The Rivian R1T is a highly capable electric pickup truck with an impressive amount of EPA-estimated range. However, many truck owners are likely wondering, how much range can might it lose while towing a heavy load?
Interestingly, we just realized a few days ago that our friends who run the All Electric Family YouTube channel took delivery of their Rivian R1T electric truck. We published an article highlighting their first three videos with the R1T, which are certainly worth watching. The initial videos cover the Rivian delivery, the family's first impressions, DC fast-charging at an Electrify America station, and towing.
That said, the previous towing video simply talked about the hitch and a few other details, so we figured a more comprehensive towing video would arrive in the future. However, we had no idea that All Electric Family's more detailed towing video would show up on YouTube right after we published the article about their R1T.
In the latest video above, Katie and Steve set out to get a basic idea of how much electric range they should expect from the R1T while towing. They make it clear that this isn't a highly scientific test, but rather, a first look at the impact of towing on the electric truck's range. There are a number of factors that can impact EV range, though, as brand-new owners, getting a general idea of the truck's range with and without a trailer is an important start.
As we guessed based on the other videos, All Electric Family invested in an Airstream bunkhouse. They had rented one to test with their Tesla Model X, but we weren't 100 percent sure if they ultimately followed through with buying one. It makes sense that they moved forward with the Airstream since they now have an EV that's officially rated to tow it. While the Model X is only approved to tow up to 5,000 pounds, the R1T tops out at 11,000 pounds.
Steve explains that they're going to do multiple loops towing the Airstream. This way, they can change direction to account for wind and aerodynamic discrepancies. He also notes that they'll run tests with different ride heights.
As the couple proceeds with the tests, they reveal and discuss some important details, which are specifically related to the R1T and towing. These include using the Rivian's trailer hitch backup camera, as well as the truck's regen related to the trailer brake feature. Sadly, they note that the backup camera view's angle and "fisheye" view make it difficult to line things up, so they have to do it the old-fashioned way.
Once the R1T and Airstream are ready to go, Steve and Katie set out to make some real-world range estimates. The drive stats for two tests include the following:
- 31.9 miles @ 55 mph
- 40 total minutes driving
- 1.18 mile/kWh
- 27 kWh used
- 34.5 miles @ 55 mph
- 43 total minutes driving
- 1.15 mile/kWh
- 30 kWh used
They also note that to outside temp is 93°F, and winds are around 20 mph in each test, though the direction of travel changed. Katie says they kept the AC on since she wasn't willing to get all sweaty in the name of testing, which is good since most folks are going to use the AC when it's so hot outside.
All Electric Family provides many more details in the video, including an estimate that their R1T towing the Airstream in these conditions is likely to get about 140 miles of electric range, which isn't bad.
This means they could potentially travel about 2.5 hours (give or take) at 55 miles per hour before having to stop for a charge. Even if they played it safe, they could probably stop about every two hours or so.
Once you've had an opportunity to watch the video, share your takeaways in the comment section below.