Ford F-150 Lightning vs. Rivian R1T: Which Electric Truck Should You Get?

The F-150 Lightning is back again as the new Ford electric truck. And after some early teases and a sneak peek by President Biden, the 2022 Lightning has finally been officially unveiled. But its reveal comes right as several electric trucks are about to hit the market, one of the most prominent being the Rivian R1T. So, with the two trucks about to compete for buyers, which is the better choice for you?

How much will the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T cost?

A silver 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum drives through a rain-soaked city at night
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum front 3/4 | Ford

Although the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning can be optioned up to over $90K, the base trim is significantly more affordable. While it’s mostly intended for commercial customers, Car and Driver notes, a base Lightning starts at $39,974 before any EV rebates. That makes it even cheaper than the cheapest F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid.

The next trim up is the XLT, which starts at $52,974 before rebates or destination charges, Autoblog reports. After that is the Lariat; as of this writing, Ford hasn’t released this trim’s pricing details. But we do know the range-topping F-150 Lightning Platinum starts at $90,747 before rebates or destination.

A yellow Rivian R1T parked in front of a house in the forest
Rivian R1T front 3/4 | Rivian

Compared to the Lightning, the Rivian R1T doesn’t have quite as many trim levels. But in terms of price, it falls roughly in the middle of the Ford electric truck’s range. The base R1T Explore starts at $67,500 while the Adventure starts at $75,000. There’s also a limited-edition Launch Edition, but as of this writing, it’s sold out. And if you want the larger battery pack—more on this later—it’s a $10,000 option.

Also, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is cheaper to reserve than the Rivian R1T. Reserving the former costs $100 while the latter costs $1000. However, it might be easier to reserve an R1T than a Lightning. As of this writing, Ford already has 20,000 reservations for its new electric pickup, Autoblog reports, and it plans to limited first-year production. Rivian, though, hasn’t announced any similar plans.

Which electric truck can tow and carry more?

Both the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T will offer buyers multiple battery pack options. And depending on which pack you pick, that changes the horsepower and torque figures, as well as the payload and towing capacities.

With the standard battery, the F-150 Lightning has 426 hp and 775 lb-ft from its dual electric motors. Getting the extended-range battery bumps the power output to 563 hp, The Drive reports. But while the larger battery pack gets you more power, it also weighs more. So, you can tow more, but you can’t carry as much.

A cutaway diagram of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning showing its electric motors and battery pack
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning battery cutaway | Ford

Thus, standard-range F-150 Lightnings can tow up to 7700 pounds and carry up to 2000 pounds. Meanwhile, trucks with the extended-range battery are tow-rated for 10,000 pounds but limited to 1800 pounds of payload.

As for the Rivian R1T, it has four electric motors rather than two and will eventually offer three different battery packs. But for now, only the larger two packs, the 135-kWh and 180-kWh ones are available. However, both have the same horsepower, torque, towing, and payload capacity figures, Roadshow reports. Those figures are 750 hp, 829 lb-ft, 11,000 pounds, and 1764 pounds, respectively.

So, while the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning can carry more than the Rivian R1T, the latter has a higher towing capacity. Plus, it should be faster. Rivian claims the R1T goes 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds. And while President Biden exclaimed, “This sucker’s quick!” when he drove the Lightning prototype, it’s not quite as fast as the Rivian. Ford claims the Lightning goes 0-60 mph “‘in the mid-four second range,'” The Drive reports.

How do the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T compare in terms of range?

Naturally, the different batteries the F-150 Lightning and R1T offer come with different ranges. But overall, Rivian’s electric truck has the edge.

With the standard battery, Ford’s electric truck has an estimated 230 miles of range. The extended-range battery bumps that up to 300 miles, Car and Driver reports. Meanwhile, Rivian claims its smallest battery offers at least 230 miles of range, with the 130-kWh pack offering a claimed 300-mile range. And the 180-kWh pack grants the R1T an estimated 400-mile range.

Plus, it appears Rivian’s charging network offers slightly faster recharging speeds than the public Level 2 chargers the Lightning uses, Car and Driver notes. However, Ford plans on offering a significantly faster home charger to cut down on recharge times.

What kind of features and off-road specs do they offer?

Rivian has consistently highlighted the R1T’s off-road capabilities. In addition to AWD, the electric truck has a wading depth of over three feet, as well as approach, departure, and breakover angles of 34°, 29.3°, and 25.7°, respectively. Plus, thanks to its standard height-adjustable air suspension, it has a maximum ground clearance of 14.9”.

As of this writing, Ford hasn’t released all of its electric truck’s off-road details. But we do know that the 2022 F-150 Lightning has 8.9” of ground clearance, Autoblog reports, as well as multiple metal skid plates. And unlike the R1T, it has 4WD, rather than AWD. It doesn’t have standard air suspension, but it does have independent rear suspension, like the other F-150 models. And its battery pack is fully waterproof.

Workers at a home construction site run power tools and store items in a silver 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT frunk storage and power outlets | Ford

RELATED: The 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum Trim’s Swankiest Features

What the F-150 Lightning lacks in on-paper off-road capability, though, it makes for in utility. Like the PowerBoost models, it has a built-in generator and multiple power outlets. But, while other F-150s only have bed-mounted outlets, the Lightning has them in its bed and ‘frunk.’ And the truck automatically detects if there’s been a power outage if it’s plugged into your home charger. At that point, the generator can power your home for up to three days.

Plus, the F-150 Lightning has onboard scales to measure its payload, Road & Track notes. And its bed is roughly a foot longer than the R1T’s bed.

Campers next to a silver Rivian R1T with a bed-mounted tent and a slide-out camp kitchen
Rivian R1T with slide-out camp kitchen and bed-mounted tent | Rivian

However, it’s not like the Rivian R1T is barren in comparison. Like the F-150 Lightning, it has multiple power outlets and ADAS features, parking assist, WiFi, and a frunk. But in addition to the air suspension, the R1T has a ‘gear tunnel’ that can double as a storage space for the optional slide-out camp kitchen. And while a panoramic glass roof is standard for now, Rivian claims a removable roof option will be available in the future.

Which is the one to get?

As of this writing, neither the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning nor the Rivian R1T is available in dealers. Ford plans to start shipping its electric truck in spring 2022. Meanwhile, Launch Edition R1Ts will reportedly ship in June 2021, with the Adventure and Explore models shipping in January 2022. That’s also when the 180-kWh R1Ts will ship.

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Considering a well-optioned F-150 Lightning costs roughly the same as an R1T, choosing between the two largely depends on personal preference. If you plan on doing a lot of off-roading, the Rivian is the more logical choice. But if you need a work truck, the Lightning is the truck to buy.

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