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Kelley Blue Book has a good comparison article on their site that breaks down how the R1T and Lightning compare to each other.


Electric pickup trucks are about to become a thing. The trend is evident in the introduction this year of the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T. Both are designed to bring EV technology to the truck market, but how they go about that differs.

The Ford F-150 Lightning, coming from an established player in Ford, is seeking to expand the role of its traditional pickup truck line by offering an EV alternative. Rivian, a start-up that actually has some seed money from Ford, Amazon, and KBB parent Cox Automotive, seeks to create a new niche as an upscale player with plenty of off-road capability.

While their roles are different, the pair’s goal is similar, to offer an electric alternative in a segment that traditionally has been dominated by V6 and V8 gas and diesel power. Ford has the advantage of using existing manufacturing resources and a chain of franchised dealers. Rivian’s task is a bit more daunting, building a new brand from scratch and using a direct factory sales model pioneered by Tesla. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Design

The Ford F-150 Lightning looks like a conventional internal combustion engine pickup. Only the appearance of the LED head- and taillamp elements differentiates the Lightning from the standard pickup template that employs a boxy cab and bed. This conservative approach to styling should appeal to the existing truck market, especially those who depend on basic functionality for both work and play.

The Rivian R1T has boxy styling you’d expect from a pickup, but since it’s new from the ground up, it has a certain freshness to it, especially when it comes to the oval lighting elements in front. And while it has the squared-off proportions you expect from a crew cab pickup, there is a bit of sleekness to the panels. Unlike Lightning, the Rivian will come in a similarly sized SUV called the R1S. The other defining exterior design cues are the skidplates and tow hooks that hint at the Rivian’s off-road capabilities.

Construction

The Ford F-150 Lightning, like its F-Series siblings, employs aluminum body panels. Ford pioneered the use of this material for pickups starting in 2015. The lightweight material is critical to the truck’s performance and range since it offsets the weight of the battery pack.

Like the F-150 Lightning, the Rivian relies on high-strength steel for the chassis and a combination of aluminum as well as carbon fiber for body panels and other structural elements. This blend of materials results in a lighter weight to compensate for the mass of the battery pack.

The Rivian uses a “skateboard” chassis that mounts the battery pack and the front and rear axle electric motors between the frame rails. This provides additional cabin room and storage space in the body that rides atop this structure. This setup also allows for a lower center of gravity, which helps both on- and off-road.

Cabin Features

With its conventional crew cab setup, we expect the Ford F-150 to accommodate at least five passengers and perhaps six if Ford offers a front bench on its base work truck. The standard instrumentation includes a 12-inch digital display for the driver and a 12-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen for infotainment. A 15.5-inch center touchscreen is standard on upper trims, along with such features as 10-way power-adjustable seats, an 8-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and leather seating surfaces.

The Rivian has a 5-passenger cabin that reflects its premium nature and avoids the starkness favored by Tesla. There are two prominent screens on the dash, one containing instrumentation for the driver, the other displaying infotainment. There are two trim levels, the base Explorer and upgrade Adventure. The latter features natural-grained ash wood accents and a Meridian premium sound system. You can also tailor the Adventure through a choice of three interior color options. A removable roof option is promised for sometime next year.

Performance

There will be four trim levels initially available on the Ford F-150: a basic work truck, a mid-range XLT trim, and two top luxury models in the Lariat and Platinum. Ford will offer a dual-motor configuration with one for each axle, giving all Lightning models all-wheel drive. The motors provide 426 horsepower in base trim with an upgrade producing 563 horses and 775 lb-ft of torque. The standard battery will provide 230 miles of range, while a larger available pack boosts that figure to 300 miles.

In the Rivian, all-wheel drive is standard thanks to its four motors, one for each wheel. The system delivers 800 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque. Rivian’s launch edition R1T models set for delivery this year promise a range of 300-plus miles thanks to a 135 kWh battery pack. In January, a longer-range version with a 180 kWh battery pack will go more than 400 miles between charges. Later on, Rivian will add a model with 250-plus miles of range, which probably will be a lower-priced base truck.

