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Tesla Model S can be recharged by towing it with a Model X, but it’s not recommended


Tesla recommends to only use a flatbed when towing its vehicles and specifies in its owner manual that “damage caused by transporting is not covered by the warranty”, but that has never stop owners to do as they please.

The idea of charging an electric vehicle with regenerative braking by towing it is an interesting concept. It has already been demonstrated by a Russian Model S owners, but now we get some more data with Model S being towed by a Model X.

Bjørn Nyland conducted the experience with his Model X roped to Jørgen Winther-Larsen’s Model S on 6.6 miles in Norway.

They gathered the following data:

  • Total distance: 10.7 km (6.6 miles)
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Model X consumed 14.9 kWh
  • Model S gained 7.2 kWh
  • Average charging power 28.8 kW
  • Estimated energy for driving both cars: 3 kWh
  • Heat loss in both cars combined: 4.7 kWh
  • Estimated loss in pulling: 20%
  • Estimated loss in charging: 20%

They filmed the instrument cluster of each vehicle to show the energy consumption and generation in real-time of each vehicle:

The Model S has a max regen of 60 kW, but Bjørn says that they couldn’t reach the max capacity because the rope they used was too short to drive at speeds that would have allowed to reach 60 kW.

Again. While an interesting experiment, Tesla doesn’t recommend to tow a Model S with the wheels on the ground or the powertrain energized, and “damage caused by transporting is not covered by the warranty”. Also, the Model X’s towing capacity limit can be a problem when towing a vehicle as heavy as the Model S.

When configured with 22″ wheels, the Model X can tow 3,500 pounds and when configured with 20″ wheels, the towing capacity of the SUV increases to 5,000 pounds, according to Tesla.

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