By MILES BRANMAN
Electrified vehicles are random in their auto expansion. First it was hatchbacks and sedans, then SUVs. Next: the pickup. Electric variants of light pickup trucks are being developed by a number of car manufacturers, but one electric truck is already on sale: the all-new Rivian R1T.
Originating from this up-and-coming American company, the R1T boasts 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 COSTS TO FUEL
The Rivian R1T produces a whopping 835 horsepower thanks to four electric motors, one on each wheel. That power arrives immediately and helps the R1T go from 0-100 km/h 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 costs an average of only $950 in electricity to run for a year.
Ram gives you more choice for drivetrains. There’s a base 305 horsepower V6, a 260 horsepower turbo diesel V6, a 395 horsepower V8 and, for top TRX trim only, a 702 horsepower supercharged V8. The TRX is the fastest of the bunch, sprinting to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. But it’s also a gas guzzler, costing an estimated $6,250 a year to fill up. The most fuel-efficient Ram 1500 is one with a diesel engine, but refueling costs about three times more than the R1T.
TOW AND RANGE
Currently, Rivian offers the R1T with a large battery pack, with an EPA estimated 314 miles, or a Max battery good for about 400 miles. Edmunds runs his own real-world range test and we were able to drive a test truck with the big battery for 517 miles on a full charge.
This is plenty of range for an EV, but it’s still lagging behind the Ram 1500. A rear-wheel drive model with the diesel engine could potentially cover about 1,000 highway miles with the optional 33-gallon tank. That said, at current national diesel prices, that fuel would cost you about $165.
Towing is also made 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 distances due to faster and less hassle when refueling.
Winner: Aries 1500
STYLING AND COMFORT
With pickups taking on the role of one vehicle for more families, it’s not enough for a truck to pull and tow competitively – it also needs refinement. Rivian calls his R1T an all-rounder, bigger than a Toyota Tacoma, but smaller than the big Ram 1500. The design is futuristic, while the interior is clean and luxurious. The R1T rides quietly with no internal combustion rumble, though it has a firmer ride quality than some of its competitors.
The Ram 1500 helped pioneer the modern luxury pickup. With an aerodynamic aesthetic and attention to detail, the 1500 exudes civility. Inside, the Ram offers generous passenger volume and smooth seats. Ride quality is arguably best in class and cabin volume is limited. 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 automotive industry, Rivian offers its most expensive model first. Customers can order a twin-motor R1T with standard battery for $67,500, although deliveries of this configuration are not planned until 2024. If you want one sooner, the quad motor 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 five-year/60,000-mile long base warranty and an eight-year/175,000-mile powertrain.
The cheapest Ram 1500, the Tradesman version, is significantly cheaper at $37,695. But specify a comparably equipped Limited Longhorn 4WD and the price rises to $61,775. If power is more appealing, be prepared to spend $78,675 for the 1500 TRX. While stock is reduced in the current climate, you can pick up your favorite 1500 well before the cheaper R1Ts. All Rams come with a three-year/36,000-mile base warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty.
There must be a case for the familiarity of a conventional truck. But good things come to those who wait, and we think the future of riding is brighter with the Rivian R1T.
EDMUNDS SAYS: It’s a win by the narrowest margins, but we’re putting the Rivian R1T just ahead of the Ram 1500. The right truck for you depends on your needs: the Ram’s immediate convenience and lower entry costs, or the Rivian’s break of fossil fuel and futuristic style.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the car website Edmunds.
Miles Branman is an employee at Edmunds. Twitter: @milesperhr
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