On the performance front, Rivian expects the R1T to accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 3 seconds. It also boasts 14 inches of ground clearance and should be able to ford through 3 feet of water.

Capability

The Ford F-150 Lightning promises a maximum payload of 2,000 pounds, which is about midway between the ratings of conventional Ford pickups, which range from 1,500 to about 5,000 pounds. In top form, the Lightning will be able to tow up to 10,000 pounds. Similar to the standard F-150, we expect the Lighting to come with a 6.5-foot box. The front trunk, or drunk, can hold 14.1 cubic feet of cargo.

Rivian says the R1T will be capable of towing more than 11,000 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,760 pounds. The cargo bed is 4.5 feet long with the tailgate up, which expands to 83.6 inches with the gate down. In addition to the box, the R1T offers 11 additional cubic feet of lockable storage under the front hood and some additional lockable storage beneath the rear load floor.

Also unique to the vehicle is a “Gear Tunnel” that runs the vehicle’s width behind the rear seat. This 65-inch long space is watertight and fully enclosed.

Pricing

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
  • Base Dual Motor AWD Work Truck: $39,974
  • XLT Dual Motor AWD XLT: $52,974 (a $6,700 premium over a gas XLT 4×4)
  • Lariat Dual Motor AWD: Est. $58,630 (based on $6,700 premium over a gas Lariat 4×4)
  • Platinum Dual Motor AWD: Est. $69,500 (based on $6,700 premium over a gas Platinum 4×4)
  • Top Trim: $90,474 (based on top price given by Ford)
  • Eligible for the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit
2021 Rivian R1T
  • Explorer Package: $67,500
  • Launch Edition: $73,000 (sold out)
  • Adventure Package: $73,000
  • Eligible for the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit
Ford F-150 Lightning Advantages

The Ford F-150 Lightning is more of a traditional pickup, as seen in its approach of offering a base work truck and then higher trim levels for personal use. While the payload and towing capabilities are what you’d expect from a pickup, regularly carrying cargo or towing trailers will greatly impact range and performance. As a result, don’t expect an electric F-150 to replace gas or diesel trucks.

However, the advantage of the F-150 as a power source expands its functionality as a work truck. Ford touts the Lightning as an “Intelligent Backup Power” system, serving as a backup battery. It can provide full-home power for up to three days on a full charge. Also, the 21 external charge points and 11 outlets will make the truck an ideal power source on job sites.

Rivian R1T Advantages

Rivian is looking to break new ground in the pickup market, leveraging its 4-motor electric drivetrain and the off-road capability of its truck. Its innovative approach to space utilization, especially with its Gear Tunnel and multiple lockable storage areas, will make the Rivian R1T a good backwoods companion. It also offers a modern yet more conventional take on the pickup, which may prove to be an asset in attracting those put off by the Tesla Cybertruck’s polarizing design.

The Bottom Line

Ford has an edge here for traditional pickup buyers looking to transition to an electric vehicle. Its long history of building trucks and the ability to sell and service them through multiple outlets will be a definite advantage in building volume.

Rivian, on the other hand, will set out to prove that there are new ways of doing things, not only in its electric drivetrain but also with direct sales and using regional centers and mobile home service to support the R1T and R1S. It could very well work since EVs don’t require the same level of regular maintenance as their gasoline- or diesel-fueled counterparts.

FAQ
How big are the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning and 2021 Rivian R1T?


The Ford F-150 Lightning is the bigger truck. It rides on a 145.4-inch wheelbase, measures 232.7 inches in overall length, and 78.9 inches tall. The Rivian R1T rides on a shorter 135.9-inch wheelbase and is 217.1 inches long. It stands 75.7 inches tall.

When will the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T go on sale?

Reservations for the Ford F-150 will be open this fall for deliveries next Spring. Shipments of the already-spoken-for Rivian R1T Launch Edition begin this Summer. Explorer and Adventure versions of the R1T will be available starting in 2022.

