Electric Vehicles Dominate Gas-Powered Ones for Off-Road Action

When one thinks about the ideal vehicle for off-road adventures, models like the Ford F-150 Raptor, Ram 1500 TRX, Jeep Wrangler, and Land Rover Defender come to mind. With the exception of the 4xe plug-in hybrid variant of the Wrangler and a mild-hybrid version of the Defender, all of these vehicles are fully gas-powered. However, as the Rivian R1T electric truck shows, an electric vehicle is superior to a gas-powered vehicle for off-road action. 

Off-Roading: Is an electric vehicle better than a gas-powered one?

Silver Rivian R1T electric truck driving on a dirt road
Rivian R1T | Rivian

The Rivian R1T, which caters to outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, woke up many people to the off-road possibilities of electric vehicles. However, this should come as no surprise. The demands of off-road use require a great deal of torque and quick acceleration. These are big advantages that electric vehicles have over internal combustion engine (ICE) gas-powered ones.

Advantages of electric vehicles for off-road use

Blue Rivian R1T parked in a forest
Rivian R1T | Rivian

Electric motors have greater capabilities to generate higher torque and more rapid acceleration than a traditional internal combustion engine. Also, an effective all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system is a must for off-road travel. With its four electric motors, the Rivian R1T can channel torque as needed to each wheel for optimum traction on rough terrain. 

Another important thing for off-road vehicles is high ground clearance. With electric motors not taking up as much space as a gasoline engine, an electric vehicle offers greater possibilities for its layout. This includes creating more ground clearance. The Rivian R1T, with its air suspension, can raise and lower for different situations. For off-road use, the ground clearance maxes out at 14.9 inches. For when you want to load your gear into the R1T, you can lower the ground clearance to 7.9 inches. 

Rivan R1T vs. Ram 1500 TRX: Off-road truck comparison

Red 2021 Ram 1500 TRX driving on sandy terrain
2021 Ram 1500 TRX | Ram

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After a recent test drive of the Rivian R1T, MotorTrend compared the electric truck to the Ram 1500 TRX. Prior to driving the Rivian R1T, the Ram 1500 TRX would have been the pick for off-road use. However, driving the R1T changed that perspective. 

The TRX is very quick, with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.5 seconds. That’s hard to beat, right? Not so fast — pardon the pun. The R1T easily tops that with a 0-60 mph time of only three seconds. 

The TRX has a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. With an output of 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, this is the most powerful engine available in a gas-powered production pickup truck. However, this doesn’t even come close to the output of the R1T’s four electric motors, which dole out 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque.

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The higher torque output is especially useful for off-road use, for it enables the R1T to more powerfully accelerate when navigating bumpy and rocky terrain and ruts on the ground. Also, the torque delivery of an electric vehicle is more smooth than an ICE gas-powered one like the TRX. This results in smoother acceleration. With the TRX, you’ll get plenty of torque, but it is more difficult to control.

Also, compared to the R1T, you have to do more work when driving off-road with a gas-powered vehicle. While you can gently ride the accelerator in the R1T when navigating challenging terrain, you often have to keep your foot on the brake pedal with the TRX.

Are you ready to go electric for your off-road adventures? Once you do, you may have a hard time ever going back to a gas-powered vehicle.

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