Year after year pickup trucks accounts for the top three most-sold vehicles. Legacy brands Ford, Ram, and Chevy currently hold the crown. However, as we transition towards electrification, there’s been a handful of new companies looking to take advantage of a wide-open electric pickup truck segment. Rivian and Tesla are of course the biggest contenders in this segment.
The Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck are not only looking to transition pickup trucks away from fossil fuels, but also shake up the long-standing dominance that brands like Ford, Dodge, and GM have enjoyed in the space
The Comparison Rivan T1T to Tesla Cybertruck
Both of these pickups share some similarities (both being, obviously, electric) — the design language of both trucks couldn’t be more different. The Rivian R1T tries to keep a familiar pickup truck shape albeit with a daring headlight design. Meanwhile, the Cybertruck ignores conservative design conventions in favor of a cyberpunk, sci-fi look. Let’s face it, the Cybertruck sports more angles than a geometry class.
The Cybertruck Design look tough, and it actually is tough. The body of the Cybertruck is made of Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled Stainless Steel. Why? Well, Tesla says,
If there was something better, we’d use it…. [it helps] eliminate dents, damage and long-term corrosion with a smooth monochrome exoskeleton that puts the shell on the outside of the car and provides you and your passengers maximum protection.
The Tesla Cybertruck features clear innovative stainless steel shell not only offers benefits to the owner – no more trips to the body shop – but is also intended to make the truck simpler and cheaper to produce. Much of the technical expertise behind this surely came from SpaceX (whose HQ is next door to the Tesla Design Center). After all, if there’s anything that needs to be light but strong, it’s a rocket.
The Cybertruck’s trapezoidal shape looks far less aerodynamic than the curvy models that spell out S3XY (and arguably less sexy, too). And it probably is, thanks to the high sail pillar that marks the boundary between the fore and aft triangles. However, this pillar serves a practical purpose that has to do with towing.
The Rivian R1T, on the other hand, employs a more standard aluminum body. This is not inherently a bad thing and will probably work well in most use cases. In fact, one could see the aluminum body as more versatile as it’s tough to paint the body of the Cybertruck, so you’d probably have to end up wrapping it.
The R1T pickup and R1S SUV promised to be all-electric versions of what American consumers like: big, tough-looking trucks. They’re built to handle off-road conditions and supposedly will run for more than 400 miles with an add-on battery. (Initial deliveries are slated for the end of 2020.)
Moving to the interior, neither of the electric trucks are going for an old-school, classic pickup truck vibe. Instead, both futuristic interiors have clean lines and plenty of techs — it’s not your standard legacy OEM interior littered with knobs, buttons, and dials everywhere.
While it looks like both of these bad boys will handle anything (and everything) the casual owner will throw at it, at this point in time the Cybertruck beats the R1T in every meaningful metric, somehow.
Speaking from a strictly pickup-Esque POV, the Cybertruck has a higher max payload (3,500 lbs. vs. 1,750 lbs.), higher ground clearance (16 in. vs. 14 in.), a longer trunk bed (6.5 ft. vs. 4.5 ft.) and the tri-motor version of the Cybertruck has a higher max towing rating (14,000 lbs. vs. 11,000 lbs.). The single-motor (7,500 lbs.) and dual-motor (10,000 lbs.) versions do however have lower towing ratings as all the Rivian R1T models have the same 11,000 lbs. towing capacity.
However, all the different versions of the R1T have the same 125 mph top speed which beats out the top speed of the single- and dual-motor Cybertrucks but won’t match the 130 mph speed posted by the tri-motor version. The Rivian R1T measures 217 inches from bumper to bumper, 79.3 inches wide, and 71.5 inches tall. At 231 inches long, the Cybertruck has a considerably bigger footprint. It’s 79.8 inches wide and 75 inches tall, so the two models are comparable when it comes to width and height. Rivian pegs the R1T’s weight at 5,886 pounds, while Tesla has chosen not to reveal what its Cybertruck tips the scale at. Odds are it’s in the 6,000-pound ballpark, too.
Transitioning to electric vehicle performance specs, the Cybertruck and R1T do trade some blows depending on what configuration you get. Both will offer three different models.
