. The hitch receiver is located contained in the plastic bumper cowl, behind a bit plate that pops off. The issues started after I tried to plug into the adapter. The sting of the bumper cowl really overlaps with the plug, so I needed to bend the bumper out of the best way simply to shove the adapter in there. And, now that it is in, getting it out once more goes to be an actual ache.

Slotting the ball mount in is a bit awkward, as a result of the opening for the pin is method again there beneath the bumper. I obtained a reasonably lengthy ball mount, besides the ball itself sits barely 2 inches from the bumper cowl, so that you’d higher not overshoot when backing as much as your trailer. 

The most important subject, nonetheless, is that the loops the place you grasp the protection chains are additionally tucked nicely beneath the bumper cowl. As soon as linked, the chains actually relaxation on the underside of the bumper cowl, in opposition to which they’re going to bounce and chafe at some point of your journey. This isn’t excellent news; who needs their bumper coated in scratches?

Anyhow, adapters seated, chains linked and able to scuff, I hit the freeway for a loop that wound up protecting 208 miles at a mean pace round 60 mph. Ambient temperature was within the mid-50s Fahrenheit. Now, many EVs on the highway in the present day would wrestle with that form of journey even with out the trailer, however our Mannequin Y confirmed an indicated vary of 325 miles after I pulled it out of the storage. After my return? I had a scant 8% remaining, a consumption of 68 kilowatt-hours, or 328 watt-hours per mile. 


Mission achieved… although the phantom braking from Autopilot made towing much more troublesome than it ought to have been. 

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Yep, the additional drag from my little utility trailer rattling close to killed all the battery pack in simply over 200 miles at freeway pace. That compares to the EPA mixed score of 270 Wh/mi, which is consistent with what I have been seeing in my testing to this point. In different phrases, an almost 25% lower in effectivity and in efficient vary. 

What does this imply? Properly, for those who’re trying to tow along with your Mannequin Y (or some other EV, frankly), ensure you’re conservative in budgeting vary and in charting out charging stops. It is a protected wager {that a} greater camper will place considerably extra demand on the battery pack, and with a bit of luck I am going to get to perform a little RVing myself earlier than we ship our Mannequin Y out west to reside with another members of the Roadshow staff. Till then, keep tuned for our full evaluation of the Mannequin Y, during which I am going to let you know about simply how Autopilot fares now that Tesla has finished away with the radar sensor. 

Spoiler alert: It is fairly unhealthy. 

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/information/2021-tesla-model-y-long-term-update-range-towing/ | 2021 Tesla Mannequin Y long-term replace: Utility trailer towing time


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