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Old 09-17-2022, 12:20 PM   #1
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Tesla towing 27' Airstream

I read Andy Thompson's story about towing his 27' trailer from Ontario to Denver using a Tesla Model S as a tow vehicle. It makes for thought-provoking reading on the subject of towing with TVs and TVs in general.

https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/post/tes...rado-and-back/
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Old 09-17-2022, 01:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by FilmGuy View Post
I read Andy Thompson's story about towing his 27' trailer from Ontario to Denver using a Tesla Model S as a tow vehicle. It makes for thought-provoking reading on the subject of towing with TVs and TVs in general.

https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/post/tes...rado-and-back/
I would be interested in knowing what modifications were made to the vehicle to handle the payload and hitch weight? On these forums all I ever hear is you need a 3/4 ton to pull a 27í safely. Well not ďallĒ, but quite a few.
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Old 09-17-2022, 01:31 PM   #3
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I would be interested in knowing what modifications were made to the vehicle to handle the payload and hitch weight? On these forums all I ever hear is you need a 3/4 ton to pull a 27í safely. Well not ďallĒ, but quite a few.
Yes, I would too. You can see from the pics in the article that there are no AC units on the roof, but he doesnít talk at all about the specifics of what heís done to ďstreamline the rig for electric towing.Ē
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Old 09-17-2022, 01:52 PM   #4
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Let's see. Andy removed the A/C for more efficient towing. He gave a ride to someone in Kansas on the way back when the temperature was 43C (109.4F). I would have slept in the Tesla with the A/C on.

I'm glad there are people trying EV towing, but its clearly not where it would need to be for me to buy an EV tow vehicle.
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Old 09-17-2022, 02:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
I would be interested in knowing what modifications were made to the vehicle to handle the payload and hitch weight? On these forums all I ever hear is you need a 3/4 ton to pull a 27’ safely. Well not “all”, but quite a few.
The TV modifications include the design and installation of a custom receiver hitch. I would expect a brake controller as well.

There have been a series of articles published over the last year or two.

Here is one from RV Life that Andy wrote.

Here is another

Here is the first one.

For the trailer, cleaning up the roof refers to removing the roof mounted AC, not sure about changes to the vents. No word on whether a split AC system was installed, as Bowlus uses.

The A frame changes relate to relocating batteries closer to the trailer axle, reducing tongue weight on the AS27. Perhaps other changes as well. Reducing the tongue weight was began with the Model 3 tow vehicle; don't know if the new Model S required this or not when considering rated axle loads.

The underbody changes contemplated include addressing protruding tank enclosures, and a cover for the spare tire.
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Old 09-17-2022, 04:19 PM   #6
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You can make a Ford Pinto go 200 MPH. It doesn't mean that you should.
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Old 09-17-2022, 04:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
The TV modifications include the design and installation of a custom receiver hitch. I would expect a brake controller as well.

There have been a series of articles published over the last year or two.

Here is one from RV Life that Andy wrote.

Here is another

Here is the first one.

For the trailer, cleaning up the roof refers to removing the roof mounted AC, not sure about changes to the vents. No word on whether a split AC system was installed, as Bowlus uses.

The A frame changes relate to relocating batteries closer to the trailer axle, reducing tongue weight on the AS27. Perhaps other changes as well. Reducing the tongue weight was began with the Model 3 tow vehicle; don't know if the new Model S required this or not when considering rated axle loads.

The underbody changes contemplated include addressing protruding tank enclosures, and a cover for the spare tire.
I would be more concerned about modifications to the Tesla. I simply do not see how it could possibly meet the GVWR and Gross Trailer Weight requirement. The Model S only has a little over a 1,000lb payload capacity. And this is what I have read:


Tesla Warranty
The general principles or warranty worldwide is that a manufacturer can only avoid a warranty claim if any unofficial change has a direct impact on the part being covered by warranty. A simple example would be if an owner decides to replace the brakes on their car, a subsequent issue with any braking component could be linked to the change and therefore not warranted.

