Rivian R1S Towing Capacity: A Comprehensive Guide 


Photo Courtesy Of Rivian

Towing is an important aspect of a vehicle for many adventurers. Towing capacity matters when you are trying to haul a camper or a couple of four-wheelers up the side of a mountain. This will definitely be an aspect of the new Rivian R1S that will be looked at by adventurers interested in buying this car. 

What is the Rivian R1S towing capacity? The Rivian R1S has a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds and that is the same with all of the variants. Most SUVs around the size of the R1S are going to have a towing capacity of about 5,000. Rivian does warn that if you tow to the maximum capacity your range will be cut by 50 percent. 

The R1S delivers an immense amount of torque and power for its size. With a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, Rivian’s R1S competes with vehicles that are much bigger in size than itself. Other vehicles that have that kind of towing capacity are usually bigger trucks yet the R1S is only a normal-sized SUV. A lot of factors go into a vehicle’s towing capacity which I will be discussing later. 

Payload Capacity

Real quickly, in case you don’t know what is meant by payload capacity, payload capacity is just another way to say how much your car is able to carry on the interior of the car. This would include passengers in the car and anything you are carrying in any of the storage spaces in the car. According to caranddriver.com, the Rivian R1S has a payload capacity of 1800 pounds. 

From my experience, most SUVs have a payload capacity of 1,200 to 1,500 pounds. Again, the R1S is above average, so what gives? Why is the R1S able to deliver more power and hauling capacity than other vehicles its size? The key is torque. If you haven’t heard, you might be interested to hear that electric vehicles have an uncanny talent to deliver a lot of torque. 

Torque is the power something has to turn or rotate in a circular shape, so exactly what you want your wheels to do. Usually, the higher level of torque your vehicle gives the higher your car’s towing capacity is going to be. Historically vehicles have had to have large diesel or gasoline engines to deliver the torque a truck or car needs to haul something but electric vehicles are a little different.

Electric vehicles don’t have a gasoline or diesel engine that gives them their power but rather electric engines. Internal combustion vehicles rely on the combustion of fuel to rotate a crankshaft that then rotates other gears and parts that eventually reach your wheels. Electric cars get to skip all of the gears and parts in between and get to convert electrical energy directly into rotational energy for the wheels.

 It is the same case for the R1S. There is a lot that goes into this cool phenomenon and if you want to know more about why electric cars have so much torque check out some of the other articles I have written on the subject that can be found on this blog. In the other articles, I go deeper into how electric cars produce this torque.

Tongue Weight Capacity

Rivian’s R1S has a tongue weight capacity of 810 pounds per Rivian Owner’s Forum. All that means is that of the 7,700 pounds that the R1S can tow 810 of the pounds that can be put onto the tongue or the part where the trailer connects to the car. The rest of that 7,700 pounds should be put on the wheels of the trailer. 

Another thing that you should be aware of is that if you are towing to the full capacity of 7,700 pounds you need to calculate that 810 pounds that will be on the tongue into the car’s payload weight capacity because that is how much weight will be on the car itself. Even though the payload capacity of the R1S is 1,800, if you were towing 7,700 pounds you could only have 990 pounds worth of cargo and passengers in the car. 

Fuel Mileage While Towing

Rivian makes it known on its website (after it states the towing capacity of the R1S) that if you are going to haul 7,700 pounds worth of materials then you can expect the range of your R1S to be reduced by 50%. The Rivian R1S has an EPA estimated range of 316 miles when you have the standard 21-inch tires on the car, so if you were to have that you would have a range of 158 miles. 

The same thing happens with even conventional gasoline-fueled cars, the more weight you have the fewer miles per gallon you are going to get. It is the same principle with electric cars. If you have more weight than your car has to pull and move forward, it is going to have to use more energy which will lead to the car pulling more energy from the battery and you will run out of charge faster. 

Can You Increase The Towing Capacity?

Perhaps you have a giant camping trailer or maybe you are just curious and want to know if it is possible to increase the towing capacity of your R1S. For more conventional cars, there are many ways that you can increase your towing capacity. For your average truck or SUV, you can increase the towing capacity by doing things such as upgrading your suspension system, upgrading your axles, upgrading your tow hitch, and upgrading your radiator.

All of these options include customizing your car in a sense, but the only problem is that the Rivian R1S is a very new vehicle and also unique to conventional vehicles so there are not many options for upgrading or changing the parts on your R1S. This means that the option of upgrading certain parts of your R1S isn’t a very realistic option. If you can’t increase the towing capacity of your R1S in those ways mentioned, then what can you do to get more out of your R1S? 

I think with the R1S, a better term to use is “optimizing” the towing capacity of your R1S rather than increasing it necessarily. Something you can do to optimize your towing capacity is to make sure your vehicle is well charged before trying to tow anything. Because towing your electric vehicle uses a much larger amount of electricity than when it isn’t towing anything. You will use up your car’s charge very quickly, so it is important your car has the energy it needs to make the journey or the next charging station. 

Another thing you can do to help your engine is to do your best to keep it cool. It isn’t very likely that your engine will overheat but it will be under a lot of strain when towing a full load. Doing things like trying to park in shade can help keep that engine temperature down so you can have optimum engine performance. 

Weight distribution is another factor that you can control to help get the most out of the towing capacity of your R1S. If you carry less in the actual vehicle then you will have more weight you can put into your trailer or camper. On the other hand, if you are carrying a car full of people and all of their stuff you need to make sure to factor that into how much you are towing so you can avoid damaging your vehicle.

 It is suggested that you only have 1800 pounds on the tongue of the R1S so make sure you don’t have all of the weight piled as close as you can to the car. The best place to put the largest amount of weight is usually on the center of the wheels of the trailer or camper that you are towing. Make sure you start off easy and don’t overload your R1S. And make sure you are comfortable hauling, say a load of 3,500 pounds before you go for the full 7,700. 

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