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Most trips will probably be within a few hundred miles but we plan a cross country trip in the first year after we get the Lightning.
I can't wait to hear about it. I am looking into some travel trailers around that weight. I am hoping that the 300 mile range includes 1k lbs already, so the towing isn't 50% of that number.
 

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Here's another case of real-world testing of towing behind an R1T


How Far Can You Tow With an Electric Truck?
We put 9,000 pounds on the hitch of a Rivian R1T for more than 150 miles to find out how towing affects range.




Scott EvansWriterWilliam WalkerPhotographer
Dec 15, 2021
As more and more types of vehicles become electrified, a persistent question has hung over all-electric pickup trucks: What happens when you tow? Now that the first mass-production, long-range, all-electric pickup truck—the 2021 Rivian R1T—is on the market, we can find out.


With more than 100 years of gas- and diesel-powered towing on the books, the world is pretty familiar with what happens when you put a trailer on the hitch. Fuel economy while towing is, compared to driving around empty, abysmal. Pulling thousands of extra pounds, especially at freeways speeds, takes a lot of extra fuel. The same applies to battery-powered vehicles, which today don't have the luxury of a gas station at every freeway exit.

Although we've towed with electric SUVs in the past, they could only give us a general idea of what to expect. SUVs just can't tow as much as full-size pickups and aren't really intended to on a regular basis, anyway. Pickups, though, need to be able to fully utilize their beds and tow hitches day in and day out if the owner demands it. Their owners, in turn, need to know what the vehicle's real-world limits are, so we hitched up a 9,000-pound trailer to a new Rivian R1T during our Truck of the Year competition to find out.

2022 Rivian R1T 82



The Truck And Trailer
Our R1T was a Launch Edition equipped with the standard 135-kWh battery and 21-inch road wheel and tire package, EPA-rated at 314 miles of range. Our trailer was a flat tilt-bed car hauler loaded with the Dirt Every Day Chevrolet Astro van we stole out of the company storage lot, with the van itself loaded with 16 100-pound horse stall mats for ballast. In total, the trailer weighed 8,992 pounds and was hitched to our 7,134-pound R1T for a gross combined weight of 16,135 pounds. All R1Ts have a maximum conventional towing rating of 11,000 pounds, and the company claims pulling that load will cut your range by 50 percent to roughly 159 miles.

Test Run
Before we hit the open road with the truck loaded up to 82 percent of its maximum towing capability, we needed to get a feel for how it tows. Weighing over 7,000 pounds empty, we didn't expect it to get pushed around by the trailer, but that can depend on more than just weight, and you never know how a vehicle is going to tow until you try it.

Closed-course testing revealed the R1T to be very stable while towing the trailer loaded to 7,500 pounds. The air springs and cross-linked hydraulic anti-roll bars did an excellent job of countering the forces applied by the trailer while cornering, accelerating, and braking. The body control lent a feeling of solidity and confidence while towing.

Instrumented testing revealed the truck was still able to accelerate to 60 mph from a stop in 7.5 seconds, only 4.4 seconds slower than unladen. For safety reasons, we don't measure emergency stopping with a trailer, but we did find Rivian's integration of the trailer brake controller into the instrument cluster and steering wheel controls well-executed and easy to use.

2022 Rivian R1T 73


Easing In
Real-world testing is different than a proving ground, so to get an idea of how public roads, traffic, and hills would affect the R1T while towing, we started with a short 39-mile run from California City, California, up to Tehachapi, with the trailer loaded up to its full 8,992-pound test weight. Average speeds would be somewhat high thanks to a route of mostly desert back roads and state highways. All vehicles with trailers are legally limited to 55 mph in California, so we stuck to the speed limit for this first leg (much to the frustration of every other vehicle with a trailer on that stretch of highway).

More important, the elevation gain between the two cities is 1,942 feet, climbing from 2,018 to 3,960 feet, putting extra strain on the truck and its battery.

Starting with a full battery, we hit the road. It didn't take long to appreciate an electric truck's greatest towing advantage: instant torque. Whether leaving a stop, passing a slower truck, or going up a hill, the R1T always has way more power than it needs to quickly and safely get the job done, even with nearly 9,000 pounds on the hitch. Likewise, altitude had zero effect on the truck's performance.

