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Manual shows Tesla Model Y can have a roof rack, but what about a tow hitch?

The Model Y Owner’s Manual hit the internet as Tesla started Model Y deliveries on Friday. We found some good new info from the manual, including the promise of a roof rack accessory. But unfortunately, another highly anticipated accessory, a tow hitch, isn’t mentioned.

There were a few exciting revelations from the manual. The Model Y has a heat pump, for one, which should help with winter range. It also has some pretty cool storage options and a built-in inductive phone charger. And we finally know how big it is, which we’d been wondering about for quite some time.

But will all that extra space and interior storage come along with better exterior storage than the 3 (and the S/X)? The 3 can get a roof rack (and tow hitch in EU), the S can get a roof rack, and the X can get a tow hitch. Will the Y finally be able to get both exterior storage options?

For the roof rack at least, it will.  This has been a highly anticipated option for the Model Y, since it’s more “crossover-SUV-like,” and more likely for people to drive it in rougher conditions compared to the Model 3.

We know it’s coming because the owner’s manual uses the same wording as the Model 3 under the heading “Roof Racks” on page 187.

Model Y supports the use of Tesla-approved roof racks using a Tesla mounting accessory. To install roof racks, you must use this accessory and you must use only roof rack systems that have been approved by Tesla (see Parts and Accessories on page 184). Failure to do so can cause significant damage.

Tesla sells a roof rack for the Model 3, and it looks like a similar one will be available for the Model Y. However, there’s no Model Y section in Tesla’s vehicle accessory shop yet, so you might want to hold off a bit to buy one. It may be possible to use the Model 3 rack on the Model Y, but we don’t yet know for sure.

So the roof rack is going to happen. We did expect this since we have seen a Model Y prototype with roof rack attached. But we also saw a tow hitch on a prototype, and that one hasn’t turned into reality. Not yet, at least.

Early owners have been told that there’s no option to add a tow hitch to the Model Y, and there’s nothing on the accessory shop yet that suggests one might be available. Model Ys that have been delivered so far do have a plate covering a spot that looks like it could hold a tow hitch.

Notably, though, the US owner’s manual says, “Towing Capacity (if equipped): not equipped with towing” in the specs section. The same section in the Model 3 manual only says, “Towing Capacity: Towing is not admissible.”  So, different wording, despite the manuals using the same language in many other sections (including the roof rack section).

This suggests that perhaps the two cars are different in this respect — such that Model Y might eventually get a tow hitch in the US, unlike the Model 3.

The Model 3 can’t get a tow hitch in the US, but it can get one in Europe. In the Model 3 European manual, the “towing capacity” section says, “See Towing and Accessories on page 81,” which describes tow hitch accessories and how to use the car to tow a small trailer.  So towing is “admissible” there, but not in the US.

But will the Model Y be able to tow a trailer?

The Model Y Owner’s Manual has no section about “towing a trailer.” The US Model 3 Owner’s Manual does have this section — it tells you not to do so. So in this case, the exemption of that section might actually be a positive thing. By not telling us the Model Y is incapable of towing a trailer, Tesla is somewhat suggesting that it might eventually be capable of towing a trailer.

Perhaps the Model Y, much like the EU Model 3, will eventually get a tow hitch. Perhaps they’ll use the section from the Model 3 EU owner’s manual on page 83, which describes trailer towing methods.

Tesla does distribute their Owner’s Manuals online for this very reason — so they can add more information to them when new accessories are released or when software updates add capabilities to the cars.

So for the Model Y, we’re left wondering: will it eventually get a tow hitch in the US, or will it be like the Model 3, and only get one in the EU? And if so, will it be able to tow a trailer or no? Stay tuned. And let us know in the comments whether these features are important to you.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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