Watch The Rivian R1T Take On Tough Towing Test

Video / 13 Comments

Can the all-electric pickup truck really be used as a towing machine? The answer is not straightforward.

Newcomer Rivian has taken the electric pickup truck segment by storm. We recently saw the all-electric R1T absolutely destroy the Ram 1500 TRX on the drag strip and now the same people who organized that race have given the Rivian another challenge.

Rivian says that its R1T can tow up to 11,000 pounds but as the guys from The Fast Lane Truck YouTube channel have found out, there's more to it than meets the eye. For almost a decade, the team has run what they call the world's toughest towing test and the Rivian is the latest contender. Will range be a concern?

The electric R1T is fitted with a Gen-Y tow hitch fitted with a weight distribution attachment, as recommended by Rivian for trailers weighing over 5,000 lbs. Switching over to trailer mode, the range reduces drastically to just 135 miles on a full charge. A Ford F-100 sits on the rear, adding extra weight.

The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube

Covering just 27 miles, the Rivian used 27% of its battery while towing. With 43 miles to go on the route towards Colorado's Ike Gauntlet, this is a worry. As the Rivian climbs, it uses a further 13% of battery charge in just five miles. Mercifully, the electric pick-up arrives at the start of the Gauntlet with 18% charge left.

At 11,158 feet, the Ike Gauntlet stands tall in Colorado's skies. The test is brutal, sending the Rivian down an eight-mile stretch with a 7% grade. This is where the Rivian can, at least, regain energy via regenerative braking. With the battery now reading an alarming 15% (19 miles to empty), the R1T sets off.

The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube

Regenerative braking means the driver doesn't have to touch the brakes but, despite the considerable decline, the R1T gains just 2% extra charge and an additional four miles of range. Playing it safe, they elect to charge the Rivian at a nearby EV charging station. Plugged in for 27 minutes, the battery is topped up to 53% with around 78 miles of range.

But the Rivian still has to face its toughest challenge yet. Going uphill, the driver sets the cruise control to 60 mph to maintain speed on the challenging incline. Curiously, it disengages, with a warning flashing up on the dashboard: "cruise control unavailable right now." Amusingly, the R1T still out-accelerates the Ram 1500 TRX support vehicle, despite its hefty load.

The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube
The Fast Lane Truck/Youtube

At the end, the Rivian covers the eight miles in the same number of minutes. Following its mid-journey battery top-up, the Rivian used 16% of its battery on the final stretch. Despite the challenges facing the Rivian in the towing test, the all-electric R1T's performance is a bit of a mixed bag. "Some great news and, of course, the range was the negative news," says the presenter.

"There were moments when I forgot I was towing. It was so stable, so incredibly quiet and comfortable. It's a great towing platform." It seems, then, the Rivian may struggle to rival its internal combustion-engined rivals when it comes to arduous tasks such as towing. While it performed exceptionally well, range anxiety dictated a necessary charging session which does take long - something delivery drivers cannot necessarily afford.

But as battery technology improves, we're sure electric pick-up trucks will boast even more impressive capability. If towing isn't really a priority for you, just know the R1T is still an exceptional off-road performer.

2022 Rivian R1T Truck Front-End View Rivian
2022 Rivian R1T Truck Aft View Rivian
2022 Rivian R1T Truck Front View Driving Rivian
2022 Rivian R1T Truck Side Perspective Driving Rivian

Join The Discussion



Related Cars

To Top