When Rivian sought to attract customers and vehicle reservations were available, there was talk of a highly exceptional feature. It promised the ability to turn the vehicle in place, similar to tanks. The wheels on the left side would rotate in the opposite direction to those on the right during such a maneuver. However, a recent statement by the company’s CEO mentions that Rivian is unlikely to add this feature after all.
An impressive feature with negative consequences
Prospective buyers were informed that the “tank-turn” would be added to the vehicle’s features later on and would not be immediately available upon delivery. The company first mentioned the feature in December 2019, but its implementation has been delayed several times since then. Recently, the company engaged with its fans virtually on Instagram, conducting a live Q&A session, which can be replayed on Rivian’s YouTube channel.
The CEO of the automaker, RJ Scaringe, explained that the in-place turn could have destructive consequences. The company aims to align its thinking with nature and, therefore, will not implement potentially conflicting features in its vehicles. The tank-turn is the fastest option for turning a vehicle in a very small space. However, since it requires the vehicle to be on a soft and loose surface, it could damage the defined path while maneuvering.
Will other automakers follow Rivian’s lead in implementing the “tank-turn” maneuver?
During a tank-like maneuver, the vehicle generates significant rotational force, causing it to dig into the ground while turning. Rivian’s leadership aims to prevent such a scenario. However, according to other reports, this move may also mean that the manufacturer will likely restrict or completely prohibit rear-wheel steering, commonly known as the K-turn. This feature is utilized by many large and particularly long vehicles to reduce the turning radius.
Rivian has clearly explained and defended its reasons for halting the development of this function. Nonetheless, there are other manufacturers who would like to incorporate this feature into their vehicles. So far, no such manufacturer has expressed similar concerns. Mercedes-Benz is considering deploying it in their upcoming electric SUV, the EQG, and Chinese company BYD is also considering it for their Yangwang U8 model.