YouTube channel Now You Know recently published a video that covers in-depth testing of the Rivian R1T's towing prowess. They compare it to a heavy-duty diesel-powered truck, though they're not putting the trucks head-to-head. Instead, the video just works to give potential R1T owners a solid idea of what to expect when it comes to towing capability in general.
Once it became clear that electric pickup trucks were coming to market, truck owners had many important questions. Range is typically the first consideration when people compare an EV to a gas-powered vehicle, and this is especially true when it comes to trucks. If you're considering an electric pickup like the Rivian R1T, you'll likely need to know how much it can tow, and whether the electric range is reasonable while towing.
We've shared several articles that cover the Rivian R1T's towing capabilities and range. However, since there are so many variables, this topic arguably can't get enough attention. The worry is that electric trucks will lose most of their range while towing, which would make them potentially unusable – or at least inconvenient – for people who may want to go on long road trips pulling a camper or a boat.
That said, getting an electric truck with plenty of range is important. Some reviewers have noted that you can expect to lose about 50 percent of an EV's range while towing, which may seem like a lot. However, gas-powered trucks also lose plenty of range while towing, but people simply don't pay as much attention.
If your gas-powered truck is getting low on fuel, it's quick and easy to make a stop at a gas station. This may not be the case when it comes to DC Fast Charging on road trips, depending on where you live and where you're headed.
At any rate, Now You Know consults with a friend who they say is a truck expert. Tom is an NYK contractor who currently drives a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Duramax Diesel, which is certainly a far cry from the smaller and fully electric Rivian R1T. While the Chevy can tow up to 26,000 pounds, the R1T is rated at just 11,0000 pounds. Tom paid about $60,000 for the hardcore work truck. Meanwhile, Now You Know quotes the R1T's price at $82,000.
Tom explains that as he tests the R1T, he's looking specifically at power response and braking. He's interested to learn how the Rivian's regenerative braking system fares. The crew sets out pulling the R1T's max weight. Tom notes that while the Rivian can't tow nearly as much as a heavy-duty truck, 11,000 pounds is about as much as he'd ever really need to tow, and that may prove true for many owners.
The power response is impressive, even up hills, and Tom says the regen braking makes him feel very safe. In fact, the truck tackles the acceleration and braking with ease, and he doesn't really have to use the brake pedal much at all. However, he does spend some time testing out the trailer brake, which also appears to work quite well.
As the trip progresses, the R1T's computer continues to recalculate the electric range based on the weight and conditions. For practical purposes, we'll say the range estimate is hovering around about 100 miles. However, when Tom floors it, the range plummets to around 80 miles.
In the end, Tom admits that electric trucks are the future, and he's really impressed with the R1T's capability. He felt very confident behind the wheel thanks to the strong and instant acceleration, as well as the impressive regenerative braking system. Moreover, he didn't point out any notable concerns.