Are the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T eligible for tax credits?

Yes, both the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T are eligible for the full $7,500 Federal Tax Credit for electric vehicles. Both are also eligible for state and local incentives.
 

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Being priced from $40,000 will help the Lightning out a lot and will go a long way to further build its buyer base.
Those being regular folks that just want to ride around in a pickup.
 

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Nothing was mentioned about the Rivian designed thermal regulated battery pack. From Rivian's own website, it appears they have created a system that will be superior to using a heat pump and in cold winter weather, that is going to be a huge plus. There has been no similar news from Ford or any other EV on such a design.
 

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The R1T has 415hp/413lb-ft in front + 420hp/495lb-ft in rear, for a total of total 835hp 908lb-ft. The ground clearance is up to 14.9" with the all terrain tires.

The F150 will likely be subject to hefty dealer markups just like the Mach-E currently is. The R1T will not have that problem since there are no dealers involved.

The R1T has a much better warranty: 8 years / 175K miles for the battery and drivetain, 8 years unlimited miles for corrosion, 5 years / 60K miles comprehensive. The F150 is 8 years 100K miles for the battery, 5 years / 60K miles for the drivetrain, 5 years unlimited miles for corrosion, 3 years / 36K miles comprehensive.

The R1T will have an exclusive network of 200kW CCS superchargers. During holiday travel when EV from multiple vendors inluding Ford are waiting in long lines at public CCS chargers, R1T drivers will be happy to have Rivian CCS chargers all for themselves.
 

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C'mon folks. Let's be real. No dealer or customer for that matter is going to find a sub $40K Lightning. It is like trying to find a manual transmission vehicle nowadays. Not.going.to.happen. Like the Bronco and the Mach E, Ford will launch the vehicle with all the bells and whistles and then open up the order books to allow the stripped down version (assuming anyone wants it). My guess is that salesmen will upsell any customer wanting the sub $40K truck into the $90K truck that they have orders in for.
 

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There is a long list of Ford dealers that do not charge dealer markup. There is a Ford Executive one can contact if the dealership tries this markup routine.
 

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The R1T has 415hp/413lb-ft in front + 420hp/495lb-ft in rear, for a total of total 835hp 908lb-ft. The ground clearance is up to 14.9" with the all terrain tires.

The F150 will likely be subject to hefty dealer markups just like the Mach-E currently is. The R1T will not have that problem since there are no dealers involved.

The R1T has a much better warranty: 8 years / 175K miles for the battery and drivetain, 8 years unlimited miles for corrosion, 5 years / 60K miles comprehensive. The F150 is 8 years 100K miles for the battery, 5 years / 60K miles for the drivetrain, 5 years unlimited miles for corrosion, 3 years / 36K miles comprehensive.

The R1T will have an exclusive network of 200kW CCS superchargers. During holiday travel when EV from multiple vendors inluding Ford are waiting in long lines at public CCS chargers, R1T drivers will be happy to have Rivian CCS chargers all for themselves.
It will be interesting to see how much some dealers are going to jack the price of the Lightning by.
 

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The R1T will have an exclusive network of 200kW CCS superchargers. During holiday travel when EV from multiple vendors inluding Ford are waiting in long lines at public CCS chargers, R1T drivers will be happy to have Rivian CCS chargers all for themselves.
There's also the Tesla to J1772 adapter called the Tesla Tap that works with most EVs but not that many folks know about it. For $250 it's not bad and can save anyone around enough Tesla chargers a lot of trouble.
 

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There's also the Tesla to J1772 adapter called the Tesla Tap that works with most EVs but not that many folks know about it. For $250 it's not bad and can save anyone around enough Tesla chargers a lot of trouble.
It doesn’t work with any super chargers.
 

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There are some great Ford dealers out there who deal fairly with their customers even in these supply-constrained times.

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Anything Elon tweets needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Or more…

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