One of the primary benefits of an electric vehicle is that all of the torque is available instantly, making for some impressive takeoffs from stop lights; however, Rivian’s latest innovation is proving there is at least one other stunning advantage: The tank turn.
Rivian’s released a video showing the R1T truck performing what it describes as the tank turn, a 180-degree turn, like a tank. The EV truck maker’s electric powertrain is designed to allow the electric motors on each axle to spin the truck’s right wheels in the opposite direction of the left wheels.
The Detroit-based company revealed the new capability in a video it tweeted out Christmas morning. The feature will reportedly be available on the truck and R1S sport-utility vehicle.
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The tank-like function was accidently revealed this past summer when a video of it performing the maneuver turned upon YouTube, according to Autoblog.com. However, the video was quickly pulled and the issue was never really addressed until the video appeared in tweet yesterday.
Although the feature isn’t currently available on any other car, truck or utility vehicle, that’s not because it’s a difficult engineering trick. At least not for an electric vehicle anyway as it really as simple as adding the code to the vehicle’s computer.
Tank turn shouldn’t be that big a surprise really, as Rivian trademarked the terms Tank Turn and Tank Steer in October 2018, which hints the feature could wear either name, Autoblog reported.
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Off-road warriors are really whom tank turn is aimed at, if the video provides any clue to its use. Additionally, it’s likely to be as simply pushing a button, much like vehicles with automatic parking. However, the company warns that its called Tank Turn and not Donut Mode for a reason, Autoblog reported, noting that attempting the move on tarmac will likely break something.
The new vehicles are expected to hit roads in early 2021 with production beginning late 2020. The company is progressing toward those dates with a fresh round of cash, after raising $1.3 billion, led by mutual fund giant T Rowe Price. It was the fourth large investment in Rivian this year and the company’s largest funding round so far. Amazon and Ford Motor also took part in the latest round.
The funding is a vote of confidence in Rivian, which expects to start delivering a truck and a sport-utility vehicle next year. But it also underscores the company’s need for capital. Investments in the company in 2019 have raised $2.85 billion, observers said.
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The Rivian designs include a chassis with electric motors, batteries, and controls that can fit into a variety of body styles. Rivian had a valuation of $5 billion to $7 billion before this round and has set itself up for a duel with Tesla in the key truck and utility-vehicle segments, which are now the dominant hunting grounds for new vehicle buyers in the U.S.