Electric trucks are fast and have an incredible amount of torque, which means they have excellent towing ratings. If you’re interested in any of the exciting electric trucks available or coming soon and planning on doing “truck stuff,” you’ll want to know how much and how far an electric truck can tow.
For example, the new Rivian R1T electric pickup has nearly twice the torque of the new 2022 Toyota Tundra, not to mention more horsepower than an F-150 Raptor or RAM 1500 TRX. It is fast and powerful. So how much weight can an electric truck handle?
Electric Truck Towing Limits
All truck fans probably remember Tesla’s bold claims that the Cybertruck can tow 14,000 pounds. That’s a hefty number that gave F-250 fans wide-eyed, but until it’s released, we’ll take it with a grain of salt.
While it’s easy to look up towing rating numbers on a gas-powered vehicle, things are a little different when it comes to electric vehicles. There are several 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 pickup can tow will be happy to learn that they’re just as capable as, if not better than, any regular gas pickup from Ford, Chevy or RAM.
However, just like a gas vehicle, electric trucks have different towing ratings for each model and trim. Still, we’ve rounded up some numbers below for those curious.
- Rivian R1T Trailer Rating: up to 11,000 pounds
- Ford F-150 Lightning: 7,700 – 10,000 pounds
- Tesla Cyber Truck: 14,000 pounds
- Electric Chevy Silverado: 8,000 – 10,000 pounds
- RAM 1500EV: “Over 10,000 Pounds”
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 some random numbers of gas trucks we pulled for comparison.
- 2022 Ford F-150: 8,200 – 14,000 pounds
- Toyota Tundra 2022: 8,300 – 12,000 pounds
- 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500: 8,900 – 11,000 pounds
- 2022RAM1500: 6,120 – 12,750 pounds
- 2022 Ford F-250: 12,300 – 15,000 pounds
- 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500HD: 14,500 pounds
Electric trucks stack up pretty well against most of the competition. It’s not until you start getting the higher trim levels, upgraded F-250, or Silverado 2500 that you start to see the EVs lose out.
Surprisingly, during Chevy’s announcement of the Silverado EV, a line in the press release read, “After the initial launch, Chevrolet will introduce a fleet model with up to 20,000-pound maximum towing with the Maximum Towing Package.” Now that’s 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.
How far can you tow an electric truck?
If you read some of the crazy reports circulating on the internet, you will hear that electric vehicles are not safe in traffic and the battery will be drained from using heat or air conditioning. Or you’ll read that an electric truck can’t tow more than 80 miles before the huge battery runs out. This is simply false.
Don’t get me wrong, EVs still have a lot of work to do when it comes to battery life, and towing will absolutely affect how far you can tow. That said, almost all major manufacturers suggest that the trailer 40-50% decrease range. That’s certainly not good, but it’s not horrible for first-gen vehicles.
While there are trailer tests on YouTube and the Internet, we want to highlight a few. Site FastLaneTruck put the Rivian R1T through one of the most intense towing tests in the US It came out exactly as promised.
The team had the lowest range model of the 280, and at the end of the test, it did 153 miles with over 9 miles of range remaining, based on the dash estimate. Yes, the 2022 Toyota Tundra didn’t use much gas, but Rivian says he expects a 50% reduction, so the electric pickup worked as advertised.
MotorTrend packed nearly 9,000 pounds into the rear of a Rivian R1T to get it closer to the 11,000 limits and again handled the test as expected. The vehicle tested is rated at 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 to spare, suggesting 170 miles of total range, more than 50% of the EPA estimate.
A new Ford F-150 Lightning owner recently took his 6,000-lb, 23-foot Airstream trailer on a trip and, as expected, got about 50% of the estimated range while driving.
Do you see a pattern? You can expect range to drop by 40-50% when towing heavy loads if you get an electric truck.
How good are electric trucks for towing?
So now that we know that electric trucks can tow heavy loads and roughly how far, what about the electric vehicle towing experience? How good are electric trucks for towing? From the sound of things, pretty good.
For example, in Motortrend’s test, the trailer weighed in at 8,992 pounds and hitched up 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 impressive. The report mentions that the Rivian R1T accelerated like a champ, did an excellent job of cornering and braking, and gave the driver a lot of confidence while towing.
Do you want to hear something impressive and scary at the same time? The guys who run Hagerty’s YouTube channel put a Rivian R1T towing 6,000 pounds against a Ford F-150 Raptor (no trailer) in a drag race, and the Rivian won. Easily.
An early F-150 Lightning owner recently posted some thoughts on towing a 23ft Airstream trailer on the F150Lightning forums, and was very impressed as well. He points out that all that instant torque is critical for towing, almost making him forget he has a trailer attached, and said it’s comparable to or better than his previous rides with his 2017 F-150.
We also want to mention that electric trucks use regenerative braking. What’s that? Basically, it recovers some of the energy and heat produced and then puts it back into the battery. So while towing a huge trailer up a steep mountain, you’ll actually gain battery and range, not lose it.
So even while towing, electric trucks still have incredible amounts of power and torque, handle very well, and have a low center of gravity thanks to all the battery packs underneath. You’ll want to consider vehicle weight, hauling limits, and possible decreases in range, whether it’s a gas or electric truck.
The distance you can tow with an electric truck will depend on trailer weight, aerodynamics, driving style, road grades and conditions, and the speed at which you drive. And the same can be said for gas vehicles.
Finally, with the electric trucks available today, unless you’re towing a small trailer with hardly any weight, you’ll probably want to limit trips to about 150 miles. Or plan a break somewhere to recharge the battery. It may not be ideal, but it is what the manufacturers promise, so keep that in mind.
And remember, this is new technology that will improve for years to come and second-generation electric trucks.