Turning a Rivian’s wheels in opposite directions for Tank Turn churns up a lot of dirt, hurting trails, the automaker’s CEO says
June 2, 2023 at 14:31
by Sebastien Bell
Back in 2019, when Rivian was showing off all of the neat tricks its electric powertrain would allow its vehicles to perform, it showed off a feature it called “Tank Turn.” However, the driving mode has not made it into any vehicles that are in customers’ hands, and now we know why.
Or, more accurately, we know the official reason that Rivian’s CEO, R.J. Scaringe, is crediting with the decision to not offer the feature. In a recent Instagram Q&A, the executive said that it was concern for the trails under its vehicles that prompted the decision.
“Over the last year and a half, we’ve arrived at the view that it’s a feature that, while we can do it, it’s so easily abused and so hard to make sure that we don’t tear up the trails and really do things that are in contrast to what we stand for as a company,” said Scaringe.
Tank Turn is made possible by the R1T‘s quad-motor electric powertrain, which can turn the front and rear wheels in opposite directions. While the feature is undeniably nifty, and could be useful on a trail, it’s not hard to imagine how it could cause a heavy electric truck with off-road tires to really tear up the ground beneath it.
Although that might be the official reason for not including the feature in production vehicles, it might not be the only reason for it. In 2021, Motor Trend reported that Tank Turn can actually be kind of scary.
advertisement scroll to continue
“Rivian discovered the amount of power needed to get all four wheels spinning results in a lot of wheel speed, which ends up making the truck spin around very fast,” the outlet reported. “From the inside of the truck, it’s a hell of a ride, so much so there’s concern it’ll scare drivers who aren’t ready for it, which could result in a loss of control if the driver panics.”
Although Rivian has decided against putting Tank Turn into production, it’s not the only company that has toyed with the idea. In 2018, Schaeffler put four Formula E motors into an Audi RS3 and showed how it could do donuts. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has incorporated a similar feature into its electric G-Class, the EQG, which it calls the “G-turn”.