The Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning have in common that they’re both excellent electric pickup trucks — and that’s where the comparison between them starts to get interesting. The Lightning is a full-sized pickup that’s the electric version of the bestselling truck in its class on the market. It’s a tough workhorse of a truck that’s ultra practical anywhere from the outdoors to the ranch to the city.
The Rivian, on the other hand, is a pickup designed for fun. It’s smaller and lighter than the F-150, designed for off-road antics and aimed at drivers who like a little bit of luxury with their high-end performance. Let’s take a look at how the two trucks measure up against each other so you can choose which one is right for you.
Whether you drive a Rivian R1T truck or a Ford F-150 Lightning, Upstate Electrical Solutions can help install electric vehicle charging systems in your home – just call Upstate Electrical Solutions today at 864.531.7855 or contact us for prompt and professional electrical service in the Upstate. We can install EV charging systems for Tesla, Ford, Rivian, GM, Mercedes, Audi and most any manufacturer on the market today.
Powertrain and Frame
The Lightning and the Rivian both deliver all-wheel-drive, though the distribution of the power is radically different. Lightning uses a pair of permanent magnet electric motors, one for each axle, located where the differential would traditionally be. These motors deliver a combined 580 hp with 775 lb-ft of torque for the Lightning with the 131-kWh battery pack and 426 hp for the 98-kWh battery pack.
In contrast, the Rivian is powered by four asynchronous motors, with one at each wheel, and its 133-kWh battery pack is essentially the frame of the truck. Those four motors deliver a blistering 835 hp with 908 lb-ft of torque. Both trucks have independent springs, with the Lightning using coil springs and the Rivian opting for air springs along with hydraulic anti-roll bars.
Driving the Lightning feels like driving any other recent model F-150 — but quieter and much faster, with a feeling of unlimited power. The R1T has, if anything, even more power, with amazing traction and a speedy 0-60 launch in just 3 seconds. You’ll need an additional 1-2 seconds to get to 60 in the Lightning, but both are satisfyingly fast.
The low center of gravity in both trucks, thanks to the placement of the heavy battery packs, delivers excellent steering and cornering. The Rivian, though, outsteers the Ford thanks to the torque vectoring from its four asynchronous motors. The result? The Lightning drives like a truck (though an excellent one) — but driving the Rivian almost feels like driving a sports car, making it a true delight as you negotiate curves.
When you head off-road, the Rivian definitely pulls out in front of the Lightning. The R1T offers five off-road modes, including Rock Crawl and Sand for specific environments, making it pretty much unstoppable. Those four motors come into play again, delivering low-range gearing and high traction thanks to front and rear locking differentials. Combined with the height-adjustable suspension, that means you can go pretty much anywhere you need to go that isn’t underwater.
But we’re not denigrating the Lightning here. If you keep it slow, you can handle dirt and sand well. Just don’t try to keep up with the Rivian off-road.
If you’ve got stuff to haul, the Lightning is going to be far more practical for your needs than the Rivian. Both feature a frunk in addition to the bed, but the Lightning’s is far larger and features a wider opening for easier loading and unloading. Lightning’s bed also provides easier access, better tie-downs and a tailgate step — and its ride quality improves when fully loaded.
While the Rivian technically carries more weight (a 1,760-pound payload compared to the F-150’s 1,606), it’s harder to access and not as well designed. The Rivian features a cool gear tunnel to make up for some of the lost space in its short 4.5-foot bed.
If you’ve towed a load with a conventional F-150 before, you know how the Lightning will perform with a trailer attached. The Lightning tows 10,000 pounds, with stronger acceleration than the standard F-150 and solid stability on the downhills. However, you lose a little precision in the performance because the Lightning turns off one-pedal driving during towing.
The Rivian can tow 11,000 pounds with amazing stability and motor control on inclines. As sleek as the Rivian is, it feels like a heavy-duty workhorse of a truck when towing, handling heavy loads smoothly. However, the steering wheel-located trailer brake controller doesn’t provide the precise control you might prefer.
Charging and Range
With any electric vehicle, one of the most important issues is charging speed and the vehicle’s range. Neither the Lightning nor the Rivian are particularly impressive in the charging speed department. Expect to spend 44 minutes charging the Rivian from 5% to 80% and 50 minutes for the Lightning. The Lightning’s 19.2-kW onboard charger outstrips the 11.5-kW charger on the Rivian, and that difference could be important in some situations.
Range in the two trucks is similar, with the Lightning promising 320 miles per full charge and the Rivian coming close at 314 miles.
The Cool Features
If you want to drive hands-free, you may lean toward the Lightning, whose advanced driver assist system, known as Blue Cruise, provides stronger interface and warnings. Rivian’s Driver+ system is available in fewer locations and not as precise in traffic.
Both trucks feature power outlets, with the Lightning offering 9.2-kW outlets in the bed for powering heavy-duty tools. Coming soon for the Lightning is a bi-directional charging station, so you can power your home from your truck if needed.
Rivian’s Pet Comfort mode keeps cabin temperatures within a comfortable range while parked and leaves a message on the dashboard screen to let concerned passers-by know that your pet is safe. The landscape display screen is large, easy to read and intuitive to use, with bonuses such as a native Spotify app. The charging screen is easy to use. However, some processes are overly complicated, with simple tasks such as changing drive modes or adjusting HVAC vents requiring many taps that draw your attention away from the road.
The Lightning screen is easy to use, and it features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. However, its response can be slow, and it often takes far too many taps to get to the screen you need, especially regarding charging information.
There’s definitely room to stretch out in the Lightning’s huge cabin, which is packed with convenient storage. Door pockets, a huge central console (which folds open into a table), underseat storage and a dozen or so cupholders make the F-150 a comfortable place to settle into for your commute or a long road trip.
The R1T isn’t quite as luxuriously appointed. While spacious enough for four, the storage doesn’t compare to the Lightning’s, with inadequate door pockets and console, only four cupholders and no glove compartment. In addition, taller passengers may find themselves uncomfortable in the back seat.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the choice between the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T depends on what you’re looking for. Both are excellent electric trucks that deliver on their promise, with good range and great features. If you want more space (interior and cargo), you may lean toward the Lightning. If, on the other hand, a sporty, fun drive and the ability to off-road in any terrain is what you’re looking for, check out the Rivian.
For residential electric vehicle charging installations in your home, call Upstate Electrical Solutions today at 864.531.7855 or contact us for prompt and professional electrical service in the Upstate.