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Rivian vs. Lightning

Rivian R1T vs. F-150 Lightning in a 17-Ton Towing Contest!

An EV test unlike any other

  • We entered two electric trucks into an extreme sled-pulling challenge.
  • The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning have loads of power.
  • How far did they pull the 17-ton sled apparatus? Find out below.

We put two electric pickups, the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning, into the most rowdy environment we could imagine: a tractor-pulling contest dominated by modified diesel-powered trucks. This test pushed the R1T and the Lightning to their physical limits in front of a frenzied crowd. The EVs were in for a major challenge.

The contest took place during Truck Mania, a multi-day celebration with drag racing, burnouts and off-road challenges in Sacramento, California. We chose to test our trucks against the Terminator 2.0, a 17-ton tractor sled, down the straightaway on a dirt track.

Here's how the tractor sled works: It rolls along on its wheels at first, but as the truck pulls it farther, a weighted box slides forward and pushes the "sled" plate down into the ground. This acts like an anchor in the dirt. So as the truck moves forward, it becomes more and more difficult to keep going. Whichever truck pulls it farthest is the winner.

Our electric trucks had the ability to do well — on paper. The Rivian R1T has four electric motors and the equivalent of 835 horsepower and 908 lb-ft of torque. The Ford F-150 Lightning has two electric motors making 580 horsepower and 775 lb-ft. The maximum towing capacity of the R1T is 11,000 pounds while max towing for the Lightning is 10,000 pounds.

How did the electric trucks do in the midst of all that diesel smoke? Watch the video above to find out.

Rivian vs. Lightning

Edmunds says

Electric pickup trucks are blasting onto the scene, with more models coming in the near future. We've already put them into towing tests and off-road adventures, and look forward to finding new ways to push their limits. Follow our long-term road tests for both the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning to see how they perform over time.