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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Rivian towing efficiency

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Groover

Pulaski, TN

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Posted: 11/30/21 07:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Long Rivian towing test

Bottom line, the Rivian range was reduced by 62% when towing a Mustang on a car hauler.

The route was from Detroit to LA so it was plenty long but other than that not a whole lot details.

62% range reduction sounds like much more than would expect if I were towing the rig with my F150 but as a Tesla owner I expected towing to hit an EV harder than an ICE powered one for several reasons.

1) Most EVs have great aerodynamics to extend their range so they will be affected more by a not very aerodynamic trailer than the average pickups already on the road.

2) EVs benefit from regeneration during stopping but in most cases the regen is sized to handle the base vehicle weight. Extra weight may have required the use of mechanical braking more frequently resulting in lost energy. Batteries don't absorb energy as well as they provide it so their is limit to how strong the regen circuit can be. Also, the regen circuit is different from the drive circuit so putting in a stronger regen circuit would add cost and weight to the vehicle.

3) Electric circuits lose efficiency according to the square of the amount of power being pushed through them so there may have been a major efficiency drop from the higher currents.

Anyway, this is just one piece of data and the results will be different for every trailer. I am impressed that they found enough chargers to let them make the trip so this proves that it can be done. And more charging stations are being built every day. The photos show that tow vehicles are not accommodated well. That will become more important as EVs become more prevalent.

I would love to see a similar test replicated by an ICE powered truck to compare the losses. Some graphs on drivetrain efficiency vs power to the ground for various drivetrains would be interesting too.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 11/30/21 01:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your opinions and observations seem logical.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


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Posted: 11/30/21 01:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Interesting. Thanks for posting.

pianotuna

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Posted: 11/30/21 01:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grover,

I think it may be the square of the voltage--not "power".

Example

120 x 120 = 14,400

100 x 100 = 10,000

10,000 / 14,400 = 69%

So a 31% drop in wattage.

* This post was edited 11/30/21 01:45pm by pianotuna *


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IdaD

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Posted: 11/30/21 01:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Given the weight and profile of that trailer, the efficiency took a much bigger dive than I'd expect out of a traditional truck on a similar trip. Especially a diesel truck.


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wildtoad

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Posted: 11/30/21 01:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think more and more tests are needed with EV’s to get live usage numbers. Impact of towing on flat ground or hilly. Impact of 90 degree weather and running AC. Impact of freezing and running heater. I’m not sure comparing a EV to an ICE based vehicle is actually that helpful. We have 100 plus years of data, personal experiences, and can fill up a near empty fuel tank in 10+\- minutes just about anywhere. We know what to expect if we run out. For me knowing how far I can realistically expect to go before I have to stop, and for how long (recharge time) is fairly important to know when planning a trip.


Tom Wilds
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Posted: 11/30/21 02:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IdaD wrote:

Given the weight and profile of that trailer, the efficiency took a much bigger dive than I'd expect out of a traditional truck on a similar trip. Especially a diesel truck.


Agreed on the diesel. But remember, this is a half ton truck. I’m not sure how common a diesel is in half tons nowadays. (Really no idea).

I know with our gas GMC 3/4 ton pulling a 7000 poundish trailer we were looking for a gas station after about 220 kilometres or so and getting panicky at 275. And that was in Saskatchewan. Course that was 20 years ago. I’m sure it’s better now.

Groover

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Posted: 11/30/21 04:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Grover,

I think it may be the square of the voltage--not "power".

Example

120 x 120 = 14,400

100 x 100 = 10,000

10,000 / 14,400 = 69%

So a 31% drop in wattage.

.
The voltage of a lithium ion battery is essentially fixed for any given vehicle. Since power is volts times amps and voltage is fixed the amps vary with power. So the I squared R losses do apply.

NamMedevac 70

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Posted: 11/30/21 05:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will stay with my 3 gassers as I spend a lot of time in remote areas and small rural towns where gas is easy to obtain.

rjstractor

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Posted: 11/30/21 08:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I read the test also, and it affirms the towing results I've seen from tests of various Tesla models- moderate towing cuts an EVs range to somewhere between a half and a third of its solo range. A prospective EV owner who wants to do serious towing should think in terms of KWh per mile, not advertised range. The Rivian towing a modest size load consumed power at about 1 KWh per mile, a huge increase in power consumption compared with its EPA estimated range figures which pencil out to about .43 KWh per mile. Towing a high wall travel trailer I imagine would increase the consumption to 1.25-1.5 KWh per mile, cutting the truck's range to under 100 miles. I look forward to seeing a tow test with something like a high profile bumper pull toy hauler, which would be within the Rivian's tow rating, but takes a lot more power to move it down the highway than a car on a flatbed trailer. The main issue with EVs in a towing application is not performance or power, it's range. It's going to take a battery in the 500 KWh range to enable an EV to tow a significant load long distances between charges.

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