From a range standpoint, the Cybertruck either beats or ties the Rivian equivalent in range (250 mi vs 230 mi, 300 mi vs 300 mi, 500 mi vs 400 mi). The 0-60 times are more interesting as the single-motor and dual-motor Cybertrucks are beaten by their Rivian equivalents (6.5 sec vs 4.9 sec and 4.5 sec vs 3.0 sec). However, the tri-motor version of the Cybertruck does beat the top-tier R1T and is the overall fastest option. Interestingly enough, the top-tier R1T is not the quickest of the three — instead, it’s the middle battery variant.
The Cybertruck also edges out the R1T in charging speed with the Rivian having a charge rate of 160 kW, while the Cybertruck will presumably have at least a 250 kW charge rate.
FEATURES and MORE
Both the Cybertruck and R1T sport features that are unique to each. The Cybertruck has a few intriguing features that make it more useful to people working with power tools. For instance, it features 110V and 220V power outlets along with an air compressor. Tesla seems to be appealing to blue-collar workers as well as the usual Tesla fan. Both trucks feature different storage features, with the Cybertruck having its “vault” that can lock the truck bed, and Rivian’s “gear tunnel” that will easily fit your skis for a trip to Aspen.
Both companies have also decided to showcase their electric trucks for those who enjoy the camping lifestyle. Rivian has made use of their gear tunnel to house basically a mini kitchenette. Tesla also showed a camping edition of the Cybertruck during its reveal, also featuring a kitchen and tent, but instead of occupying a gear tunnel, it takes up what appears to be the bottom half of the truck bed.
An interesting feature that is worth noting is Rivian’s tank turn which will appear in both the R1T and R1S and made possible by their four individual motors — but it seems like the use case for it is pretty limited.
Rivian pledged the R1T will offer a long list of electronic driving aids, like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, and buyers will be able to order level 3 semiautonomous technology at an extra cost. Level 3 doesn’t make the R1T driverless, far from it, but it can take over on the highway when certain conditions are met, and allow the driver to take his or her attention off the road. There are legal hurdles to clear before making such a system available, however. Audi notably tried to bring its technology to America and decided it wasn’t worth the investment due to the immense amount of red tape it would have needed to clear.
Tesla’s Full-Self Driving option. Tesla’s Autopilot has been getting consistent updates lately. And, as time goes on, it will be hard to imagine how much more advanced it will become by the time the Cybertruck starts deliveries. The Cybertruck is available with Tesla’s Autopilot suite of electronic driving aids, and buyers can pay extra for full self-driving. So, it will be totally autonomous, right? No way. Those who pay extra for full self-driving will get a truck that’s ready to receive autonomous technology when Tesla finalizes it, and when the government declares it’s safe to roll it out. No timeframe has been provided yet, and we expect electric trucks will arrive before self-driving cars.
Interestingly, the battery pack — regardless of its size — will zap four electric motors. Rivian chose to position a motor behind each wheel, rather than one per axle, which is the norm in the electric car segment. This strategy makes the truck a little bit more complex, and more expensive to build, but it’s a real boon off-road because it’s easy to control precisely how much torque is going to each wheel in real-time. In theory, the R1T can be front-, rear-, right-, or left-wheel drive.
Tesla will also offer the Cybertruck with three battery options, but it hasn’t revealed how big each one will be. There’s an entry-level model with 250 miles of range and a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.5 seconds, a midrange model that delivers up to 300 miles of range and takes 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop, and a range-topping model with a 500-mile range and a jaw-dropping 2.9-second zero-to-60-mph time.
What it will Cost You
If you’re not shocked by the design of the Tesla Cybertruck, then the price difference between the two trucks will no doubt be a shock (in a good way).
While Rivian initially stated that their base 105 kWh, 230-mile range R1T would start at around $69,000 that price was later adjusted. More recently, Rivian stated that the $69,000 price would actually be enough for their middle-tier 135 kWh, 300-mile range R1T. At this point we don’t know exact pricing on their base model, nor do we know how high the price will be for their top-tier version.
Regardless, Rivian would have to cut the price of their R1T by a lot if they want to match the base price for the lowest-tiered Cybertruck, which starts at $39,90
EVBite.com and InsideEv.com Infographics
Is rivian better than Tesla?
On top of the powertrain related performance specs and Rivian R1T boasting some incredible speed, and the company so open about what they’re putting under the hood, Tesla has also some big advantages on the form factor — mainly a larger bed, which is important for a lot of pickup owners. As for the base versions, Tesla Cybertruck beats the Rivian R1T in range by 20 miles and it’s almost $30,000 less expensive.