You might have recently seen Tesla put the power of its Model X to the test by having the electric SUV tow a Qantas 787 Dreamliner for a distance of almost 300 meters at Melbourne Airport.
Well we couldn’t get our hands on an Air New Zealand aircraft, so we decided to tow something a little more practical - a Haines Hunter SF535.
The Model X came equipped with statements of being the safest, quickest and most capable SUV in history. Bold claims we know, so let’s see how it stacked up.
The model we tested was the 100D, that’s 100kW battery rating and Dual Motors for the Tesla newbies. The 100D has bragging rights of the longest range of the Model X family coming in at 565kms. Of course, this is based on day-to-day driving, not going out on a fishing trip with the boat hooked up.
|At a glance|
|Model||2018 Tesla Model X 100D|
|Power||100kWh - 565km Non-towing range|
|Transmission||Single speed fixed gear|
|Towing Capacity Braked||2250kg|
|Towing Capacity Unbraked||450kg|
A vehicle known for its autopilot mode, this was soon disabled as we connected the trailer plug and the vehicle automatically switched into towing mode.
The Tesla provided a comfortable ride and felt very stable when towing, helped by a low centre of gravity, slick aerodynamic shape and close to 2500kg kerb weight.
The height-adjustable air suspension adapted well in trailer mode and we found the weight of the added motor resulted in a very stable ride.
One of things we loved most about the Model X was the incredible amount of torque produced on the hill section of our course. There was a sound like something out of the Jetson’s cartoon as the vehicle accelerated almost instantaneously from 50-80kph. So swift, we were worried we had left the boat behind!
When it comes to gearbox performance, the Tesla uses a simple fixed ratio system which is perfect for producing torque from 0 rpm. Despite all of the power provided to the wheels, the vehicle always maintained good traction and road holding. We weren’t too impressed with the towing connections electrical system, it meant that the lights were behaving unusually on the trailer despite using the factory adaptor plug. The Model X also uses the more uncommon 50 mm ball so keep this in mind.
A Tesla dashboard can bombard you with more charts and graphs than a tax accountant could make sense of, but the most important figure on our test was the average energy consumption. In other terms, we wanted to know how fast the battery drains with a load attached compared to regular driving. Over our short 35km journey, we calculated a 17% drop in battery range. That’s three times faster than standard, essentially reducing a complete charge from 565km to under 200km… With consideration of track and driving conditions, we considered this a positive result.
Overall, the Model X has shown us that electric vehicles are indeed capable of towing despite the lack of range. With all of the tech and falcon wing rear doors, this vehicle will definitely turn heads at the boat ramp.