How Well Does The Rivian R1T Take Tow-Charging?

Manufacturers don’t really want you to use electric vehicles’ regenerative braking to charge the battery, but it adds back range surprisingly quickly as has been demonstrated many times before. But what happens when you tow the new quad-motor Rivian R1T to charge it?

EV YouTuber Ben Sullins just got his very own R1T recently and after driving it from 100 percent state of charge until the vehicle died on the side of the road, now he’s back with another video on his new truck. In this one he attempts to tow-charge the vehicle after its battery had been completely depleted, but he does run into some problems…

First, when they try to tow the Rivian in neutral (because it wouldn’t go into drive when dead), and not only does that not activate the regen, but the vehicle kept slamming on its brakes; it does not have a tow mode implemented yet. Or a dyno mode for that matter and this reminds us of that one attempt to measure the truck’s power on a dyno, which didn’t work out because the vehicle kept thinking it was going to hit the wall of the garage where the rolling road was installed.

So Ben had to first have his R1T transported to a nearby charger, where he left it to gain some range back. Then he tried towing it in D and unsurprisingly it worked, adding miles back considerably quicker than the 6 kW charger that he used in the video. It’s not easy to do, though, because the vehicle apparently will only allow itself to be towed in D if the driver lightly presses the go pedal in order to tell it that the forward movement is accepted.

Otherwise, it just applies the brakes and stops the vehicle. And when it does that, not even another R1T can move it, as is demonstrated in the video. It also shows that tow-charging this Rivian is tricker than in some other EVs, but if you ever get stuck somewhere and this is your only option, then yes, it does work, but the vehicle is not really happy to let you do it.

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