Cybertruck as a tow vehicle

rr6013

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Towing power, style, comfort yes. The solution is having a trailer with 3000W or more solar array and 1000 ah 48V battery bank for range.
You don’t want that sunk investment bolted down to a trailer you don’t use everyday. Rare is the CT that will trailer tow daily.

Better to stack powerwalls in the bed of CT. Fully charged. Ready to go when you need range. Pull out of CT wall mount when not towing. The investment keeps paying dividends for you.

Four Powerwalls stacked vertical could stand between a 5th wheel and CT back window. Trailer hitch towing could stand eight Powerwalls. Commercial users running Roadrunner 24/7/365 could be the only use-case for eight but with charging times, eight might be an essential luxury!
 

Crissa

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You don’t want that sunk investment bolted down to a trailer you don’t use everyday.
Well, batteries and a solar array can be busy charging itself while the truck is off doing errands. You don't want to be paying to tote around an investment you're not using.

-Crissa
 

Luke42

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If I got a 250 mile towing range with my Cybertruck I would be a happy bunny.
If I only got 120 to 140 mile range that would suck. Based on what I see on YouTube videos, towing with Model X, 3 & Y's makes me worry. I shall wait until the first Cybertrucks are delivered and I will keenly follow the tests on YouTube showing how they tow. - But I'm not holding my breath based on the others results.
I would bail on my Cybertruck reservation if I believed the range would would be 120-140 with my travel trailer.

A vehicle which couldn't tow my travel trailer 250 miles would not be suitable for my use-case. This is one of the many reasons I'm aiming to get around the 100,000th Cybertruck built.

However, my estimate is based on the following ideas:
  • Trailer energy requirement: The trailer will hold back any tow vehicle that looks like a pickup truck with roughly the same force, regardless of the tow vehicle's drivetrain. In other words, the tow vehicle aerodynamics and drivetrain have a minor impact on the trailer's energy requirements. The trailer's energy requirement at the trailer hitch is mostly unchanged by the tow vehicle.
  • Truck energy requirement at-the-wheels: While the Cybertruck has a lower coefficient of drag than a typical pickup truck and Carnot Cycle losses occur offboard, there are a lot of things that will be roughly similar to existing pickups: weight, tires, aerodynamic cross section, and so the overall energy consumption at-the-wheels will be roughly comparable to existing pickup trucks.
The bottom line is that towing sucks gas.

The confounding factors are:
  • Cybertruck aerodynamics: A more efficient truck will lose more range to the trailer, because the trailer uses a bigger proportion of the Combination Vehicle's total energy. We all think the Cybertruck will be more efficient than an F-series or GMT900.
  • Drivetrain quirks: ICE engines + gearboxes have sweet spots at various RPM/speed combinations which can complicate the energy-use-at-the-wheels measurement a bit. EVs have a dramatically different torque curve, and often feature fixed gearing. This makes making direct comparisons more difficult, but my intuition (WAG) is that it is a much smaller factor than the energy requirements of a trailer and/or the truck at-the-wheels.
  • Converting MPG to Wh/mile (MPGe) is harder than it appears, because of differences in how we account for the Carnot Cycle losses (which can be as high as 70%). The Carnot Cycle losses occur in the ICE truck's engine, but this happens at the electric power plant for an EV. In gasoline vehicles, we measure the energy input at the gasoline filler neck, and we measure the energy input at the charging port in an EV. However, since Carnot Cycle efficiency can vary dramatically (it's far more efficient in the power plant than in an ICE), converting MPG to MPGe involves a lot of assumptions which can cause the result to vary wildly. So, taking the trailer's MPG penalty and converting it to Wh/mile and adding that to the existing Tesla's Wh/mile to determine the range is harder than it sounds without taking measurements on an electric tow vehicle. This is why I mentioned the "energy requirement at-the-wheels" above.

The tri-motor Cybertruck is advertising a 500+c mile range (where c is an unknown constant). We don't know what that c is, but most of us seem to assume that it's around +10%. Once I stack all of my WAGs and uncertainties on top of each other, I expect the Cybertruck to have a towing range of 500*40%=200 to 550*50%=275 miles with my travel trailer.

Keeping in mind that I'm stacking WAGs upon WAGs, and then doing math on those WAGs. This is a low-quality estimate with big error bars. I won't really know until someone tries it.

