Teslas have become quite popular over the last few years. These all-electric vehicles are the result of a company seeking to transition the world over to sustainable energy. If you have one, you’re probably a proud owner.
But you may also own a Class A motorhome and love to travel. On your next trip, you hope to flat tow your Tesla so you can get into some of those narrow places more easily. So, can you flat tow a Tesla? Let’s take a look.
What Does Flat Towing a Vehicle Mean?
When RVers travel in a motorhome or other drivable RV, often, they want to take along another vehicle. This is helpful when they arrive at their site and then want to venture into a nearby city, go out for dinner, or head to a unique national monument.
You can tow the vehicle you bring along (aka an RV Toad) a few ways. One of them is flat towing. However, pay attention to the owner’s manual of the car you want to haul, as not every vehicle has flat towing capabilities.
When you flat tow, you place the four wheels of the vehicle on the road. You can also put the front two wheels on a dolly. Or completely raise the car on a towing trailer, like the picture below shows.
Some consider flat towing easier and cheaper because you don’t need any other large equipment like a dolly or trailer. Some also call it dinghy towing or four-wheel towing.
Because all four wheels touch the road, some vehicles have specific requirements to do this safely and without destroying the transmission. Let’s take a look at the popular Tesla and discuss whether or not it’s flat towable.
Are Tesla Vehicles Flat Towable?
Although you might want to take your Tesla with you when you travel, you can’t flat tow it. You’ll have to choose a different method or have another person drive it. Currently, you can’t flat tow any all-electric vehicles.
Why can’t you flat tow a Tesla? Because you can’t flat tow a vehicle in neutral. Instead, vehicles must have a transmission disconnect. If you try to flat-tow in neutral without a transmission disconnect, you’ll have some major problems and expensive repairs.
Why Can’t You Just Tow a Tesla in Neutral?
A Tesla needs the cooling system to run so that when the gears spin and heat up the bearings, the vehicle’s cooling system provides relief. However, when towed in neutral, this doesn’t happen. The cooling system only operates when you have the car turned on. Therefore, overheating is a serious problem when you pull a Tesla in neutral.
If you try to flat tow, even a short distance, you could severely damage your vehicle, and the warranty likely won’t cover the repairs because you flat towed when the manufacturer told you not to. Tesla states that all of its vehicles must be towed on a flatbed trailer.
Are There Any Electric Cars That Are Flat Towable?
No, you can’t flat tow any electric cars because of how their motors operate. They don’t have the transmission disconnect needed. You can’t just shift a vehicle in neutral and haul it down the highway. A transmission disconnect ensures the transmission won’t get damaged or destroyed.
Electric vehicles don’t have a transmission like gasoline vehicles. A battery powers an electric motor, so it doesn’t work the same as an internal combustion system. And if you shift the electric vehicle in neutral, the cooling system won’t operate, leading to the heating issues discussed above.
Can You Tow Your Tesla on a Flatbed Trailer?
The Tesla manufacturer encourages towing on a flatbed trailer. If you choose another method, you might void the warranty. Make sure to check the payload capacity of the trailer.
A Tesla weighs an average of 4,500 lbs. You’ll also want to make sure your tow vehicle can pull the weight of your trailer and Tesla. Most Class A motorhomes have the towing capabilities needed. They can handle up to 15,000 lbs on average.
So, Should You Flat Tow Your Tesla?
Congratulations on buying your all-electric Tesla. Maybe you’ve had your eye on one for a while, and now the dream is reality.
However, don’t turn your dream into a nightmare. If you like driving your Tesla, don’t flat tow it. You’ll destroy the car. It’s not worth it. Plus, you’ll have to pay the repair costs out of pocket.
Don’t risk it. If you want to take it along with you on your RV travels, buy a flatbed trailer or have someone else drive it behind you. Isn’t your Tesla more important than the convenience of flat towing?