Cybertruck as a tow vehicle

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AlexD

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I've done the math based off of other tests and I expect to get around 140 miles of range with my 10K lb Airstream with my Tri-Motor (500+ mile range) Cyber Truck. That is at 70F.

That is enough to get between just about any Supercharger gap on US Interstates.

If it's below freezing outside, I'm planning on 100 miles or less. But I don't tow much when it's cold.

The REAL problem is almost all current Supercharger stations are not setup for charging with a trailer. I'd say around 90% of Superchargers you will have to disconnect the trailer to charger the Cybertruck. So if the CT has the expected ~200kWh battery pack, a minimum of 1 hour charging while towing, and then add on another 20 minutes every time for trailer de-coupling and re-coupling.

Don't expect to get anywhere quickly.
I've done the math based off of other tests and I expect to get around 140 miles of range with my 10K lb Airstream with my Tri-Motor (500+ mile range) Cyber Truck. That is at 70F.

That is enough to get between just about any Supercharger gap on US Interstates.

If it's below freezing outside, I'm planning on 100 miles or less. But I don't tow much when it's cold.

The REAL problem is almost all current Supercharger stations are not setup for charging with a trailer. I'd say around 90% of Superchargers you will have to disconnect the trailer to charger the Cybertruck. So if the CT has the expected ~200kWh battery pack, a minimum of 1 hour charging while towing, and then add on another 20 minutes every time for trailer de-coupling and re-coupling.

Don't expect to get anywhere quickly.
When I started my trip the tank was pretty low and I put in 27.2 gal gas
On the trip I never put in more than 21 gal - being conservative & not risk running out. Notwithstanding, GasHog always got over 300 miles before I had to refill. 140 miles range is simply NBGAA! Remember we are doing the comparison with a 2003 real piece of shit! Goodness there are any number of better tow vehicles than ol' GasHog!





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That's a 32% increase in fuel consumption to go from 18mpg to 13.5. I don't know where you got the 18% from.

-Crissa
308miles driven and
I did the math. You consumed 0.055 gallons per mile (18mpg). Then you put the trailer on and consumed 0.074 gallons per mile (13.6). That's an increase of 32%.

I don't know what your math was about, because it makes no sense. You consume gallons, not mpgs.

-Crissa
Drive 308 miles and use 17.672 gals gas = 17.4287 MPG say 17.43
Which part of this simple calculation is giving you problems???
 

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Drive 308 miles and use 17.672 gals gas = 17.4287 MPG say 17.43
Which part of this simple calculation is giving you problems???
Okay, if switch to 17mpg as the baseline, you still used 25% more gas to go the same distance at 13.6mpg.

-Crissa
 
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I'd love to see MPG numbers with your existing truck and trailer combinations!

I think you'll find that your existing tow vehicle loses quite a lot of range when it tows, as well.

I get about 50%-60% of my unladen range when I tow my travel trailer with my ICE vehicle, depending on the speed I choose. (MPGs drop from 18-20 when unladen to 9-12 when towing.)

This is intuitive, because my travel trailer roughly doubles the weight and frontal area of my truck. This is comparable to the range hit people have reported when towing with the Model X.

We've debated this topic extensively on this board, and the only things we can agree on is that:
  • The trailer has a big effect on the performance of the combination vehicle.
  • We won't get good numbers until someone actually does it.
  • Conventionally powered vehicles also take a big range hit when towing, but nobody seems to care.
Personally, I've bought in to the hypothesis that my GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid is the most similar vehicle on the road to the upcoming Cybertruck[0]. As such, it's the best model I have for the Cybertruck's towing performance.

I'm expecting a similar range-reduction when towing with the CT, which means the Tri-Motor CT is the best fit for my towing use-case. But I fully recognize that there are large error bars on my numbers -- the CT's towing range with my trailer might be 40% of its unladen range, or 60%. 🤷‍♂️

I humbly suggest that you precisely and accurately measure your tow vehicle's MPG with and without your trailers. A lot of us on this board are engineers (but not automotive engineers) -- and so the math gets hot & heavy long before someone goes for a drive in his/her truck and just f*cking measures the numbers.

