Rivian R1T – What Can It Tow?

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Before 2018, Rivian was an electric vehicle brand that very few people knew even existed. The reason being, that Rivian had been operating in ‘stealth mode’ since 2009. Yes, while Rivian is technically a start-up company, a lot has been going on behind the scenes for over a decade. Rivian delivered the first R1T vehicles to employees in late 2021. Essentially an electric pickup truck, or as Rivian refers to it, an ‘adventure vehicle’ the R1T has some impressive specs. For instance, the R1T is rated to tow a trailer up to 11,000 lbs.

Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T is rated to tow trailers up to 11,000 lbs: Image – Rivian.com

Key Rivian R1T Specs

  • Official Towing Capacity – 11,000 lbs
  • Availability – Now
  • Price – Starting $73,000 (Dual Motor, Standard Pack) > $94,000 (Dual Motor, Max Pack)
  • EPA Range – 270 Miles (Dual Motor, Standard Pack) > 400 Miles (Dual Motor, Max Pack)
  • Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 135 Miles (Dual Motor, Standard Pack) > 200 Miles (Dual Motor, Max Pack)
  • Maximum DC Charge Rate – 220 kW

Rivian R1T HP & Torque

  • Dual Motor: AWD, 533 HP & 610 lb-ft of torque
  • Dual Motor Performance: AWD, 665 HP & 829 lb-ft of torque
  • Quad Motor: AWD, 835 HP & 908 lb-ft of torque

Electric Tow Car/Truck Database

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Rivian R1T Towing Capabilities

While Rivian may be a start-up that has only just started its first vehicle deliveries, there is good reason to take Rivian seriously with its electric vehicle efforts.

First off, as stated above, they have been developing their skateboard platform since 2009.

Furthermore, Rivian has some serious investment behind them from the likes of Amazon, as you can read about here.

Part of that Amazon deal is for Rivian to produce 10,000 electric delivery trucks to be on the road by 2022, as you can read about here.

Impressive Extreme Weather Towing Tests

If you have read my articles on the likes of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, you will know I get very disappointed with manufacturers not considering towing as a functionality of their vehicles.

However, with Rivian, as you can see below, they have taken the towing capabilities of the R1T seriously with some extreme weather testing in Death Valley.

Rivian hot weather towing test with the R1T and a 30-foot trailer weighing 11,000 lbs

If you want the full details on the R1T towing test, I would recommend reading the full Rivian blog article. Below, I’ll just quickly run through how the test was conducted and how the R1T performed.

So, right at the start of the video, you hear the Rivian guys talking about “1,500 amps for a minute or two straight”. The point they’re making is towing, and especially towing in those extreme conditions, really puts the battery and its cooling system to the test.

Rivian conducted the towing test in the R1T over the Davis Dam Cycle, which is effectively the test to prove the towing credentials of a vehicle.

The test was not only to see how the battery management/cooling system held up but to see if the car at the same time maintained a reasonable cabin temperature.

Rivian even tested how the R1T would perform towing over the Dumont Sands. I don’t believe many people would/should try towing with any vehicle over sand.

However, its good to see that Rivian is really trying to test the R1T to its limits to see what its actually capable of in the real world.

R1T Towing Consumption/Range Figures

Within the Rivian towing test video above there are no specifics on battery consumption per mile or detailed range figures while towing.

However, within the blog article, it is stated that “We generally see about a 50% reduction in range when towing at full capacity.

That 50% range reduction is to be typically expected when towing with an EV, though it can be more or less depending on the specific trailer in terms of its weight/aerodynamic profile and also the terrain/elevation changes.

If Rivian did record a 50% range reduction with that particular 30-foot/11,000 lb trailer in those extreme hot weather towing tests, I find that very impressive.

That boxy cargo trailer has pretty much the worst aerodynamic profile you can have on a trailer.

Hence, factoring in the high temperatures, just a 50% range reduction would actually be very efficient. However, below, we now also have our first example of real-world towing with the Rivian R1T.

Rivian R1T Real-World Towing Example

In late 2021, Rivian started their first deliveries of the R1T to employee reservation holders.

One of those employees relocated from one side of the US to the other, and they decided to take their Mustang along for the ride.

Below is a video from the Fast Lane Truck summarizing the journey from Instagram posts that were made. The total weight of the trailer with the Mustang on the back appears to have been around 6,500 lbs.

The first real-world example of a Rivian R1T towing a pretty heavy trailer with a Mustang on the back

The owners towed with the R1T a total of 2,700 miles using the Electrify America rapid charging network. Hence this was an extensive test of not only the truck’s capabilities but also a test of the rapid charging facilities.

It appears the owners were driving around 100 miles between rapid charging sessions. While the Rivian, from full to empty can likely tow closer to 157 miles, you wouldn’t use the truck that way.

The couple were stopping at around 16% charge and leaving the rapid charger at around 80% charge.

What is also discussed in the video above is the current issue with DC rapid charging stations not being designed for an electric car/truck to use when towing (blocking other chargers).

This issue needs to be resolved at all DC rapid charging stations to provide longer drive-through charging bays.

Rivian R1T Ownership Review

My Thoughts On The Rivian R1T…

I think the Rivian R1T has a lot of potential to be an excellent electric car/truck, but particularly as an electric tow car/truck.

Yes, the R1T will face tough competition from the Tesla Cybertuck in many regards, which will potentially be cheaper, have a higher towing capacity and have access to the widely available Supercharger Network.

However, not everybody wants to own a Tesla, and many people are not fans of the looks of the Cybertruck.

Therefore, the Rivian R1T is good competition. It will appeal to those who are interested in a more ‘normal’ looking’ electric truck that is still very capable, especially when it comes to towing.

Yes, the current version of the Rivian R1T, as shown in the real-world example video above, currently needs to stop for charging around 100-130 miles, but that was with a pretty heavy trailer.

Longer range (Max Pack) Rivian vehicles are already set to be coming, which should push the towing range closer to 200 miles.

Electric Tow Car/Truck Database

  • Search/compare all new BEV & PHEV electric tow cars/trucks
  • Review real-world towing test results

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