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Published on April 11th, 2020 | by Kyle Field

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Tesla Model 3 Towing Capability Added Courtesy EcoHitch

April 11th, 2020 by  


And it’s easy to install.

The Tesla Model 3 is an amazing vehicle, but it comes up a little short when it comes to hauling around lots of gear. Specifically, bikes. Our pals over at EV Annex reached out to us about reviewing the EcoHitch for the Tesla Model 3. We jumped in with both feet. Our task: install and test the EcoHitch and the Undercover adapter.

Reviewing electric bikes is a ton of fun, but I was eager to cut the cord and add the capability to haul these bikes, normal bikes, and other gear around with a hitch. I picked up a bike rack built specifically for hauling around e-bikes and was excited to install the EcoHitch — for a number of reasons. The EcoHitch for the Tesla Model 3 comes with a 2″ hitch, so be sure any gear you’re looking at is compatible before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Installation

As with any automotive work, it’s best to have the EcoHitch installed by trained professionals. The installation requires the removal of the bumper cover, structural components, and electrical components of the vehicle. After pulling the bumper cover off, the plastic cover below the vehicle must be detached as well as a number of other structural and electrical elements, including the rear radar sensors.

Our 2018 Tesla Model 3 with the rear bumper removed and ready for the EcoHitch to be installed. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

For a full walkthrough of the installation process to help you decide whether or not it’s worth tackling yourself, check out a few of the installation tutorials online (Trev @ Tesla Owners Online, TorkLift, JerryRigEverything / Teslanomics). They breeze through a lot of steps along the way, so keep an eye on all the small details mentioned if you’re considering tackling the install yourself. When it doubt, hire it out.

While the Tesla Model 3 isn’t technically rated for towing, the EcoHitch is rated for a 200 pound / 91 kilogram tongue weight and 2,000 pounds / 907 kilograms when towing. That’s more than enough to add a bike rack, gear hauler, or perhaps a small storage trailer to the vehicle. For our purposes, we were laser-focused on hauling around more bikes, so the EcoHitch was perfect.

The EcoHitch bolts on in place of the two factory bumper adapters (on the ground in this image). Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

First and foremost, the EcoHitch installs as a bolt-on upgrade to the vehicle and tucks up nicely out of sight above the factory plastic. It is able to do this thanks to its removable hitch adapter, meaning when you’re not using the hitch, you’re able to pull out the massive 15/16″ bolt that holds the adapter in place and the clearance in the back stays at the factory height. That is a massive improvement over other tow hitch kits that require a cross beam that hangs down below the factory plastic.

On my mid-2018 Tesla Model 3, the installation required me to cut a hole in plastic for the hitch adapter to pass through. The Undercover add-on from EV Annex uses a slick magnet and plastic setup to cover over this area when the tow hitch isn’t being used for a nice clean look. In early 2019, Tesla added a door to the rear diffuser that makes the addition of a tow hitch much easier, with a cover over this area that simply pops out.

The Undercover hides the hole in the plastic when the tow hitch receiver is removed for a nice clean look. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

After installing the EcoHitch, we buttoned everything back into place and clipped our bike rack on for some real-world testing. The installation of the rack was super easy and just took a few minutes of fiddling around to learn how everything worked. Just slide the rack into the hitch adapter on the EcoHitch and slide the locking 5/8″ pin into place to ensure the rack doesn’t grow legs when you’re out driving around.

The EcoHitch adapter slides out easily when not in use, but we very quickly learned to take any steep driveways, street drainages, and curbs with respect when hooked up. The hitch adapter and bike rack both sit very low on the vehicle in relation to its factory ride height and it’s worth taking a cautious approach until you learn how they will interact with your surroundings when driving. I took our driveway a bit too quickly on the first trip out and received a nice little love-tap reminder of my new addition.

With two bikes in tow. Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The EcoHitch for the Tesla Model 3 is clearly a quality piece with a fairly straightforward installation that makes it an attractive option for anyone looking for a quick way to add a tow hitch to the Model 3. The quality comes at a price, with the EcoHitch tipping the scales at $499.95, or $614.95 for the EcoHitch with the Undercover. I have personally been buying higher quality goods in the hopes of a better value over the long term, and the EcoHitch fits that model perfectly. After all, you’re installing it on a Tesla. Why go cheap?

If CleanTechnica has helped you learn about Tesla or Tesla’s Energy products, feel free to use my Tesla referral code — https://ts.la/kyle623 — to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles with the purchase of a new Tesla vehicle or a $250 award after activating a new Tesla solar system. If you’re anything like me, the award serves as a nice bonus after doing something great and feels a lot like finding a toy in a box of cereal, back when that was still a thing.  


 

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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in BYD, SolarEdge, Tesla, and Arcimoto.



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