Mountain Towing Test: Chevy Silverado EV Beats Cybertruck, Rivian R1T And Ford F-150 Lightning

By automotive-mag.com 8 Min Read

Out of Spec Motoring’s YouTube channel continues its deep dives into the EV pickup market in its latest video. This time, the Tesla Cybertruck, Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and Chevy Silverado EV were competing in a tow test pulling identical payloads. Each truck hauled a Tesla Model 3 along I-70 from Denver to Grand Junction and back. This 230-mile trek each way through the Rocky Mountains served as an excellent test of each truck’s capabilities with bouts of significant elevation gain and extended periods of downhill driving.

Among the competitors, the F-150 Lightning example was best equipped for towing from a tech perspective. Optioned with Ford’s Tow Technology Package, it provides the most data and features for ensuring a smooth towing experience. Also in this test is Kyle’s own Rivian R1T Quad-motor with the Large battery pack.  

As excellent as the Lightning and R1T are, the Silverado EV 4WT has a clear advantage due to the truck’s massive battery pack. Even after factoring in the route and 6500 lb load, the Silverado EV still estimated nearly 300 miles of towing range. The other exciting new vehicle in this test is the Tesla Cybertruck Cyberbeast. While it does not have the range of the Silverado, it is still a major contender with solid charge speeds and was the most likely to arrive in 2nd place. 

Each truck began the race with a 100% state of charge (SoC). The start of the route began with an elevation of about 5,250 ft. The max elevation reached over 12,250 ft in the mountains before descending to about 4,600 ft in Grand Junction. 

Along the initial stretch of highway, all vehicles were at or above the posted speed limit with Kyle averaging 65-70 mph in the Silverado EV as he approached Idaho Springs. The Cybertruck at this point in the race was keeping pace with the Silverado EV. However, the Tesla planned early for a charging stop in Glenwood Springs, whereas the Chevy will be driving straight through to Grand Junction. Both trucks begin to pull away from the F-150 Lightning, whose driver maintains a slower speed to maximize range. 

Tesla Cybertruck

As the teams approached Silverthorne, the first downhill stretch began. The Silverado managed to pull in 160-190 kW of regen as it neared the bottom of the descent. At about 70 miles into the trip, the Silverado EV was at 72% SoC, and gained 3-4% back in regen. 

The F-150 gained a 5% charge and averaged of 1.1 miles per kWh for the initial leg of this trip. After the descent, the F-150 estimated 104 miles of range with only 43 miles from the first charging stop in Edwards. The Rivian also performed well in this stretch and both trucks ultimately decided to skip Edwards and push through to the Glenwood Springs charger instead.

Following the final major ascent near Vail, the Silverado EV was still at 62% SoC and averaging 0.9 miles per kWh. The Rivian was now showing only 2 miles estimated remaining as it pulled into the Glenwood Springs chargers. Conversely, the F-150 was averaging 1.2 miles per kWh at this point. 

As they reached Vail, The Cybertruck and Lightning pulled ahead of the Silverado, with the R1T slipping into 4th after deciding to conserve energy. The Tesla and Ford trucks would not enjoy their lead for long. As three of the trucks approached their first charging stop, the Silverado was projecting 24% SoC on arriving at the final destination of Grand Junction.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck

Despite the Lightning’s navigation refusing to route to the Electrify America (EA) in Glenwood Springs, the Ford arrived with 21% SoC. The Rivian was not far behind, plugging into the EA station just a few minutes later. Luckily for both trucks, the chargers were located in an area with limited traffic. They were able to plug in without unhitching their trailers. Unfortunately, the Cybertruck did have to remove his trailer at the Supercharger due to the rear charge port placement. More bad news came as the Cybertruck was maxing out at a mere 120 kW, while the F-150 and R1T reached 170 kW and 215 kW respectively.

The Cybertruck driver chose to charge only as much as necessary to reach the next station in Rifle, pulling in sideways to avoid unhooking the trailer. There he breathed a sigh of relief as the Cybertruck began pulling 245 kW, twice the speed of Glenwood Springs. 

As the sun began to set, Kyle arrived at the EA station in Grand Junction for his first charge. After towing 230 miles, the Silverado EV averaged 1.2 miles per kWh with about 40 miles of range left. Within a few minutes, the Silverado EV reached 345 kW charge speeds. (Thankfully, he remembered to keep the A/C turned off when initiating a charge.)

Rivian R1T FH5

As the Silverado was wrapping up, the Lightning arrived and plugged into the 150 kW charger, reaching a max speed of 125 kW. Meanwhile, the Rivian arrived at the Adventure Network charger, where it quickly ramped up to 196 kW. Finally, the Cybertruck arrived in Grand Junction, plugging in to begin a charge just as the Rivian driver had completed his.

Unfortunately, the return trip was disrupted by inclement weather. After getting a large head start, the Silverado EV was caught in a rough wintery mix near Vail. Heavy rain and snow made for poor visibility and slick roads. Already in the thick of things, Kyle pushed through the storm. The remaining drivers decided to call the race in Edwards where they all planned to charge. Had the race continued, the R1T would have finished 2nd, with the Lightning in 3rd. The Cybertruck was unfortunately still twenty minutes behind. The Tesla likely would have finished 2nd with more thorough route planning rather than relying on the navigation system to suggest the Glenwood Springs charger.  

In the end, the Silverado EV was the only one to complete the route as planned, arriving in Denver with 14% remaining after driving 472 miles through the mountains and making only a single charging stop. Theoretically, the truck could have gone another 30 or 40 miles had it been run down to 0% at each charging stop. 

Overall, Kyle was thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Silverado EV on the trip, saying it was the first EV he could genuinely recommend for anyone who tows long distances regularly.

If you’ve been on the fence about the capabilities of an EV truck, does the Silverado EV move the needle for you at all? Let us know in the comments below. 

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