[0] The upcoming F-150 Hybrid and F150-EVs will also be good models. However, I have yet to see either in the wild, much less tow with one.
The actual real world figures show that there is only about a 15% increase in fuel consumption on my old 5.4L V8 2003 F150.
I put the address into my Model 3 and let it plan my route. Warrenton (VA) to Bloomington Indiana is about 630 miles according to the Tesla.
Recharge at La Vale MD - 30 minutes
recharge at Cambridge Ohio - 30 minutes
Recharge Dayton Ohio 25 minutes
Arrive Bloomington with 15% charge left - and there is no Supercharger anywhere near so I would have had to recharge at Indianapolis which is about 40 miles from Bloomington. Now this is my Model 3 not towing. So its 4 charging stops just to reach my destination (with plenty range left to do my return start off)
Towing I am probably going to average 80 miles range to fit in with the supercharger network and this would mean 630/80 = 8 recharging stops on the return trip!
That's a total of 12 recharging stops vs 4 refueling stops in the GasHog.
Afraid this doesn't make good reading and I'm the biggest EV fan but not blind to reality.
 

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You know, you can charge at any J-station or Tesla Destination station, too, while you take a meal or sleep for the night. You don't just have to charge at Superchargers.

-Crissa
 

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I really don’t think the range when towing will be that great but it works for me because in all my 35 years driving a truck I haven’t towed anything over 50 miles. Diesel trucks still have their place and it won’t work for everyone.
 
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Okay, if switch to 17mpg as the baseline, you still used 25% more gas to go the same distance at 13.6mpg.

-Crissa
Crissa, the road from Cincinnati to Indianapolis is flat level freeway for ever. I drove one way not towing and the other way towing at very similar speeds. Not towing I got a fuel consumption of 16.82 mpg. Towing I got 14.43 mpg. Same road, similar speeds and similar conditions. That is a difference of 2.39 mpg - heavier whilst towing.
2.39 as a % of 16.82 is 14.209274% different. (to 6 decimal places!!) This is not rocket science. I used less than 15% more fuel when towing in the old GasHog.
Please note the second part of this trip is pretty mountainous so obviously the closer to home the worse the fuel consumption would be whether towing or not towing. That's why I believe using the section in and out of Indianapolis is going to give the correct comparative figures. But even if you use average consumption loaded vs unloaded doesn't make that terribly much of a difference. I did state that I also drove this section differently because some parts were driven at night.
Truly, use the into and out of Indianapolis statistics for the most accurate comparison. I am not trying to fudge the figures. This is my real life reality, very accurately documented. I have no vested interests. If you don't like the figures that's tough shit but its the reality.
 

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You got 14.43 mpg in a section when you towed only part of the way. So why would you select that sample and not the other part?

-Crissa
 
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You know, you can charge at any J-station or Tesla Destination station, too, while you take a meal or sleep for the night. You don't just have to charge at Superchargers.

-Crissa
I left Warrenton at 03.30 am on Friday 16th April. Arrived in Bloomington Indiana at 2.30 pm same day. Did the paperwork, hooked up the boat and headed back home. Slept at some Best Western and was back home in Warrenton the next day at 3pm. About 1300 mile round trip. This is all like 2 weeks ago - Not a pleasure to be sure!
 
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You got 14.43 mpg in a section when you towed only part of the way. So why would you select that sample and not the other part?

-Crissa
Look carefully at my log published earlier.
At odometer reading 104028 was where I refueled at Bloomington (40 miles west of Indianapolis) where I hitched up the boat. On this leg I had a fuel consumption of 16.83 mpg - not towing.
The next fill up at 104334 was the first refuel while towing and I used 14.43 mpg.
The route is identical but in the opposite directions and the road is straight and flat.
I was not hanging about and was driving at 75 to 80 mph in both directions so its a fair comparison. It amazes me that the old GasHog didn't use dramatically more fuel when towing. These are the facts, plain and simple. I have the log book and petrol slips to prove it and why would I bullshit anyway? Remember you are dealing with an BEV fanatic - not an ICE fan by any stretch of the imagination! I absolutely love my Tesla and will never change it but sadly realize I will have to also keep an ICE vehicle to do my towing because long haul towing is the EV's Achilles heel.
 

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The only - and I mean only - reason a truck would have a higher towing 'penalty' is because it was more aerodynically small than another truck.

Because when you're towing, what you're doing is raising the cross-section and lowering the aerodynamic efficiency. A trailer's aerodynamics barely* change when you swap the towing vehicle.

So really, looking at it as 'this truck only does 18% towing penalty' is the wrong way to look at it. It probably means that truck is wasting energy all the time that you don't notice.

