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A silver 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is shown from the side while driving off-road after leaving a dealer that advertised having a F-150 Lightning for sale.

Just How Fast is the First Wave of EV Trucks?

For decades, truck fans have been arguing over which models are the most powerful and provide the highest capabilities in terms of towing and payload. While that’s not about to go away any time soon, there’s a new metric in which truck manufacturers are competing with each other: speed! Whether you’re interested in an F-150 Lightning for sale or are just curious about the kind of performance electric pickups bring to the table, the good news is that some folks have already started running tests to see just how fast these gasless pickups actually are.

Recently, some real-world testing was performed by the folks on The Fast Lane Truck YouTube channel, and the results have been pretty eye-opening. They wanted to take a look at how fast the currently available EV trucks really are, not just go off the numbers provided by manufacturers. They tested two versions of the Ford F-150 Lighting, the Rivian R1T, and the GMC Hummer EV pickup––since the Tesla Cybertruck is still nowhere to be seen, it wasn’t a part of this testing. They also noted how the F-150 Lightning compared to the beefy Ram 1500 TRX in previous testing, though it wasn’t there on the day to go up against the other EV trucks.

The Trucks in Question

Before looking at the results of their testing, let’s take a moment to go over which trucks they used in their races. For starters, they had two different Ford F-150 Lightning models to see how they compared to each other and the rest of the pickups on hand. One was an F-150 Lightning Pro, which is the starting trim for this model, and the other was an F-150 Lightning Lariat––this isn’t the absolute highest trim, but it’s quite a bit nicer. The Lariat is nearly double the price of the Pro, but more importantly, it has an Extended Range battery for greater power.

Up against these two Ford models was a Rivian R1T, which is one of the most impressive EV trucks on the market right now. Rivian is a recent startup, and while it has struggled a bit to actually make it to market, now that its trucks are hitting the road, they definitely have some solid power to them. Finally, the channel included the GMC Hummer EV, which is available as a truck and will soon be joined by an SUV model. This is a high-end option with a lot of power, and it shows off the Watts to Freedom launch system that GMC has been working on.

A silver 2022 Rivian R1T is shown parked on sand.

Race One: Lightning vs Lightning

The first race The Fast Lane Truck ran pitted the two F-150 Lightning models against each to see how they would compare. Both of these trucks have all-wheel drive thanks to a pair of electric motors, so there wasn’t much difference there, but the Lightning Lariat has the Extended Range battery, while the Lightning Pro has the Standard Range battery. Not only does this give the Lariat nearly 100 miles more range from a full charge, but it gives the Lariat 580 hp compared to the Pro’s 452 hp.

In the end, the results of this first race were about what you’d expect: the Lightning Pro is lighter in weight thanks to having fewer features and the smaller battery pack, so it raced off the line quicker than the heavier Lariat, but the Extended Range battery put out more power, so the Lariat caught up and surpassed the Pro within the quarter-mile. The numbers were quite close though: the Pro ran the quarter in 13.21 seconds with a top speed of 106.2 mph, while the Lariat did it in 13.07 seconds and hit 107 mph. It’s worth noting that when Car and Driver tested the F-150 Lightning Platinum, they got it to run a quarter-mile in just 12.7 seconds.

It’s also worth noting that The Fast Lane Truck previously tested the Lightning against the impressive Ram 1500 TRX––and the TRX ran the quarter-mile in 13.69 seconds. So despite the TRX having an insane 702 hp supercharged engine, the EV models are simply faster.

Race Two: Lightning vs Rivian

After that first round of tests, they then pitted the F-150 Lightning Lariat, the previous winner, against the Rivian R1T. What’s particularly important to this test are two significant differences between these two trucks. First, the Lightning Lariat has two motors, but the Rivian is powered by four motors. Second, the Lariat has a speed limiter set at 110 mph, which the Rivian doesn’t.

Did double the motors make a difference? Yes, it did. In the test, the Rivian hopped off the line quicker than the Lightning and never let up, staying on top throughout the quarter-mile. The results: the Lightning was soundly beaten as the Rivian ran the quarter in just 11.89 seconds and hit a top speed of 112.1 mph. More motors really do matter.

Race Three: Rivian vs Hummer EV

For the final matchup, they paired the Rivian R1T from the previous round against a GMC Hummer EV truck. The Hummer EV is one of the most luxurious electric pickups on the road and is one of the first clear examples we’re getting of what GM has been working on with its Ultium battery platform. It’s a gorgeous truck decked out with fantastic amenities and impressive technology––in particular, it features a Watts to Freedom system that is essentially an EV launch control technology designed for quick acceleration.

In this final race, the Watts to Freedom system really showed what it can do as the Hummer EV lunged off the starting line, leaving the Rivian well behind it. But the Hummer EV only has three motors, so it still failed to keep up with the power of the Rivian, and the R1T managed to catch up with the Hummer and ultimately pass it by, winning this race again. Although the Hummer EV couldn’t win the race, it still managed to run the quarter-mile in 12.23 seconds and really demonstrated the impressiveness of the Watts to Freedom system.

A silver 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup is shown from a high angle while driving off-road.

Bonus Round: Hummer EV Launch

In fact, the guys running these tests were so impressed by this launch control feature that they used it again to clock the Hummer’s 0-60 time. Using this new technology, the GMC Hummer EV, which weighs over 9,000 lbs, went from 0-60 MPH in just 3.65 seconds. It’s worth noting they didn’t have it on the best tires possible for the job, and Car and Driver ran the same test and got the Hummer EV to go 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. For comparison, the supercharged Camaro ZL1 went 0-60 in 3.4 seconds in Car and Driver testing, so yeah…

What This Means Going Forward

The results of these tests really showcase just how much power manufacturers are packing into these electric trucks––not only for impressive towing but also for incredible performance. Despite the fact the Rivian R1T was the clear winner on the day, with the fastest quarter-mile time, there’s something to be said for the Ford F-150 Lightning Pro. Yes, it took about 1.3 seconds longer to run a quarter mile than the Rivian, but it also costs about half as much. The fact that you can get a full-size electric truck with impressive towing and crazy performance, starting at about $40k, is exceptional and signals to me that the era of electric trucks is starting strong, and this is just the beginning. Now, if only Tesla can actually do what it says and deliver the Cybertruck sometime next year, we could see how well it performs.

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