A tow hook or tow hitch could be attributed to a range of potential issues including rear suspension, air suspension, bodywork, subframe, increased motor loading, etc etc. Tesla attitude to warranty is changing with an increasing willingness to avoid warranty claims if they suspect the owner has caused the problem in some way. We can not offer any definitive answer on the impact of warranty but owners should be aware of the potential issues that present themselves in the future.

Question: Would tesla void a warranty if something happened while towing? If in an accident with a Tesla that isn’t rated to tow an Airstream 27’ would there be significant legal issues?

I’m not saying modifications can’t be made, but once made there may be warranty issues.
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:53 PM   #8
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P.S. Andy, if you are following this thread please let us know what things you did to the Tesla And any other issues you may have dealt with regarding warranty issues etc.
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Old 09-18-2022, 09:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
The TV modifications include the design and installation of a custom receiver hitch. I would expect a brake controller as well.

There have been a series of articles published over the last year or two.

Here is one from RV Life that Andy wrote.

Here is another

Here is the first one.

For the trailer, cleaning up the roof refers to removing the roof mounted AC, not sure about changes to the vents. No word on whether a split AC system was installed, as Bowlus uses.

The A frame changes relate to relocating batteries closer to the trailer axle, reducing tongue weight on the AS27. Perhaps other changes as well. Reducing the tongue weight was began with the Model 3 tow vehicle; don't know if the new Model S required this or not when considering rated axle loads.

The underbody changes contemplated include addressing protruding tank enclosures, and a cover for the spare tire.
Thanks for these. Interesting reading.
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Old 09-18-2022, 10:45 AM   #10
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And for those who haven't been paying attention...

Here are a couple more Tessla pics...poking fun at EV's...no harm intended!
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Old 09-18-2022, 10:52 AM   #11
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There are a number of companies that are engineering a re-gen electrical charging system that will charge the TV from the trailer. Airstream has prototypes and my guess this will be sorted within the next few years. This equates to the trailer will produce enough current to re charge the electric TV like an Lighting or the next new batch of EV's.

Regarding removing the AC because of aero I think is a bit foolish. The drag at towing speeds plus the flow of air that come off the TV is would be minor. A wing to divert the air would work as well and in 100+ degree heat.....
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Old 09-18-2022, 11:21 AM   #12
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Thor is now making AS’s with an electrified axle!
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Old 09-18-2022, 11:31 AM   #13
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Thor is now making ASís with an electrified axle!
Well, a concept trailer at least.

https://www.airstream.com/air-lab/concepts/estream/
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Old 09-18-2022, 11:40 AM   #14
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There are a number of companies that are engineering a re-gen electrical charging system that will charge the TV from the trailer. Airstream has prototypes and my guess this will be sorted within the next few years. This equates to the trailer will produce enough current to re charge the electric TV like an Lighting or the next new batch of EV's.

Regarding removing the AC because of aero I think is a bit foolish. The drag at towing speeds plus the flow of air that come off the TV is would be minor. A wing to divert the air would work as well and in 100+ degree heat.....
Here is one prototype operating.

https://coloradoteardrops.com/ev/

75 kWh, active battery cooling, L3 charging of the trailer.

WRT the roof mounted AC, I think it makes sense to prioritize roof space for solar, and have a split AC mounted within the trailer. This would be an improvement for all TVs, not just EV tow vehicles.
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Old 09-18-2022, 02:07 PM   #15
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No Mods - Cyber Truck

Perhaps by the time Teslaís Cyber Truck finally becomes available, so too will Airstreamís re-gen charging for the TV
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Old 09-18-2022, 03:22 PM   #16
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Andy at CanAm is a smart guy. But here is a real time comparison of the Ford Lighting and a Chevy gasser towing the same trailer. I canít imagine many people wanting to deal with the charging hassle. But to each his own.

https://insideevs.com/news/594871/ford-f150-lightning-vs-gas-truck-towing-range-single-charge/
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Old 09-18-2022, 03:56 PM   #17
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Staggering Implications

This article is for me a complete game changer if what is described by Mr. Thompson is remotely possible, either with a Model 3, or some other electric TV. In addition, if you factor in the possibility of an electrified AS axle it's a complete game changer. (Electrification would need to be a retrofit in my case).


