Comparisons are as odious as they are inevitable. And in the land of pick-ups, the United States, comparisons are happening as new wedge electric pick-ups like the Ford F-150 Lightning or the Rivian R1T hit the streets. The last comparison does not have to do with the pure benefits of one and the other, but with the phantom discharge of your batteries -the discharge that occurs while stopped, without being used-. And it seems that the Rivian R1T has a problem.
All batteries are discharged even if they are at rest, apparently doing nothing. It happens with the 12-volt batteries of any car, with the battery of a laptop and with the high-voltage battery of an electric car. Even if the vehicle or device in question is stopped, the chemical reaction that causes the battery to discharge continues to take place, albeit more slowly. Perhaps it has ever happened to you: when you have wanted to use a battery-powered device again after a long time, it turns out that it is discharged.
On the YouTube channel EV Buyers Guide They wanted to find out which electric pick-up uses its battery the fastest while it is parked, doing absolutely nothing for almost two weeks. The two contenders have been the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T, two models that, although they have a different approach and approach, at a technical and performance level they have a certain similarity.
The comparison in question begins with the battery of both models at 100%. The two pick-ups are left parked for 13 days straight, without any movement. In the case of the Rivian R1T, the youtuber deactivated the ‘Gear Guard’ mode that controls the perimeter of the vehicle with several cameras and saves the images in the event of an incident. This system, similar to Tesla’s ‘Sentinel Mode’, puts the car into a “silent alert” state that logically needs power to run. But since it is a system that does not equip the Ford, it was deactivated in the Rivian to be on equal terms.
After 13 days, when starting the Rivian R1T there is a not too pleasant surprise: had lost 27% of the battery charge without having moved from your parking lot. In contrast, the Ford F-150 Lightning continued to show 100% charge on the computer, although it had lost eight kilometers (five miles) of autonomy.
The Rivian R1T loses about 1.8% charge daily during those 13 days. Taking into account that its battery has a capacity of 130 kWh, we are talking about 2.4 kWh spent per day while stationary. This power drain could be due to the R1T trying to keep the battery temperature in a suitable range, even in a sleep state. The car’s electronics seem, in general, to stay on higher alert than the Ford’s: when restarted, the Rivian’s multimedia system turns on much faster than the Ford’s, which seems to have a hard time waking up from its small hibernation.
In one of the pending updates that the Rivian R1T has, the brand talks about an improvement in the loss of autonomy during the night (or in a state of rest), assuring that they have improved this aspect by 15%. After upgrading, the youtuber discovers that the loss is even greater, losing 7% battery in 3 days. In those same days, the F-150 Lightning has lost 0% (according to the computer) and the Kia EV6 that is also testing, 2%.
As we said, the discharge while at rest or the “phantom” discharge happens to any lithium battery and, therefore, to all electric cars to a lesser or greater extent. But without a doubt, the case of the Rivian R1T could be considered anomalous since it is a very important loss and, ultimately, it is a poor use of energy. On the positive side of the scale, if that energy is used to keep the battery temperature within a certain range, that expense could extend battery life.