The Rivian R1T all-electric pickup was recently launched in the U.S. and a small, three-digit number of vehicles were already delivered to customers (mostly Rivian's employees).
One of Rivian's employees who already has a R1T is moving from Michigan to California. He decided to relocate with his Rivian R1T and Mustang on a Aluma aluminum trailer, and by the way, also checked out the towing capability.
It's most likely the first real-world cross-country towing test of the Rivian R1T, which had to cover about 2,700 miles (4,344 km).
The story is documented at gideontherivian (@Instagram) and recently was picked up also by The Fast Lane Truck, which gives us some more insights into the results.
Rivian R1T is allowed to tow up to 11,000 lbs (4,990 kg), but the manufacturer warns that the range might be cut by roughly 50% when towing. The EPA range rating for the vehicle is 314 miles (505 km) - half of that would be 157 miles (253 km).
Because in the real world, people rarely arrive at the charging stops with 0% state-of-charge (SOC) and charge to 100%, we must assume that the charging stops will have to be every 100-120 miles.
According to the Rivian employee and his wife, the gross weight of the R1T and the Shelby Mustang GT on the Aluma's aluminum trailer was 14,250 lbs (6,464 kg).
It's assumed - according to one of the sources - that the R1T weight is about 7,148 lbs (3,242 kg) which is quite heavy for a pickup. It also means that the trailer with the car is similarly heavy.
According to the map, the first leg of the journey had 8 charging stops, while the second one had 20 charging stops, mostly at the Electrify America charging stations.
That would give us a total of 28 charging stops (excluding destination stops), over about 2,700 miles (4,344 km), which would be slightly less than 100 miles (160 km) between charging stops.
The Fast Lane Truck reports that the couple was charging between 16% to 80% SOC, which would be 64% of the range and energy: 201 miles (323 km) EPA and 86 kWh. We assume that charging above 80% SOC slows down noticeably and it was not worth it to stay at the charger longer.
It's estimated that driving about 100 miles would take 1-1.5 hours, while charging would take another one hour or so (just a brief estimate). It would mean that the total charging time was 28 hours or so.
Only 100 miles between charging stops and a lot of time spent on charging is not the only issue. A very big problem is the lack of drive thru charging stations. Because connecting and disconnecting the trailer is not convenient (especially so many times), in most cases, they parked with the trailer sometimes taking multiple empty stalls:
Having the charing inlet in the left-front corner helps a bit:
An example of charging without the trailer:
Finally, they made it - 2,700 miles (4,344 km) cross country in November, while towing. An outstanding achievement, which would not be possible a decade ago, because in 2011 rarely did we see an electric car with a range of 100 miles (not even allowed to tow anything) and there was no fast charging infrastructure.
The Fast Lane Truck's earlier test with a Tesla Model X and a small trailer also revealed that the effective range was cut from about 300 miles to about 100 miles.
But to be honest, we need another leap, which might take a decade to further improve BEVs range and fast charging (a proper layout of the stations). We guess that moving to 150-200 miles per charge (while towing) is possible by 2025 (widely available by 2030). Actually, the 180 kWh R1T announced for 2022 should be close to 150 miles with a trailer - but it's the first and an expensive premium option ($10,000).
Gallery: 2022 Rivian R1T: First Drive Review
Rivian R1T specs:
EPA: 314 miles (505 km) (see details here)
400+ miles (644+ km) version (January 2022)
250+ mile (402+ km) affordable version to follow
- undisclosed battery capacity - around 135 kWh
2170-type cylindrical cells (7,776), supplied by Samsung SDI
- 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.0 seconds
- quad motor, all-wheel drive
- on-board charger: 11.5 kW (AC Level 2); up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge
- DC fast charging: up to 140 miles of range in 20 minutes
- wading depth: 3+ ft (more than 0.91 m)
- towing capacity: up to 11,000 lbs (4990 kg)