If you’re a fan of any electric pickup trucks coming out, you’ve probably seen their towing capacity. While it matches up to standard gas-powered options, for the most part, there are other things to consider. When towing, gas pickups lose fuel economy, so do their electric variants lose driving range? How far can electric trucks drive while towing? KBB compiled the tests of a few publications to determine true EV capability using the Rivian R1T and Toyota Tundra.
Testing how far the Rivian R1T electric truck can tow
Firstly, KBB used the tests of Fast Lane Truck, which conducted some tests on the Rivian R1T to see how long it could drive while towing. It went up against a fully fueled 2022 Toyota Tundra with full battery life to see which could make it further. Each one was tasked with towing a 2,000-pound camping trailer. Both can tow much more weight, but this is the type of trailer most people end up pulling with their pickups.
Firstly, the R1T tested has an electric driving range of 280 miles without towing anything. While pulling the camping trailer, it traveled 153 miles, but the driver stopped with 9 miles of range left. Only a few more miles were likely possible, but roughly 153 is significantly lower than the actual driving range. How does that compare to a non-electric pickup?
The 2022 Toyota Tundra pulling the same camping trailer went the same distance and used only 32.5% of its fuel. In conclusion, the Tundra can travel triple the distance, pulling 2,000 pounds that a Rivian R1T can while pulling the same.
Another electric pickup truck towing test
No one can be sure after only a single test, and thankfully MotorTrend conducted its own. Late last year, MT used a Rivian R1T with a full 314-mile driving range for its test. In addition, the publication pushed the R1T to its limit, using almost the entirety of its 11,000-pound towing capacity. According to MT, “the truck accelerated to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds, even pulling a load.” That’s quite impressive as far as moving quickly while towing goes, but what about distance?
Fortunately, the Rivian truck’s computer gives drivers an estimate of how far it can travel with the load attached. The estimate was 123 miles, but MT had 47 miles left when it reached that point. The testers claimed that the Rivian R1T towed exceptionally well in short distances, stating “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.” Lastly, altitude is said to not affect towing performance whatsoever, which is a relief.
Are electric pickup trucks ready to replace gas-powered models?
For many things, like a daily commute, electric pickups are undoubtedly ready to replace your pickup with awful fuel economy. However, at least for things like towing, EVs aren’t ready just yet. Especially when many people tow a trailer to a campground, boat ramp, or another place where charging stations won’t be available, losing that much range can be detrimental, and towing impacts the Rivian R1T tremendously, other electric truck options might be better, like the Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevy Silverado EV. We’ll have to wait to determine how much distance these models lose while towing. We’d avoid electric trucks if you plan to do a lot of towing for now.