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The 2023 F-150 Lightning is Ford’s electric version of its popular full-size truck. But like many other EVs, the Lightning still has a long road ahead. Recent issues prompted Ford to halt F-150 Lightning production. So it’s no surprise the Blue Oval’s electric pickup can’t catch its biggest rival, the Rivian R1T, in sales. Here’s a look at what’s happening.

Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning sales figures are telling

2023 Rivian R1T sales vs Ford F-150 Lightning sales
2023 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Cox Automotive reported the latest EV sales numbers, and it’s not great news for the Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford began delivering the truck in the spring of 2022, so it’s not possible to compare its year-over-year sales. But overall, production of the electric truck was slow, as the Detroit-based automaker delivered only 254 F-150 Lightning units in all of 2022.

Production and deliveries picked up in the first quarter of 2023, when Ford sold just under 4,300 F-150 Lightning trucks. Meanwhile, the Rivian R1T has been in production longer. However, supply chain issues have caused long delays for the startup. Despite those problems, Rivian sold just over 6,200 R1T units in the first quarter of 2023. 

That’s a massive improvement over the same time last year. In the first quarter of 2022, Rivian sold about 1,200 units of its electric truck. That means that year-over-year, Rivian has ramped up R1T sales by over 400%, and it’s selling almost 2,000 more units than Ford is selling of the Lightning.

Other EV segments are outselling electric trucks

Regardless, both the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning are being outsold by many other EVs, especially electric SUVs. Americans are scooping up plenty of new SUVs, so it’s unsurprising that electric SUVs are selling well too. For example, Ford’s electric crossover, the Mustang Mach-E, has sold over 5,400 units so far this year, far outpacing F-150 Lightning sales.

Other electric SUVs, such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Volkswagen ID.4, are also selling better than both electric trucks. That said, the American EV market is dominated by two entities. The Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV combined for just under 20,000 units sold so far. And then there’s Tesla, responsible for most EV sales. The Tesla Model Y is the most popular EV, selling over 71,000 units so far this year.

How the 2023 Rivian R1T compares to the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

Despite their lower sales numbers than electric SUVs, electric trucks like the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning offer desirable features. However, the R1T bests the F-150 Lightning in several areas.

Although it costs more, the Rivian comes with more features. The R1T starts at about $75,000, while the F-150 Lightning starts at about $56,000. However, both are very capable, especially when equipped with their top options.

The 2023 R1T can harness up to 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque, while the F-150 Lightning maxes out at 580 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque. The R1T’s biggest battery gives it 400 miles of range, while the Lightning’s biggest battery gets 320 miles. Also, the R1T has a max towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, while the Lightning maxes out at 10,000. And the R1T comes with a 16-inch touchscreen, while the Lightning has a 12-inch display.


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