By MILES BRANMAN
Electrified vehicles are random in their car expansion. First it was hatchbacks and sedans, then SUVs. Next: the pickup. Electric variants of light-duty pickups are being developed by a number of car manufacturers, but one electric truck is already on sale: the all-new Rivian R1T.
Coming from this up-and-coming American company, the R1T boasts an impressive range, sparkling performance and innovative features. But how does it compare to a conventional truck? Edmunds compares the new R1T to one of his top-rated trucks, the Ram 1500, to find out.
DRIVELINES AND FUEL COSTS
The Rivian R1T produces a whopping 835 horsepower thanks to four electric motors, one at each wheel. That power arrives instantly, helping the R1T go from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds during Edmunds’ testing. For now, this is the only R1T configuration available. Charging can be done at home or at public fast-charging stations, and the EPA estimates that it only costs an average of $950 in electricity to drive for a year.
Ram gives you more powertrain choices. There is a base 305 horsepower V6, a 260 horsepower turbodiesel V6, a 395 horsepower V8 and, for the top TRX trim only, a 702 horsepower supercharged V8. The TRX is the fastest of the bunch, sprinting to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. But it’s also a gas guzzler, costing an estimated $6,250 a year to fill up. The most economical Ram 1500 is one with its diesel engine, but it costs about three times more to fill up than the R1T.
DRAG AND REACH
Currently, Rivian offers the R1T with a large battery pack, with an EPA estimated 314 miles, or a Max battery that is good for about 400 miles. Edmunds conducts its own real-world range test, and we were able to drive a test truck with the large battery for 500 miles on a full charge.
This is plenty of range for an EV, but it’s still a laggard compared to the Ram 1500. A rear-wheel drive model with the diesel engine could potentially get about 1,000 highway miles with the optional 33-gallon tank. That said, at current national diesel prices, that fill up would cost you about $165.
Towing will also be easier with the Ram 1500. It has a higher maximum towing capacity when properly equipped—12,750 pounds compared to the R1T’s 11,000 pounds—and is better suited for long hauls due to faster and less hassle fueling.
Winner: Ram 1500
STYLE AND COMFORT
With pickups filling the role of a single vehicle for more families, it’s not enough for a truck to pull and tow competitively – it also needs to be refined. Rivian bills its R1T as an all-rounder that’s bigger than a Toyota Tacoma but smaller than the full-size Ram 1500. The design is futuristic, while the cabin is clean and luxurious. The R1T runs quietly with no combustion rumble, though it has a firmer ride quality than some competitors.
The Ram 1500 helped pioneer the modern luxury pickup. With an aerodynamic aesthetic and attention to detail, the 1500 exudes politeness. Inside, the Ram offers generous passenger volume and plush seats. Ride quality is arguably best-in-class and cabin volume is understated. The smaller Rivian is easier to maneuver and more distinctive, but the Ram is more comfortable. This one is right.
VALUE AND WARRANTY
Like many startups in the auto industry, Rivian offers its most expensive model first. Customers can order a standard battery, dual motor R1T for $67,500, though deliveries of this configuration are not scheduled until 2024. If you want one sooner, the quad bike will cost at least $85,000. All R1Ts are well equipped with vegan leather seats and a 16-inch infotainment screen. They are also backed by a long five-year/60,000-mile powertrain and eight-year/175,000-mile powertrain warranties.
The least expensive Ram 1500, the Tradesman trim, is significantly cheaper at $37,695. But spec a comparably equipped Limited Longhorn 4WD and the price jumps to $61,775. If power is more appealing, be prepared to shell out $78,675 for the 1500 TRX. While stocks are being reduced in the current climate, you can pick up your favorite 1500 well ahead of the less expensive R1Ts. All Rams come with a base three-year/36,000-mile and five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties.
There is a plea for the familiarity of a conventional truck. But good things come to those who wait, and we think the riding future is brighter with the Rivian R1T.
EDMUNDS SAYS: It’s a win by the narrowest of margins, but we placed the Rivian R1T just ahead of the Ram 1500. of fossil fuels and futuristic style.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the Edmunds car website.
Miles Branman is an employee at Edmunds. Twitter: @milesperhr
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