Putting the truck into Towing mode automatically revises your estimated range, which is itself based on how you've been driving lately. We weren't surprised, then, to see our range drop from nearly 300 miles in default All Purpose mode to less than 200. Thirty-nine miles later, we arrived with 136 miles of range remaining and the battery at 55 percent. Assuming the rate of energy usage remained about the same, that would give us a total range of 175 miles, or 56 percent of its EPA-rated range. This is slightly better than Rivian's guidance, which is impressive considering the second half of the drive was all uphill.

The Big Tow Test
After two more days of testing around Tehachapi, it was time for the real test: returning the truck and trailer to Los Angeles. According to Google Maps, the most direct route to our destination was 123 miles. Given how hard we'd been working the truck the past few days, we weren't surprised to see the estimated range drop from 292 miles to 123 miles, but we weren't happy about it, either. That's just 39 percent of the EPA-rated range. And, you know, exactly how far we needed to go.

2022 Rivian R1T 108


The good news was, we'd be losing a total of 3,829 feet in elevation over that drive, dropping from nearly 4,000 feet to just above sea level. The bad news was we'd need to climb over four mountain passes in the process, including one less than 10 miles from the destination when the battery would already be low. It really made us wish we had time to wait for the battery to get all the way to 100 percent, but 97 percent would have to do.

Just to make things more realistic, we decided to ignore the 55-mph towing speed limit. Most people do anyway, and it's not a thing in most states. We felt comfortable cruising in the 65- to 75-mph range with this load.

With a combination of gravity and carefully wielded regenerative braking, we were able to prove the range estimate entirely wrong, and 123 miles later, we glided easily into our destination with 47 miles of range remaining and the battery at 40 percent. Assuming again our energy usage remained about the same, this would indicate an actual range of 170 miles, again in line with Rivian's official guidance.

Trailer unhitched and driving mode switched back to the default All Purpose mode, our estimated range jumped to 90 miles.

The Takeaway
Towing roughly 9,000 pounds with a Rivian R1T reduced our driving range by 45 percent on average, slightly better than Rivian's estimate of a 50 percent reduction when towing the maximum 11,000 pounds the truck is capable of. Our range dropped from an EPA-estimated 314 miles to as low as 170 miles. For context, that's 30 miles farther than a standard Nissan Leaf can cover on a single charge but less than most other EVs.

2022 Rivian R1T 78


For more context, keep in mind your results will vary greatly for all the same reasons they would when towing with a gas- or diesel-powered truck. How far you'll make it on a charge will depend on the weight of your trailer, the shape of your trailer and any load it's carrying, the roads you drive on, the speeds you drive at, and how you drive. Our blocky old van sitting high on a flatbed trailer was an aerodynamic brick, but the majority of our route was a gradual descent from elevation.

Of course, your range is also a function of the public EV charging network. If needed, we could've stopped at a public DC fast charger and juiced up the truck and extended our range significantly. This option currently has drawbacks, though. Unlike gas pumps, EV chargers are almost never built for pull-through traffic, making it difficult to park a vehicle with a trailer at a charger without unhooking the trailer. Second, even the best DC fast charging is still slower than a gas pump. Rivian says you can add 140 miles of range in 20 minutes, and as with all EVs, charging isn't linear, so it'll take more than 20 minutes to add the next 140 miles of range. Regardless, figure an hour to stop and charge, all said and done.

Yes, you can absolutely tow with an electric truck, but at least in the case of the Rivian R1T, expect to lose up to half your driving range as you approach its maximum towing capability, much as you would in a gas- or diesel-powered truck. If you need to tow more than 150 miles, plan to hit a public charger along the way and give yourself ample time to fill up.
 

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So from my perspective the practicality of an electric vehicle boils down to your specific use case. For towing and hauling around town where you can charge in a garage sounds pretty good. But for towing heavy loads across country not so much. Who wants to stop every 150 miles then wait hours to charge? They also noted some challenges with trying to charge at some stations with trailer attached. I don't want to have to unhook my 35 foot 11K travel trailer every time I need to charge up. Much easier to pull into a truck stop and keep on going. With the Excursion and 44 gallons of diesel that is a range of about 400 miles. Hopefully in the near future battery technology will improve so they can match the endurance of an ICE engine.
 

