Tesla Model 3 Rescued by BMW X5 With a Tow Charge After Running Out of Battery Power in the Colorado Mountains

One of the greatest fears of electric vehicle owners is “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of battery power before you can reach home or a charging station. This fear became a reality when a Tesla Model 3 ran out of battery power in a remote location in the Colorado mountains. However, fortunately, the Model 3 was rescued by a BMW X5 45e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) luxury SUV, which gave the EV a tow charge.

Tesla Model 3 reached a defective ChargePoint charger with a depleted battery

BMW X5 PHEV getting ready to tow charge a Tesla Model 3 by a log cabin in Colorado
BMW X5 PHEV getting ready to tow a Tesla Model 3 | Out of Spec Reviews via YouTube

Drew, an owner of a Tesla Model 3, experienced a perfect storm of multiple negative variables, as reported by InsideEVs. Recently, he drove his Model 3 near Allenspark, Colorado. The temperature outside was only 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Like other electric vehicles, the Model 3 has a lower driving range in cold weather. This resulted in a 0% state of charge (SoC) for the battery pack.

Drew managed to make it to a remote ChargePoint charging station. However, the EV charging station was defective, so he was unable to charge his Model 3. On top of that, due to the remote location, he couldn’t use his cell phone to call emergency services. Drew and his Model 3 were literally left out in the cold.

BMW X5 PHEV saves the Tesla Model 3 with a tow charge

BMW X5 PHEV tow charging a Tesla Model 3 on a Colorado mountain road
BMW X5 PHEV tow charging a Tesla Model 3 | Out of Spec Reviews via YouTube

Fortunately for Drew, Kyle Conner and his BMW X5 PHEV arrived to save the day. Without any way to charge the Model 3 rapidly enough to get to safety without freezing, Conner had an unusual solution: a tow charge. 

One of the unique things about electric vehicles is the ability to give them a tow charge. When you tow an electric vehicle like the Tesla Model 3, you provide a small boost to the battery. Tow charging utilizes the regenerative braking system to charge an EV. Before the X5 PHEV tow charged the Model 3, Drew set the regenerative braking system to 100%. This enabled the cold battery pack in the Model 3 to add electricity as quickly as possible.

Challenging tow charge journey with a Model 3 and an X5 on a Colorado mountain road

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Did the tow charging work? As you can see in the above video, the BMW X5 PHEV successfully tow-charged the Model 3. However, it was not an easy task. The video kicks off with Conner stating, “I don’t know if this is sketchy or not, but we’re doing 45 mph with the Tesla hooked up.”

Without a cell phone connection, Drew and Conner used agreed-upon signals. The towing came courtesy of the X5 PHEV. However, to make it work, Drew had to ensure that there was enough tension on the towing line and the Model 3 safely stayed on the road.

Initially, the BMW X5 PHEV towed the Model 3 in all-electric mode. However, with the steep climbs on the Colorado mountain road, he switched the luxury SUV to hybrid mode to supply more power. After towing for 3.5 miles, the Model 3 reached a 9% state of charge. That was enough power for Drew to drive his Model 3 to a Tesla Supercharger without the aid of any additional towing. 

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