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Can an RV Tow a Tesla?

can an rv tow a tesla

Every year during the spring and summer, if you stop to notice the traffic whizzing by on major highways, you’ll most likely see juggernauts known as RVs on the road. These recreational vehicles roll down the streets long and wide, often seen towing a compact car behind them as they cruise to their destinations.

Can an RV do the same with a Tesla? Unfortunately no. You cannot tow a tesla with an RV as it is not able to be flat towed. The only way to tow a Tesla is by using a flatbed trailer.

Towing a small vehicle behind an RV is not an uncommon thing in the RV world. It’s a logical and, most times, reasonably necessary aspect of the recreational vehicle world of traveling. Things change quite a bit if your favorite personal car is a Tesla.  Yes, an RV can tow a Tesla, but not in the traditional fashion.

That’s the reason you see so many RVs flat towing their second vehicle. Flat towing is an inexpensive way of bringing along your second, more agile car. Succinctly put, flat towing is connecting the front of a car to a hitch on the rear end of the RV, then placing the vehicle’s transmission to be pulled in neutral, which allows it to roll along behind the RV.  

Why You Can’t Flat Tow a Tesla

Unless you’re seeking to void the warranty of your Tesla or burn up the motor, you should never flat tow a Tesla. That same goes for most, if not all, electric vehicles. While the technology behind the Tesla is a modern marvel, it’s this very same technology that prevents the possibility of a flat tow.

Here’s why.

The Tesla series of automobiles possess several incredible innovations, one of them being the lack of a transmission. A novel approach to be sure, but the lack of a car transmission means the motor is directly connected to the wheels.

When the wheels spin, the motor generates an electric current. You may be thinking towing it behind your RV is a great way to charge up a Tesla, but it’s not. With the car off and the wheels spinning, the motor generates electricity, but there’s nothing turned on to manage and regulate this surge of electricity.

Also, the car is off, which means the oil pump to lubricate the moving parts is not functioning. Now you have heat caused by friction and a surge of uncontrolled electricity.

Suppose you decide to continue flat towing your Tesla down the road. In that case, you get massive surges of uncontrolled electricity that ultimately fry your electronics coupled with a burnt motor because the cooling system isn’t running either. 

Most, if not all, Tesla car manuals specifically state never to flat tow the vehicle. Tesla recommends putting the car in Transport Mode and not move the car more than 30 feet and never faster than 3 to 5 miles per hour.

That’s a far cry from tooling along behind an RV from Houston to Dallas at speeds around 55 or 60.

So if you can’t or shouldn’t flat tow a Tesla, how can you bring it with you when you travel in an RV? A flatbed trailer designed for towing cars may be just the ticket. A Tesla weighs about 4,497 pounds on average, so you’ll need to ensure the flatbed you use can handle that kind of weight. 

The Type of RV You Have

Another critical factor is what kind of RV you have.

The class of motorhome you have dictates the amount of tow capacity the RV can handle. Most Class A motorhomes can tow up to 15,000 pounds, so you should be okay with a flatbed trailer and average Tesla together weighing in around 7 thousand pounds.

Towing a Tesla on a flatbed trailer gets dicey with a Class B or C motorhome which can only accommodate around five thousand pounds. 

One important thing about this is that you should never exceed your towing capacity.  

Aside from getting a ticket, exceeding the towing weight of your vehicle strains the engine and transmission and adds excessive wear and tear to the braking system.

It can even warp your motorhome’s chassis, which could lead to a catastrophic failure that could damage property or cause serious injury. If you’re thinking about towing a Tesla behind a Class B or C motorhome, the best thing to do is not to do it.  

Should You Tow Your Tesla on a Flatbed?

Still, most Tesla owners love their cars and hate to part with them. They bathe them frequently, ensure they receive routine maintenance and try hard to keep their Tesla in perfect operational condition.

These are all reasons for not towing a Tesla on an open bed trailer behind your motor home.

Regardless of the road conditions or the number of shields you use, the wheels of the motorhome will ultimately send shards of road debris flying up against the body of your Tesla. Some of these debris collisions can be severe enough to break a windshield. 

Aside from hauling your Tesla in an enclosed trailer which is relatively expensive, the only other option is to flat tow your Tesla close to the rear of your motorhome so the flying debris can’t damage the vehicle.

You already know what happens when you try to flat tow a Tesla don’t you?

For those who own and love Tesla vehicles, the choice to take it along with our RV on a road trip is a weighty decision for sure. 

What You Need to Tow It Right

Yes, you can tow your Tesla behind an RV but not using a less expensive flat tow.

Towing a Tesla behind an RV is not a clear-cut connect-and-go situation, but it can be accomplished if done correctly.

You’ll need a flatbed trailer to hook up behind your RV and then load your Tesla on that. If you’re worried about your Tesla getting damaged by road debris, then you need an enclosed trailer

As the price tag for this vacation road trip begins to soar, you’ll realize you need a motorhome with enough juice to pull a load of almost 7 thousand pounds safely.

If you have a Class B or Class C motorhome towing your Tesla becomes a risky situation. If upgrading to a Class A motorhome and renting an enclosed trailer to travel with your Tesla is not in your budget or wheelhouse, you may want to pursue other options.

Final Thoughts  

Think about getting a different vehicle that can flat tow and hitch it up, then hit the road. Leave your Tesla in the garage. You can always take it out for a spin when you get back from your recent RV road trip.  

As you can see, how much you love your Tesla may or may not be the deciding factor when it comes to towing your vehicle behind your RV.

If you wouldn’t want ever to be caught dead or alive with your fingers wrapped around the steering wheel of any car but a Tesla, then be prepared to tow it the correct way. Spend the extra money so you can cruise around the streets of downtown Boston or Houston looking for the perfect parking space.   

Here’s a perfect way to remember how to tow a Tesla. When it comes to towing a Tesla behind an RV, the wheels of the Tesla bus should never go round and round.   

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