I'm really hoping for 250+ miles of towing range with the Cybertruck + travel trailer combination vehicle, but I might still wince and buy if I expect a towing range as low as 200 miles. I'd be out, though, if I expected 140 miles. However, based on the above reasoning, I'm still in!

Hopefully we'll get some road-reports before my spot in line comes up.
 
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AlexD

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I would bail on my Cybertruck reservation if I believed the range would would be 120-140 with my travel trailer.

A vehicle which couldn't tow my travel trailer 250 miles would not be suitable for my use-case. This is one of the many reasons I'm aiming to get around the 100,000th Cybertruck built.

However, my estimate is based on the following ideas:
  • Trailer energy requirement: The trailer will hold any tow vehicle that looks like a pickup truck with roughly the same force, regardless of the tow vehicle's drivetrain. In other words, the tow vehicle aerodynamics and drivetrain have a minor impact on the trailer's energy requirements. The trailer's energy requirement at the trailer hitch is mostly unchanged by the tow vehicle.
  • Truck energy requirement at-the-wheels: While the Cybertruck has a lower coefficient of drag than a typical pickup truck and Carnot Cycle losses occur offboard, there are a lot of things that will be roughly similar to existing pickups: weight, tires, aerodynamic cross section, and overall energy consumption at-the-wheels will be roughly comparable to existing pickup trucks.
The bottom line is that towing sucks gas.

The confounding factors are:
  • Cybertruck aerodynamics: A more efficient truck will lose more range to the trailer, because the trailer uses a bigger proportion of the Combination Vehicle's total energy. We all think the Cybertruck will be more efficient than an F-series or GMT900.
  • Drivetrain quirks: ICE engines + gearboxes have sweet spots at various RPM/speed combinations which can complicate the energy-use-at-the-wheels measurement a bit. EVs have a dramatically different torque curve, and often feature fixed gearing. This makes making direct comparisons more difficult, but my intuition (WAG) is that it is a much smaller factor than the energy requirements of a trailer and/or the truck at-the-wheels.
  • Converting MPG to Wh/mile (MPGe) is harder than it appears, because of differences in how we account for the Carnot Cycle losses (which can be as high as 70%). The Carnot Cycle losses occur in the ICE truck's engine, but this happens at the electric power plant for an EV. In gasoline vehicles, we measure the energy input at the gasoline filler neck, and we measure the energy input at the charging port in an EV. However, since Carnot Cycle efficiency can vary dramatically (it's far more efficient in the power plant than in an ICE), converting MPG to MPGe involves a lot of assumptions which can cause the result to vary wildly. So, taking the trailer's MPG penalty and converting it to Wh/mile and adding that to the existing Tesla's Wh/mile to determine the range is harder than it sounds without taking measurements on an electric tow vehicle. This is why I mentioned the "energy requirement at-the-wheels" above.

The tri-motor Cybertruck is advertising a 500+c mile range (where c is an unknown constant). We don't know what that c is, but most of us seem to assume that it's around +10%. Once I stack all of my WAGs and uncertainties on top of each other, I expect the Cybertruck to have a towing range of 500*40%=200 to 550*50%=275 miles with my travel trailer.

Keeping in mind that I'm stacking WAGs upon WAGs, and then doing math on those WAGs. This is a low-quality estimate with big error bars. I won't really know until someone tries it.

I'm really hoping for 250+ miles of towing range with the Cybertruck + travel trailer combination vehicle, but I might still wince and buy if I expect a towing range as low as 200 miles. I'd be out, though, if I expected 140 miles. However, based on the above reasoning, I'm still in!

Hopefully we'll get some road-reports before my spot in line comes up.
Any idea why the Wh/Mile usage seems to not vary much according to the size of trailer being towed - based on the various YouTube videos?
I would have expected a much higher Wh/Mile where you are towing a big heavy trailer and this doesn't appear to be the case.
 

Crissa

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Any idea why the Wh/Mile usage seems to not vary much according to the size of trailer being towed - based on the various YouTube videos?
Because it's aerodynamic profile, not weight or 'size' that matters.

It does vary, alot. But an open trailer with stuff sticking out if it has a terrible profile while a big brick is at least smooth even though it's big.

A small brick would be better than a big brick.

-Crissa
 

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I don't know if it's so much range, but more lack of pull through superchargers that will be the limiting factor. Even if range is cut in half, that's still 150 or 250 miles, or at least 2 hours of driving between stops. Stopping to charge won't be the annoying part, it'll be unhooking your trailer everytime!

