Why Is the Rivian R1T So Much Heavier Than the Ford F-150 Lightning?
The electric revolution has hit the truck market, and two pickups — the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T — are in cutthroat competition. These EVs have tremendous capabilities and impressive specs. Although most consumers don’t consider curb weight when shopping for a vehicle, it affects performance. So, why is the Rivian R1T so much heavier than the Ford F-150 Lightning?
How heavy is the 2023 Rivian R1T compared to the Ford F-150 Lightning?
The Rivian R1T weighs 7,148 pounds. According to Ford, three 2023 F-150 Lightning trims — Pro, XLT, and Lariat — weigh 6,015 pounds, and the Platinum trim is 6,893 pounds. That’s 878 pounds heavier than the lower-level trims.
Although the R1T is a smaller truck — a foot shorter than the F-150 — it weighs over 1,000 pounds more than the three F-150 trims and over 250 pounds more than the Platinum.
Why is the Rivian R1T heavier than the Ford F-150 Lightning?
Electric trucks are generally heavier than their gas-powered counterparts. There are a few reasons why the R1T is heavier than the F-150, but the most significant factor is the battery pack. EV battery packs can be pretty heavy. Even for a smaller Tesla Model 3, the battery makes up nearly a quarter of the vehicle’s weight. So the bigger the battery, the heavier the vehicle.
Rivian dropped its biggest battery — 180 kWh — into the R1T to deliver over 400 miles of range. Car and Driver reviewers say the 2023 R1T can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in only three seconds, making it the quickest acceleration in a truck they’ve tested. However, the huge battery gives the R1T a curb weight of 7,148 pounds.
The 2023 F-150 Lighting has a smaller 98-kWh battery than the R1T. Ford says this battery delivers a driving range of 230 miles on the base model. Opting for the Platinum brings a bigger battery with 300 miles driving range but adds considerable weight to this 6,893-pound truck — only 255 pounds lighter than the R1T.
A bigger battery shell adds weight to the R1T
Car batteries can explode if punctured. So manufacturers often use heavy-duty metals to create protective shells. Because the R1T has a larger battery than the F-150 Lightning, Rivian uses more metal to encase the battery. That adds to the truck’s weight.
With the overall weight increased due to the battery size and shell, the electric truck needs a stronger body. Both automakers use more robust metals on the body, adding even more weight to the vehicles. Other reasons for the R1T’s heavier weight are its upgraded air suspension system and electronic components, such as charging hardware.
The 2023 Rivian R1T’s weight also affects safety and performance. That extra weight can benefit passengers but be bad for other, lighter vehicles in a collision. In addition, a heavier vehicle typically keeps moving while the more lightweight vehicle changes direction, increasing injury risks to those passengers. However, heavier vehicles also take more braking power to stop.