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TomB985

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I just finished a 1,250-mile trip towing my camper from Minneapolis to San Antonio. This is the first time towing longer distances with my Lightning, and I powered most of the trip with Tesla’s Supercharger network. The truck was fantastic; this was the easiest long-distance tow I’ve ever done.

I traded my Model Y for the Lightning after getting my A-Frame camper last October. I had previously towed a shorter popup camper, but the aero penalty with the new camper was too much to get more than 120 miles of range to a full charge. That meant closer to 100 miles in practice because of how long it took to charge above 90%, and then having to disconnect to charge from the rear-mounted charge port. The car did a great job with power, handling, and braking, but it needed longer legs.

My Lightning is about 10% less efficient than my Model Y with the trailer, but the battery is almost twice the size, so I was able to get 160-180 miles of range at 60 MPH. I saw between 1.6-1.2 mi/kWh at 60 MPH with strong headwinds and tailwinds, but it seemed to average around 1.4. Charge stops take a bit longer than the Model Y, but the increased capacity meant I wasn’t charging to 95% as often, so I spent less overall time charging. This was the first trip I’ve done without any charging issues to speak of. Tesla’s Superchargers were fantastic as always, and the handful of third-party units worked perfectly. I had to disconnect twice to avoid blocking small parking lots with my camper, but it was a huge improvement to have a front-mounted charge port.

My favorite feature of the Lightning is the Pro Power Onboard outlets in the bed, which gives me 7.2 kW of power from 120v and 240v outlets next to the tailgate. I was able to plug my camper into the truck and run the A/C, microwave, and refrigerator without firing up a noisy gasoline generator. I lost about 10% powering the camper overnight, which is cheaper than a couple gallons of gas.

I bought my Lightning because I wanted to be able to tow my camper longer distances with the reliability of Tesla’s charging network. I’ll be heading home later this week, and I expect the return trip will go just as well.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240403_161554855_Original


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240406_160643953_Original


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240406_002849703_Original


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers IMG_0703


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240403_192838255_Original


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240404_160641920_Original


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers IMG_0705


Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240405_003059837_Original
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TaxmanHog

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Awesome report!!!!
 
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MM in SouthTX

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Impressive report. What was your mileage at 75 mph? Or did you avoid I-35 and take all back roads?
 
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TomB985

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Impressive report. What was your mileage at 75 mph? Or did you avoid I-35 and take all back roads?
I never went that fast unless I was passing people. Efficiency drops faster at higher speeds when towing because the trailer’s drag penalty gets magnified.

I took I-35 at 60 MPH for most of the way down, but cut across US-69/75 through Oklahoma. I spent two-and-a-half years as a truck driver in a previous career, which involved 250,000 miles between 61-63 MPH. It takes discipline to set the cruise and let everyone pass you, but the efficiency benefit is huge. I could have gone faster at certain stretches, but I didn’t see the need.

I think my longest stretch between chargers was 155 miles, but I could have gone further. I don’t think I got below 9%.
 

MM in SouthTX

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Cool. That does take discipline. I've driven that stretch a lot, and I would say that less than 0.5% of vehicles (big trucks included) are doing more than 10 under the speed limit like you did (outside of congested traffic slow-downs). If I do 75, I sometimes feel like I'm in the way! Definitely staying out of the left lane!
 

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TomB985

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I try to be as considerate as possible. I surprised a lot of people rocketing from 60-75 MPH to match speed with passing traffic. I can’t stand it when people cut me off and hold traffic up as they creep past someone.
 

MickeyAO

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I take it you are in town for the eclipse? If so, we will only have 18 seconds of totality in SATX, but I suspect you will be heading to the hill country for the big show ;)
 
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TomB985

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I take it you are in town for the eclipse? If so, we will only have 18 seconds of totality in SATX, but I suspect you will be heading to the hill country for the big show ;)
Yup, that’s the plan. I’m taking the opportunity to visit some friends down here, and we’re headed up to Fredericksburg tomorrow morning. The weather doesn’t look great, but we’ll have a good time regardless.
 

Jasper7821

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Thank you for the great report. I used to tow my little 16ft boat with my Model S and it was a pain. I sold it and bought a Cayenne diesel and it towed like a dream and even got 26mpg towing on the freeway.
Sold that boat and got a Model 3. Been waiting forever for the Cybertruck, decided not to wait anymore especially since there’s huge discounts on Lightnings.
I bought a Lariat ER last weekend and drove it 800 miles home, I absolutely love it.
Now I want another boat or watercraft, it’s good to hear that you’re getting 160-180 miles.
The lake I go to is 120 miles away, should be able to easily make it there, then on the way home, stop at the Tesla supercharger only 10 minutes out of the way and charge up some and be able to make it home 😁

Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers IMG_7266
 

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TomB985

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Now I want another boat or watercraft, it’s good to hear that you’re getting 160-180 miles.
The lake I go to is 120 miles away, should be able to easily make it there, then on the way home, stop at the Tesla supercharger only 10 minutes out of the way and charge up some and be able to make it home 😁
I think you’ll be fine. I pulled my 22’ Monterey out of storage right before coming on this trip and averaged 1.2 mi/kWh on the 40-mile drive home. I’m not yet confident in those numbers, but I’ll have a better idea in a couple of months. My favorite lake is 52 miles each way.

Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240402_130049274_Original
 

Jasper7821

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I think you’ll be fine. I pulled my 22’ Monterey out of storage right before coming on this trip and averaged 1.2 mi/kWh on the 40-mile drive home. I’m not yet confident in those numbers, but I’ll have a better idea in a couple of months. My favorite lake is 52 miles each way.

PXL_20240402_130049274_Original.jpeg
Great, thank you, hoping I’ll get little better than that with the less weight. 👍
 

tbkfan

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Great report. Do you plan to book more electrical hookup sites for charging while you camp?
 
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TomB985

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Great, thank you, hoping I’ll get little better than that with the less weight. 👍
It’s all about wind resistance. I get better efficiency towing my 5,500-lb boat than I do my 1,500-lb utility trailer. That trailer has a ramp gate at the back that catches the wind, so it has much worse aero than the boat. The principle is the same in my old gas guzzling ‘04 Expedition.

As long as your boat has a relatively sleek profile, you should do pretty well.


Great report. Do you plan to book more electrical hookup sites for charging while you camp?
Yup. I’m boondocking in Waco tonight, but I have a site booked tomorrow at a rural campground in Mena, AR. There is no fast charging between Texarkana and Fort Smith, so overnight campground charging is the best way to get off the beaten path a little. I called to confirm they didn’t mind charging my truck from the campsite.

I’ve only had one campsite have a problem with that, but I’d be in a pickle if I showed up at 10% and couldn’t charge.
 
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TomB985

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I’m plugged into the campsite in Mena, AR for the night. It takes awhile to charge from 9% when I’m only pulling 7 kW, but the price is right. $30 buys me a campsite with a hot shower and complementary tank of gas.

What’s not to love?

Ford F-150 Lightning Towed camper 1,250-miles (MN to TX) using Tesla Superchargers PXL_20240411_235741005_Original
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