Electric trucks are fast and have insane amounts of torque, which means they have some excellent tow ratings. If you’re interested in any of the exciting electric trucks available or coming soon and plan on doing “truck stuff,” you’ll want to know how much an electric truck can tow and how far.
For example, the new Rivian R1T electric truck has nearly double the torque of the new 2022 Toyota Tundra, not to mention more horsepower than an F-150 Raptor or RAM 1500 TRX. It’s fast and powerful. So, just how much weight can an electric truck handle?
Every truck fan probably remembers Tesla’s bold claims that the Cybertruck can tow 14,000 pounds. That’s a considerable number that gave F-250 fans some wide eyes, but until it gets released, we’ll take it with a grain of salt.
While it’s easy to look up tow rating numbers on a gas-powered vehicle, things are a little different when it comes to EVs. There are various configurations with multiple electric motors, and you’ll also need to consider your towing range.
Those looking for a rough idea of how much an electric truck can tow will be happy to hear they’re just as capable as any regular gas-powered truck from Ford, Chevy, or RAM, if not better.
However, like a gas vehicle, electric trucks have different tow ratings for each model and trim. Still, we’ve gathered some numbers below for those curious.
- Rivian R1T tow rating: up to 11,000 lbs
- Ford F-150 Lightning: 7,700 – 10,000 lbs
- Tesla Cybertruck: 14,000 lbs
- Chevy Silverado EV: 8,000 – 10,000 lbs
- RAM 1500 EV: “more than 10,000 lbs”
The number of motors and the size of the battery will determine how much an electric truck can tow. Just like the numbers change if you get a twin-turbo V6, a V8, or a diesel engine in your ICE truck. Here are a few random gas-powered truck numbers we pulled as a comparison.
- 2022 Ford F-150: 8,200 – 14,000 lbs
- 2022 Toyota Tundra: 8,300 – 12,000 lbs
- 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500: 8,900 – 11,000 lbs
- 2022 RAM 1500: 6,120 – 12,750 lbs
- 2022 Ford F-250: 12,300 – 15,000 lbs
- 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500HD: 14,500 lbs
Electric trucks stack up against most of the competition quite well. It isn’t until you start getting into the highest trim levels, upgraded F-250, or Silverado 2500’s that you begin to see EVs lose.
Surprisingly, during Chevy’s announcement of the Silverado EV, one line in the press release said, “After the initial launch, Chevrolet will introduce a fleet model with up to 20,000 pounds max trailering with the max tow package.” Now that is a bold statement, but that will come later after the base models arrive.
Either way, electric trucks are undoubtedly capable of towing large trailers and pulling quite a bit of weight.
If you read some of the crazy reports floating around the internet, you’ll hear that EVs aren’t safe in traffic, and the battery will die from using the heat or AC. Or, you’ll read that an electric truck can’t tow for more than 80 miles before the huge battery dies. This is simply false.
Don’t get me wrong, electric vehicles still have some work to do regarding battery life, and towing will absolutely impact how far you can tow. That said, almost every major manufacturer suggests towing will decrease range from 40-50%. That’s certainly not good, but it’s not awful for 1st generation vehicles.
While there are towing tests all over YouTube and the internet, we wanted to highlight a few. The site FastLaneTruck put the Rivian R1T through one of the most intense towing tests in the U.S. It came out exactly as promised.
The team had the lower 280 range model, and at the end of the test, it went 153 miles with over 9 miles of range left, according to the dash estimation. Yes, the 2022 Toyota Tundra didn’t use very much gas, but Rivian says to expect a 50% reduction, so the electric truck worked as advertised.
MotorTrend packed nearly 9,000 lbs on the back of a Rivian R1T to push it near the 11,000 limits, and again, it handled the test as expected. The vehicle tested is capable of 314 miles of range, but the computer estimated it would get 129 miles once all that weight was factored in. The test drive was 123 miles, cutting things extremely tight. The team arrived at the destination with 47 miles of range leftover, suggesting 170 miles of total range, higher than 50% of the EPA estimate.
A new Ford F-150 Lightning owner recently took his 6,000 lbs 23-ft Airstream trailer on a trip and, as expected, got about 50% of the estimated range while driving.
See a pattern? You can expect the range to decrease by 40-50% when towing heavy loads if you get an electric truck.
So now that we know electric trucks can tow heavy loads and roughly how far, what about the EV towing experience. How good are electric trucks at towing? From the sounds of things, pretty great.
For example, in Motortrend’s test, the trailer weighed 8,992 pounds and was hitched to the 7,134-pound R1T for a total combined weight of 16,135 pounds. While towing, “the truck accelerated to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds, even pulling a load.” I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty darn impressive. The report mentions the Rivian R1T accelerated like a champ, did an excellent job with cornering and braking, and gave the driver plenty of confidence while towing.
Want to hear something impressive and scary at the same time? The guys that run the Hagerty YouTube channel put a Rivian R1T towing 6,000 pounds up against a Ford F-150 Raptor (with no trailer) in a drag race, and the Rivian won. Easily.
One of the first F-150 Lightning owners recently posted some thoughts about towing a 23-ft Airstream trailer on the F150Lightningforums, and he too came away very impressed. He points out that all that instant torque is critical for towing, making him almost forget a trailer is attached and said it’s comparable to or better than his previous trips using his 2017 F-150.
We also want to mention that electric trucks use regenerative braking. What is that? It essentially recovers some of the energy and heat produced, then puts it back into the battery. So while towing a huge trailer down a steep mountain, you’ll actually gain battery and range, not lose it.
So, even while towing, electric trucks still have insane amounts of power and torque, handle great, and have a low center of gravity thanks to all that battery packs underneath. You’ll want to consider the vehicle weight, hauling limits, and potential decreases in the range—whether that’s a gas truck or electric.
How far you can tow with an electric truck will depend on the trailer weight, aerodynamics, driving style, road inclines and conditions, and how fast you drive. And the same can be said for gas vehicles.
In closing, with the electric trucks available today, unless you’re towing a tiny trailer with hardly any weight, you’ll likely want to limit trips to around 150 miles. Or, plan for a break somewhere to recharge the battery. That may not be ideal, but it’s what manufacturers are promising, so know that going in.
And remember, this is new technology that will improve in the coming years and on 2nd generation electric trucks.