Which Electric Pickup Truck Has the Smallest Range Penalty When Towing a Trailer?

Ford F-150 Lightning 6 photos
Photo: Ford
Ford F-150 LightningGMC Hummer EVGMC Hummer EVRivian R1T takes on Ike GauntletRivian R1T
Towing a trailer using an electric pickup truck is known to cut the range in half, but surely there must be differences. Journalists at Car and Driver put the three electric pickups available now on the market to a towing test involving a 29-foot, 6100-pound camper trailer.
This is a scenario most pickup truck owners are very familiar with. Pickups are mainly bought for heavy-lifting around the farms or construction sites. Still, sometimes they are used as recreational vehicles or for towing a camper. Either way, towing and hauling are bread and butter for pickup trucks. It’s interesting to know how the new breed of electric trucks can handle such chores.

That’s why the journalists at Car and Driver took the time and tested the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning, and GMC Hummer while towing a 29-foot (8.84-m) camper that weighs 6,100 pounds (1,859 kg). The test involved pulling the trailer on an 85-F (29-C) summer day on a flat highway loop at 70 mph (113 kph), with the air conditioning set to 72 F (22 C). The test was carried on until the battery was depleted. It’s not precisely what average families would do with camper trailers when going on vacation, but good enough for the purpose.

All three trucks are well-suited for towing, thanks to their powerful electric motors. They are also capable, at least on paper, with the Rivian boasting an 11,000-pound maximum towing capacity. The Lightning came in second, with 10,000 pounds, while the GMC still offers a respectable 7,500-pound capacity. The only problem with an electric pickup is the range, and previous tests have shown that towing roughly cuts that in half.

The electric trucks in the test don’t go much further either, with 100 miles (161 km) in the case of the F-150 Lightning, 110 miles (177 km) for the R1T, and 140 miles (225 km) for the Hummer. This was expected, considering the different battery capacities of the three pickups. The GMC Hummer incurred a lower range penalty, with almost half the highway range of the solo truck at 75 mph (121 kph). At the other end of the scale, the Ford F-150 Lightning dropped from 230 miles (370 km) to only 100 miles.

This is not much different from what happens with an ICE pickup truck. Still, unlike those, electric pickups don’t enjoy the same convenience as refueling a gas tank. Consider that most charging stations are not designed for use with a trailer, and you see that towing with an electric pickup is still a complicated endeavor. Not impossible, by all means, but hardly practical.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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