Over the past few weeks, the crew at the Out of Spec Motoring YouTube channel has provided a wealth of great information on the current lineup of EV trucks and their capabilities. While the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning are a fairly known quantity at this point, seeing them compete against the recently released Chevy Silverado EV and Tesla Cybertruck has been interesting to watch. 

In their latest vehicle comparison, four teams get behind the wheel and pit these EV trucks against one another in a coast-to-cost race from Florida to California.

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The EV truck market is growing

EV trucks aim to fill a crucial niche for American buyers. But whether they can hold up to the demands of towing and hauling without losing too much range remains to be seen with several new models. 

In part one of this series, we get a good demonstration of each truck’s capabilities on a long-distance road trip. While each truck has its strengths, they share one major hiccup: various charging issues and limitations. Not even the Cybertruck was able to provide a completely seamless charging experience.

Thanks to a massive battery pack size, the Chevy Silverado EV’s first charging stop came much later than the other trucks. This despite beginning the race 6 miles behind and at a lower state of charge than the rest.

Unfortunately, the Silverado EV can currently only fast charge at CCS stations, limiting the team’s options, although this limitation should soon be lifted as General Motors’ EVs go to the Tesla NACS plug soon. Team Chevy’s first stop was at an Electrify America (EA) station where one of the Hyper Fast units (which peaks at 350 kW) was out of service and the other station was occupied. 

With only four stalls this could have been a major issue. To avoid charging on the slower 150 kW units, the team offered to pay for the other EV driver’s charge if they swapped spots. Additionally, the Silverado ran into an issue where turning on the A/C resulted in charging speed fluctuations. This is likely a software bug that needs to be remedied in future software updates.

EV Truck Race

The Tesla Cybertruck also performed well in the initial leg of this road trip. The team did criticize the Cybertruck’s top charging speed of 250 kW compared to competitors. But they were pleasantly surprised to find the charge curve has improved following earlier complaints.

Because the Cybertruck relies heavily on slippery aerodynamics for range, strong winds and heavy rain impacted efficiency enough that they had to charge earlier than planned.

After stopping, they found the Cybertruck would not initiate a charge. Moving to a different unit did the trick in this case. However, the F-150 pulled up shortly after and successfully charged at the same unit that initially failed for the Cybertruck.

On the next Supercharging stop, this issue occurred again. It seems that the truck was not quite ready to accept a charge immediately after parking. Their solution was to park the vehicle and wait a few seconds before plugging in. Thankfully this is an issue that is unlikely to occur for drivers casually charging their trucks day to day.

The Ford F-150 team noted that they do not trust the truck’s range estimates or the expected battery buffer when driving long distances. They had been stranded by the F-150 not once but twice in the recent past. So they were not willing to run the pack down to 2 or 3% like the other teams. 

With a max charge speed of only 150 kW, the F-150’s charging often seemed erratic on this trip, and they consulted Tom Moloughney for help optimizing future fast charging sessions. They also had to switch units at a Supercharger to hit their max charge speed. 

Like the Cybertruck, the R1T’s efficiency was impacted by the heavy storms in the early part of the race. As a result, they had to reduce their speed early to reach their first charger. At this first stop, they had their EA session cut short after only a minute of charging. This is unfortunately a pretty common occurrence with EA stations.

Despite the charger troubleshooting, every team has made good progress, already trading first place multiple times. We will be keeping an eye on the rest of this series to see which EV truck comes out on top. 

Which one would be your pick in 2024?

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