Towing

CappyJax

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So, I have been looking at towing reports of Model X owners. They are reporting as much as a 40% loss of range. I expected it would be pretty high. I also expect that at 11,000 pounds, the range of the R1T might be as low as 150 miles with the large battery back. This would make XC trips a nightmare. Especially considering that almost every charging station would require you to unhitch your trailer.

I have been researching hydrogen fuel cells, as their cost has dropped significantly in recent years. The fuel cells themselves are very small and lightweight. It is the hydrogen tanks that are large and heavy. 300kg for 15kg of hydrogen. However, that would provide around 360kwh at 60% efficiency. That would jump the range back up to around 450 miles. The tanks and fuel cell could be built into the trailer being towed and it could be refueled via Nikola/Nel ASA refueling stations. In addition, the electricity from the fuel cell could be used for RV appliances. Based on my estimated power usage for my "Adventure Home", that should provide over 50 days of electricity with zero solar.

In addition, if you are out camping and taking the R1T for excursions, you have a way to recharge it for extended excursions. The tanks could also be removed from the trailer and would fit in the bed of the R1T and they could be taken to be filled.

At present, the cost per kg of hydrogen is around $14/kg making a fillup cost $210. But hopefully in the next couple years, the increase in demand and quantities of scale will lower that figure. It is believed that it will be as low as $2 per kg in the coming years which would make it far cheaper than a gas or diesel truck.

But even at $14/kg, it wouldn't be all that bad. I now spend over $150 to fill up my RV for a little over 400 miles. and it only weighs 11,000 lbs total. But a $30 fill up would be pretty amazing.

Based on my research, such a system would cost in the area of $15,000. But Rivian would need to have a plugin at the rear of the vehicle capable of 100kw.

Because the Nikola also has large battery packs, I suspect that they will have hydrogen and fast chargers at their fill up stations. I don't know for sure though. It would be nice to get both the tanks and batteries topped off in one spot.

The bed of the Rivian could hold another 9 kg of hydrogen tanks which would increase the range an extra 150 miles or so. This might be a really cool option altogether. If you are going on a long trip and don't need the bed of the truck, you throw in three tanks and a fuel cell, and you can go 880 miles without a trailer. How sweet would that be!
 
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CappyJax

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I used some assumptions to determine the aerodynamic load and rolling resistance, but I came up with 1.6kw/mile at 60mph with an 11,000 pound 13x8.5foot trailer. 112 miles if there is no wind and no grade. This thing would not make it up the Ike with a loaded trailer. For this to be a decent towing rig, you would need 5 tanks of hydrogen on the trailer, and 3 in the bed of the truck.
 

gombater

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Rivian confirmed 7.7k towing capacity for R1S and 11k for R1T in instagram comments...
 

ohmman

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I downloaded the video (attached here) since Instagram doesn't seem to allow you to scrub. I was trying to scrub back and forth on the hitch section to see what kind of hitch they were using and whether they were using weight distribution. It appears they are using weight distribution bars, but the section showing that portion is short and filmed at a relatively tight angle.

I've circled what appear to be the bars and the connections on the trailer A-frame for the bars.
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CappyJax

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I downloaded the video (attached here) since Instagram doesn't seem to allow you to scrub. I was trying to scrub back and forth on the hitch section to see what kind of hitch they were using and whether they were using weight distribution. It appears they are using weight distribution bars, but the section showing that portion is short and filmed at a relatively tight angle.

I've circled what appear to be the bars and the connections on the trailer A-frame for the bars.

You might have had your audio off, but the first thing he says in the video is "I am attaching a weight distribution hitch."

A lot of people think you don't need a weight distribution hitch with leveling airbags, but that is not true at all. Leveling the vehicle does almost nothing for stability and steering control. A weight distribution hitch will both help to level the load and puts more weigh on the steer axle.

Personally, I am a big fan of Hensley style hitches. I have one on my travel travel I pull with a Transit van. It completely eliminates all sway.
 

ohmman

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Boy, I’d make the worst CSI detective!

“I see some possible DNA under the handle of this dresser!”

“Sir, the killer confessed a week ago.”

I totally agree on WD. And I also like the Hensley style hitches but they add a lot of tongue weight so I’ve towed with a friction sway solution to date.
 

electruck

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It will be interesting to see if this towing exercise is still with the 135 kWh battery or if they will demo what the 180 kWh pack is capable of.
 
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CappyJax

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Boy, I’d make the worst CSI detective!

“I see some possible DNA under the handle of this dresser!”

“Sir, the killer confessed a week ago.”

I totally agree on WD. And I also like the Hensley style hitches but they add a lot of tongue weight so I’ve towed with a friction sway solution to date.
It is about 70 pounds more than a friction hitch with bars. My Transit 250 van rides perfectly level ones I cinch up the bars.
 

ohmman

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It is about 70 pounds more than a friction hitch with bars. My Transit 250 van rides perfectly level ones I cinch up the bars.
My Model X tongue weight limit is 500 lbs, and I'm already close with my Airstream when it's loaded, plus the Equal-i-zer hitch. When/if I get my R1T, I'll likely join you in the Hensley/ProPride club.
 

skyote

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Also, I wonder what other testing/benchmarking is going on. There is a Jeep Wrangler, some sort of Nissan CUV/SUV, and a Land Rover Defender 110. I saw several Dodge trucks in the other towing video as well.

I hope we get to hear or see the results of whatever comparitive testing they're doing!

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R1Simon

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Has anyone commented on the headlight design? Assuming they ditched the Stadium design 4 lights/headlight just for test vehicles?
headlights.png
 
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