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It's worth watching this video for hints of range reduction. In Kyle Connor's playing with the Sync 4a screens he adds a hypothetical 13,000 pound trailer and the guess-o-meter drops from 270 mile range to 206 miles of range.
 

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It's worth watching this video for hints of range reduction. In Kyle Connor's playing with the Sync 4a screens he adds a hypothetical 13,000 pound trailer and the guess-o-meter drops from 270 mile range to 206 miles of range.
I noticed that, then read a lot of feedback from skeptics (on other forums & fan groups) that the projection was overly optimistic. All I can say is if it's accurate I'll be happy, if not then enroute charging plans are something to deal with and I do have a plan.
 

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I think the Rivian trailer test posted above is more applicable. The video you post is similar to the "trailer behind a Tesla model _" videos. The aerodynamic impact of towing a trailer behind a truck (think smooth-cornered brick) is rather different than towing a trailer behind a suppository.
 

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It's worth watching this video for hints of range reduction. In Kyle Connor's playing with the Sync 4a screens he adds a hypothetical 13,000 pound trailer and the guess-o-meter drops from 270 mile range to 206 miles of range.
I saw this and this gives me hope that 300 mile range they've noted (I don't care if they included 1000 pounds or not) truly could mean 300 miles, not 220 due to cold, wet, windy roads. I'm hoping they are trying to put real world calculations into that number.

You get two very different numbers out of a Tesla. You get your "gas gauge" - how much juice is in the battery. That is the one that so many point to be misleading, it is simply current value, just like a gas gauge on an ICE. However, if you use the Nav and put in a destination, that gives you real world driving and takes into account many things, it is realistic and gives you arrival charge and charging stops.

I'm hoping that Ford wants to always give you a real world number based on driving in that number shown.
 
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I saw this and this gives me hope that 300 mile range they've noted (I don't care if they included 1000 pounds or not) truly could mean 300 miles, not 220 due to cold, wet, windy roads. I'm hoping they are trying to put real world calculations into that number.

You get two very different numbers out of a Tesla. You get your "gas gauge" - how much juice is in the battery. That is the one that so many point to be misleading, it is simply current value, just like a gas gauge on an ICE. However, if you use the Nav and put in a destination, that gives you real world driving and takes into account many things, it is realistic and gives you arrival charge and charging stops.

I'm hoping that Ford wants to always give you a real world number based on driving in that number shown.
You have the same thing in Ford's system in the Mustang Mach E.

The Guess-o-Meter (GOM) knows nothing about where you are going, how fast you will travel, or what you are hauling. Ford has intentionally made their GOM very conservative to reduce the chance you will have trouble making it to a destination within that range.

Navigation is the way to find out your real world expected range under current conditions.

Ford has been very good at underpromising and overdelivering on range under mild weather conditions. You can expect it will make 300 miles under mild weather conditions. Higher speed will reduce range. Cold or precipitation both will reduce range. Realistically, a high-speed highway trip under cold conditions may reduce your range by as much as 30%.
 

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You have the same thing in Ford's system in the Mustang Mach E.

The Guess-o-Meter (GOM) knows nothing about where you are going, how fast you will travel, or what you are hauling. Ford has intentionally made their GOM very conservative to reduce the chance you will have trouble making it to a destination within that range.

Navigation is the way to find out your real world expected range under current conditions.

Ford has been very good at underpromising and overdelivering on range under mild weather conditions. You can expect it will make 300 miles under mild weather conditions. Higher speed will reduce range. Cold or precipitation both will reduce range. Realistically, a high-speed highway trip under cold conditions may reduce your range by as much as 30%.
Thanks for the real world from the Mach E, that unfortunately doesn't give me the hope I was looking for.
 

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You have the same thing in Ford's system in the Mustang Mach E.

The Guess-o-Meter (GOM) knows nothing about where you are going, how fast you will travel, or what you are hauling. Ford has intentionally made their GOM very conservative to reduce the chance you will have trouble making it to a destination within that range.

Navigation is the way to find out your real world expected range under current conditions.

