The Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T were the first two all-electric pickup trucks to hit the market, and their respective launches were only months apart. While these two vehicles may appeal to different buyers and offer vastly different utility and driving experiences, they are compared and measured against each other simply because they have so few peers.
We decided to put the two together for a side-by-side range comparison and see which one can go farther on a single charge on a route that was mostly highway with some secondary and tertiary roads positioned at the beginning and the end.
The large frontal area of the F-150 Lightning creates more drag than the front end of the R1T.
The Ford F-150 Lightning with the extended range battery has a total capacity of 143.4 kilowatt-hours (kWh) with 131 kWh usable. The Rivian R1T's battery is a little smaller and has a total capacity of 135 kWh and a usable capacity somewhere between 125 kWh and 128 kWh (Rivian hasn't officially stated the usable capacity).
Our F-150 Lightning in Lariat trim has an EPA range rating of 320 miles per charge but that was with the stock 20" all-season tires. We replaced those with all-terrain BF Goodrich KO2 tires a few months ago and the aggressive tread on the all-terrain tires certainly has an adverse effect on the driving range.
The Rivian R1T we used has an EPA range rating of 289 miles per charge and came equipped with 20" wheels and Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires. When spec'd with the 21" wheels and all-season tires, the R1T has a combined EPA range rating of 328 miles per charge, so the range penalty of the all-terrain tires is 39 miles.
Since the F-150 Lightning doesn't have an all-terrain tire option, we don't have an official range rating for it as tested, but we would expect it to have a similar range penalty as the R1T.
Our chosen route was to head west on route 80 from northern New Jersey into Pennsylvania and turn around once one of the vehicles reached 50% state of charge. Since the outbound trip had a significant elevation climb of around 800 feet, we knew we'd make it back even if we drove a little past the 50% point because our consumption rate in the second half of the trip would be better.
The Lightning reached its 50% state of charge level first after driving 126 miles and at that point, the R1T's battery was at 56%, comfortably ahead of the Lightning.
We rolled back to the original starting point after driving 255.7 miles in four hours and 15 minutes with 1% state of charge and three miles of estimated range on the Lightning. The R1T was the clear winner and ended the same course with 15% of its battery remaining and 49 miles of estimated range.
Since roughly 90% of this test was done at highway speeds (65 mph to 80 mph) we suspect the R1T's better aerodynamics and Conserve driving mode were the main deciding factors. Conserve mode decouples the two rear motors and only utilizes the two front motors. Unlike some other similar ECO-mode drive systems, the R1T will not energize the rear motors when in Conserve mode, even under full throttle.
The R1T also lowers its suspension in Conserve mode, further reducing aero drag. The Lightning doesn't have an eco-driving mode or an adjustable air suspension, therefore, it cannot be lowered on the highway to reduce drag.
So check out the video and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.