I think it's amazing that going over mountains you recapture the uphill energy expended on the way down!!!



I am currently putting a 3000W solar system on my 2003 Classic. That is more than enough to charge an EV over the course of a day or so. Not enough juice to get you there mind you ... but more than enough once you are docked to keep you mobile and fully charged.



My system does charge during travel but with a loss of about 20% efficiency because during the panels do not track the sun when the AS is in motion.



Over the course of a typical day 12kWh would be produced, or per Andy's figures about 20 miles of range.



What about the economics. I am currently getting about 10mi/gal with my Ram 2500 (including a Sportster HD in the truck bed). So for Andy's "Trip A" (3,408 mi) he expended 608 Wh/mi on average. In NYC at $.25 / kWh that's about $.15/mi. On my diesel at 10mi/gal and $5/gal I spend $.50/mi. Big difference. And for solar each incremental watt is free!



Ultimately I plan to get off the diesel nipple and onto something cheaper and more sustainable. An electric TV may just be the thing.
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Old 09-18-2022, 04:34 PM   #18
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Wink Towing with a Tesla 3

Iím a believer because it was accomplished. I also believe significant funds were expended on both the TV and the Airstream. I tow my 23í Airstream with a 3/4 ton turbo diesel. Comfortable and confidence inspiring and yes, to drive near 600 miles (1150 km) the cost would have been 60 gallons of diesel at 6$/gallon or @360. Expensive but not as expensive as the Tesla it seems.
Iím not at all against electric vehicles though for now they are mostly powered by diesel powered generators. In time maybe windmills will replace these generators. For me, Iíll continue relying on a heavy truck to tow my trailers. I want my tow vehicle to weight at least 15-20% more than my trailer. Why? Because itís safer and btw mandatory in Western Europe.
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Old 09-18-2022, 04:57 PM   #19
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I’m a believer because it was accomplished. I also believe significant funds were expended on both the TV and the Airstream. I tow my 23’ Airstream with a 3/4 ton turbo diesel. Comfortable and confidence inspiring and yes, to drive near 600 miles (1150 km) the cost would have been 60 gallons of diesel at 6$/gallon or @360. Expensive but not as expensive as the Tesla it seems.
I’m not at all against electric vehicles though for now they are mostly powered by diesel powered generators. In time maybe windmills will replace these generators. For me, I’ll continue relying on a heavy truck to tow my trailers. I want my tow vehicle to weight at least 15-20% more than my trailer. Why? Because it’s safer and btw mandatory in Western Europe.
The 600 miles at Andy's consumption rate and $0.25 /kWh cost would have been $90, about a quarter of your diesel cost. Were you referring to the purchase price of the EV? Ours was the same price new as our last two ICE SUVs.

Can you expand on the diesel generator comment? Diesel power generation at utility scale is generally confined to small power stations in remote areas. In New York, petroleum fuels less than 0.2% of the grid. Coal was about 0.1%.
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Old 09-18-2022, 07:58 PM   #20
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The Model S is Andyís personal car, which replaced his beloved Jaguar. Along with the modified Airstream, itís an experiment in electric towing. Thereís lots of knowledge and understanding to be gained here.

Iím sure the receiver was custom made in the CanAm shop. I wouldnít be surprised if Andy welded it and installed it himself. He is in a unique position to do these things. He grew up in the Airstream dealership and has probably done every job there is.

The Model S has excellent proportions for a tow vehicle - itís a big car with an extremely low centre of gravity. I donít think you could find a more stable platform for towing an Airstream.

Andy has shown how itís done. It doesnít mean Iím ready to tow with a Tesla, because I anticipate going places where charging infrastructure doesnít exist yet, but you canít argue with the facts.
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