Ford has been very good at underpromising and overdelivering on range under mild weather conditions. You can expect it will make 300 miles under mild weather conditions. Higher speed will reduce range. Cold or precipitation both will reduce range. Realistically, a high-speed highway trip under cold conditions may reduce your range by as much as 30%.
I am going to say 50%...if it's really cold out...that's based on my Kona Electric, that also has a heat pump...but once you get into -20C, the Aux heat system will kick in and then lay in snow and speed....and that range will be cut down significantly. I think the EPA needs to adjust their labels for EVs to provide an estimated range based on at least...temperature....otherwise you will have many folks getting surprised with this.
 

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I am going to say 50%...if it's really cold out...that's based on my Kona Electric, that also has a heat pump...but once you get into -20C, the Aux heat system will kick in and then lay in snow and speed....and that range will be cut down significantly. I think the EPA needs to adjust their labels for EVs to provide an estimated range based on at least...temperature....otherwise you will have many folks getting surprised with this.
I don't disagree on the EPA, but you get the same thing on ICE. All mileage is an estimate based on their archaic methods. However, at least all are done the same way and rarely match real world. The whole system needs to be revamped, but no one will ever agree on just how - to make it realistic and fare across the board.

The key, is just like an ICE in bad or towing conditions you made that adjustment in your head and you know it to be true, we just have to do the same for an EV - we know more than enough already in general. I've not seen any EV lose 50% just to cold, but maybe with multiple conditions I guess. Bottom line is real world will never match EPA. You can't model it all.
 
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I am going to say 50%...if it's really cold out...that's based on my Kona Electric, that also has a heat pump...but once you get into -20C, the Aux heat system will kick in and then lay in snow and speed....and that range will be cut down significantly. I think the EPA needs to adjust their labels for EVs to provide an estimated range based on at least...temperature....otherwise you will have many folks getting surprised with this.
Based on my experience with the Mustang Mach E I think the Lightning will lose less than 50% of its range due to cold. My experience and that of others indicate it has been more like 30%.

Even though the Kona has a heat pump, Hyundai EVs are notorious for severe range reduction due to cold. I just heard an InsideEVs episode today and apparently that is a problem with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 as well.

The good news is you won't just have to do the adjustments in your head. Weather is part of what the trip computer will consider and adjust your range and charging stops accordingly.
 

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Based on my experience with the Mustang Mach E I think the Lightning will lose less than 50% of its range due to cold. My experience and that of others indicate it has been more like 30%.

Even though the Kona has a heat pump, Hyundai EVs are notorious for severe range reduction due to cold. I just heard an InsideEVs episode today and apparently that is a problem with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 as well.

The good news is you won't just have to do the adjustments in your head. Weather is part of what the trip computer will consider and adjust your range and charging stops accordingly.
hmmmmm that's weird...many sources indicate the opposite of your statement i.e. the Kona is one of the best for winter driving - here's just one example, but I can pull 10 more:
 

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hmmmmm that's weird...many sources indicate the opposite of your statement i.e. the Kona is one of the best for winter driving - here's just one example, but I can pull 10 more:
I must have misunderstood the story I heard this morning. I stand corrected.

So what makes you think the Lightning will do so poorly?
 

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Mostly data from Mach E owners…but batteries really don’t work well in extreme cold temps. Once you throw in heat, speed and snow covered roads, things get pretty bleak…
Virtually a non-issue in a Tesla Model Y. Snow covered roads, ice, cold, it is enough of a non-issue that we don't even think about it, so not really aware on how much range drop. Not much, that's for sure.
 

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Mostly data from Mach E owners…but batteries really don’t work well in extreme cold temps. Once you throw in heat, speed and snow covered roads, things get pretty bleak…
Is this based on actual driving performance or GOM readings? The Mach E GOM is quite conservative. However, actual range loss is more like 30%.
 

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Virtually a non-issue in a Tesla Model Y. Snow covered roads, ice, cold, it is enough of a non-issue that we don't even think about it, so not really aware on how much range drop. Not much, that's for sure.
not true in extreme weather…Teslas can loose between 40-60% range the same way, not much different than my Kona!

and let’s not even get started on the multiple heat pump failures going on with Tesla in extreme weather - I have a friend with a Model 3 that stopped driving it all together for fear of getting caught in -35C without heat.
 
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