A YouTuber who decided to see if towing his Tesla with another vehicle could recharge the battery via his Model 3’s regenerative braking has found that, yes, it is indeed possible to add range by “tow-charging,” netting roughly 10 miles for every one towed.
User “Tech Forum” performed the test to see how much power he could add back to his Tesla Model 3’s batteries by using regenerative braking, which restores power by capturing heat from the brakes and turning it into usable energy, a technology used heavily in F1 cars.
To perform the test, he ran his battery down to zero, then strapped the Model 3 to his Ford C-Max Hybrid and pulled it for about a mile.
What he found was that dragging it that short distance earned him enough juice to charge his battery up to a range of 10 miles (although the Tesla only indicated three miles were possible).
The Model 3 had just been upgraded to the latest version 9 software, which has improved the efficiency of the regenerative braking.
Obviously, it’s not a viable solution to drive your Tesla around the block with the brakes on while being towed. The automaker itself disavowed the method, suggesting instead that owners who need to two their cars get a flatbed.
But it’s an interesting test that shows how the system works, and what Tesla’s technology is capable of.