-Crissa

* It's possible for the wind-shadow of a truck to work particularly well with a specifically designed trailer, or to have more of a wedge that creates more of a shadow for trailers to fit into at a specific speed. See also the profile of the Shinkansen vs Amtrak engines. But few pickup trucks are going to have that sort of profile. Well, except maybe a Cybertruck...
 

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The bass boat didn't affect your aerodynamics as much as a camper or enclosed trailer would because it doesn't have a lot of frontal area and is smaller that the pickup. If you were to haul a camper or enclosed trailer with the same pickup, your fuel consumption would probably be close to double (also depends on speed). The Model 3 is smaller than your truck and will expose more of the trailer to the wind. Cybertruck will be bigger than a Model 3, so it will not be directly compatible.

By the way, I've towed a small utility trailer with a lawn tractor 140 miles at about 65 MPH multiple times and my energy consumption was around 400-420 Wh/mi. Combined trailer and cargo weight of 1200 lbs, but consumption isn't much different with an empty trailer. On my 2018 Model 3 LR RWD with a range of 308 when brand new, that trip non-stop takes my battery from 100% to 5%. With Cybertruck, I expect the range hit to be less.
 

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OK by happy coincidence I can give you exact figures.
My F150 Lariat is a 2003 model, real old tech with a huge thirsty 5.4L V8. Within our family she is known as GAS-HOG! She has just north of 103000 miles on the clock.

A few weeks ago I drove Gas-hog up to Indianapolis to collect a boat I had bought on auction. Here are the exact figures from my logbook.

4/15/21 Fill up to start trip at Warrenton VA. Mileage 103354
4/16/21 Fill up 17.672 Gal $49.34 Mileage 103662 (308) Fuel consumption 17.43 MPG
4/16/21 Fill up 21.76 Gal $49.34 Mileage 104028 (366 miles) consumption 16.83 MPG
We are now at Indianapolis & hitch the boat up. Up to the first fill up I was driving at night and my speed was low. The 2nd tank to Indianapolis I'm putting foot and doing 75 to 80MPH
HITCH UP BOAT
Now we are towing a 16.5ft Bass boat and driving 75 to 80 MPH
4/17/21 Fill up 21.2 Gal $59.34 Mileage 104334 consumption 14.43 MPG
4/17/21 Fill up 21.373 Gal $57.69 Mileage 104619 consumption 13.33 MPG - but I'm speeding 80 to 85 MPH (smell home & tired of this drive!)

Summary: Not towing average consumption 17.13 MPG
Towing average consumption 13.88 MPG
Extra fuel consumption towing 3.25 MPG or 18.97% increase in fuel consumption towing. It is also overstated because when coming home towing I was driving faster.

Conclusion: The F150 Gas Hog doesn't use substantially more gas whilst towing.
Let's put fuel consumption into the same terms seen on EV dashboards.

Assuming your F150 has the 25 gallon usable tank, your unladen range is 25 gallons * 17.13 miles/gallon = 428 miles.

With the your (new) boat, the rang falls to 25 gallons * 13.88 miles/gallon = 347 miles.

428 miles / 347 miles = 81%. That means you see a 19% range hit when towing that boat.

That's a substantial range hit, but much less than my travel trailer on my truck.

But I don't know how big the boat is. How much does the boat+trailer weigh, and does it fit into the aerodynamic slipstream of the truck?

Lastly, I cannot know if a ~347-mile towing range (with a CT3 towing your boat) suits your needs in the Cybertruck (assuming your trailer has a roughly comparable range impact on the CT3). That is completely your decision, and based your needs, circumstances, and risk tolerance.

I can say that a ~250 mile electric range while towing my travel trailer would suit me just fine. But you are not me, and your needs may be quite different.
 
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One thing you may be forgetting is that supercharger/charging stations are not static. There will be more charging stations added in the next 5, 10, plus years. More gas stations are adding EV charges so driving out of the way today won’t necessarily mean you have to when CT is available to you.
Yes, it can be a pain taking the road less traveled right now. I’ve bitched about that myself however, the times they are a changing.
 
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Boats are amongst the most forgiving to tow, due to aerodynamics.

Towing a travel trailer or enclosed cargo trailer will exact a significant penalty in efficiency/range. I'm surprised this is a surprise to anyone that tows? It is not uncommon for me to lose 40-50% mpg in an ICE, towing a travel trailer. I would expect similar in an EV.

This will be a problem for some people's towing needs. Others are towing a construction trailer around town, or travel trailers for short weekend trips and will be fine. It all depends on your needs and willingness to wait for a charge.
 

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