And yes I know chargers are dynamic and always changing. But highly doubt in 2 or 3 years there will be 100% V3 pull through supercharger network.

If you're concerned about towing, be concerned about this, not range.
 

Crissa

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Most likely a Cybertruck will have some sort of automated system to help trailering. With a camera, you're not guessing where the tongue is at all. With an assist mode, it might be able to do it itself.

-Crissa
 

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I don't know if it's so much range, but more lack of pull through superchargers that will be the limiting factor. Even if range is cut in half, that's still 150 or 250 miles, or at least 2 hours of driving between stops. Stopping to charge won't be the annoying part, it'll be unhooking your trailer everytime!

And yes I know chargers are dynamic and always changing. But highly doubt in 2 or 3 years there will be 100% V3 pull through supercharger network.

If you're concerned about towing, be concerned about this, not range.
Maybe don't need 100%. Initially maybe 20% - 30% would be enough to start. Those along major highways and at destinations where people would have trailers. Most chargers in urban areas would not have land space available or need drive thru.
 
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AlexD

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I don't know if it's so much range, but more lack of pull through superchargers that will be the limiting factor. Even if range is cut in half, that's still 150 or 250 miles, or at least 2 hours of driving between stops. Stopping to charge won't be the annoying part, it'll be unhooking your trailer everytime!

And yes I know chargers are dynamic and always changing. But highly doubt in 2 or 3 years there will be 100% V3 pull through supercharger network.

If you're concerned about towing, be concerned about this, not range.
It seems like quite a few Superchargers do have facility to accommodate vehicles towing - but not all. The problem, as I see it, with having a short range is that you become very limited in your choice of supercharger locations and conceivably, if you have say only a 90 mile range, you may not be able to reach a supercharger. Whilst there is a fantastic Supercharger network in the USA (and Europe) there are still infinitely more gas stations than charging stations. (I ignore that you can charge at any 110V point because that charging speed is a joke)
 

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Maybe don't need 100%. Initially maybe 20% - 30% would be enough to start. Those along major highways and at destinations where people would have trailers. Most chargers in urban areas would not have land space available or need drive thru.
I think most don't understand how few V3 chargers there are in the Midwest. Would really stink to have this awesome truck w/ above 250kW (I'm hoping for 350kW) charging capability, only to be stuck at V2 stations. That would be soul crushing to not be able to use that capability.
https://supercharge.info/map

Oddly enough, if electrify America chargers worked half the time, I'd say they have the better charger network w/ most being able to charge at 350kW. Unfortunately Tesla can't charge at that rate on them.
 

kpett

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I have been doing the same...watching YouTube videos of X & Ys towing to get a better idea of what the CT will do. Here is the key difference I can see, but I don't know what real world difference it will make...

The CT is wider than the X & Y. It is already pushing more air out of the way, even with a low drag coefficient. The size of the frontal area will displace more air making it's towing bubble bigger by comparison to the X or Ys. I am hoping to get at least 50% of the original range.

I want to pull the trigger on a Black Series HQ 12 or HQ 15 but I don't know how the weight will hinder the performance by comparison to something lighter like the Alto by Condo Safari. Now these are two wildly different trailer brands, but ideally I would like to overland with the CT making the BS HQ 12/15 a fun option...but only if I don't get stranded.
 

Eye of Elon

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I think if you're early in line you can conduct experiments yourself and if the towing doesn't work out, you should be able to sell your cybertruck at a profit.

If your late in line there should be plenty of data by then.
 

KrodEKid

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I don't understand the obsession with comparing non-tow vs towing efficiency loss from a ICE to an EV. The more efficient a system is, the more energy loss there is going to be when a bigger load is placed on it. To oversimplify, if a system is 100% efficient, it will take twice as much energy to do twice the work.

Points I will take against EVs...
Range is a concern due to charging time and charging availability.

Therefore, EVs aren't viable for everybody yet.

An EV towing *may lose more range compared to an ICE towing but an EV will still be more efficient overall. It is similar to the cold weather argument.

I haven't done the math, just using logical conclusions. It makes more sense to compare EV efficiency not towing to ICE not towing. And EV towing to ICE towing consumption.

When considering range... It makes sense to consider EVs will likely have full charge daily. And ICE only refilled when needed.

My rule of thumb is: If traveling more than 300 miles 1 way while towing is a common thing for personal needs, then CT is probably not for you. If it's less than that, there's a good chance you can make it work. But until we get real range data from towing with CT it's all speculation.
 

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