Tesla Cybertruck Range Drops 60% Towing A Rivian R1T Over 86 Miles

By automotive-mag.com 5 Min Read

It’s a known fact that electric cars aren’t great at towing big loads. It’s not that they can’t pull them–they can, thanks to the immense torque that’s instantly available–but the driving range takes a huge drop when the weight increases. This makes towing a chore more than anything else because you need to stop more frequently to top up the batteries.

Things get even worse when sharp inclines or descents are thrown into the mix because the electric motors and battery pack have to work harder when going uphill, and the regenerative braking has a tendency to leave the conversation when going downhill while towing a large load.

In the case of the Tesla Cybertruck, the downhill part seems to pose more of an issue than going uphill, even when lugging a roughly 7,000-pound Rivian R1T on the back of a trailer, as the Out of Spec Reviews video embedded at the top of this page shows.

This particular angular EV is of the Cyberbeast variety, which has a total of three electric motors, two at the rear and one at the front, which make a total of 845 horsepower and enable a towing capacity of 11,000 lbs.

As the one-hour-long video demonstrates, Tesla’s battery-powered pickup is more than capable of pulling a load that’s close to maxing out its capacity, but it’s not perfect, especially on an 86-mile loop that includes a bit of highway driving, twisty mountain roads with many ascending and descending zones, as well as a dirt road section.

Kyle Conner, who runs the Out of Spec Reviews YouTube channel, says that the steer-by-wire system’s settings remain the same when towing, meaning that every little input on the steering wheel has the potential to imbalance the whole rig. He argues that the car should automatically adjust the steering ratio when towing to make the steering wheel a little less sensitive to inputs.

Tesla Cybertruck Cyberbeast towing a Rivian R1T on a trailer on a dirt road

Then, there’s the regenerative braking feature, which seems to cut out almost completely when going downhill, irrespective of the battery’s state of charge. The car first issued a warning that the feature could be unavailable at around 70% SoC while going downhill, and a second time when the battery level was at roughly 50%.

This meant that the friction brakes had to work harder, leading them to smell a bit. On the upside, the Cybertruck has a nifty trailer brake controller feature built-in, which lets the driver activate the trailer brakes by using the right scroll wheel on the steering wheel. Plus, the gain can also be adjusted on the fly on the EV’s huge center screen.

But the biggest drawback to using an electric pickup truck–the Tesla Cybertruck Cyberbeast in this case–is the rapid decrease in range. After 49 miles, the battery level dropped by half, and at the end of the 86-mile loop, the screen was showing 38% left in the pack.

The EV burned through 70 kilowatt-hours of energy out of the 123-kWh available in the battery when fully charged, and it had an average energy consumption of 824 Wh/mile or 82.4 kWh/100 miles. Theoretically, with this energy consumption, the car would run out of battery completely after 149 miles, which is less than half the 320-mile advertised figure.

Now, all battery-powered pickups burn through electrons when towing, not just the Cybertruck, just like the fuel efficiency of all gas-powered pickups drops when hauling big loads. But we’re curious to know what you think of this test, so let us know in the comments below.

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