Who Will Release the Tank Turn First, Ford or Rivian?

Electric vehicles are inspiring all types of innovations—and races to bring those new ideas to consumers. Will the fight for first-place turn Ford and Rivan against each other?
Written by Andrew Koole
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Ford and Rivian
aren’t exactly competitors. The legacy car brand invested $1.2 billion in the
electric vehicle
startup and has a 12% stake in the company. But in one respect, their relationship is looking more like an old school dual than a partnership.
I’m talking about an innovation first seen in a Rivian promo video showing its R1T electric pickup intentionally spinning on a dial in a similar way to a tank. The video was posted two years ago, but only recently has a patent been requested for the technology—by Ford.
How did Ford get their hands on the “Tank Turn” concept? Will the blue oval install it in its vehicles before its younger peer?
, your car ownership
super app
, dug around to find out.

What exactly is the “Tank Turn”?

The idea presented in Rivian’s video shows the R1T’s left and right wheels spinning in opposite directions, allowing the pickup to spin like a top. The truck’s four electric motors make this capability easier to perform, but as of now, it’s not featured in the R1T. 
Ford’s electric truck, the
F-150 Lightning
, doesn’t have four motors—it has two. So in order to execute a “tank-turn,”
Inside EVs
(IEVs) says it needs to rely on gears or the ability to apply lock to all four wheels. It would also need a controller to apply proper suspension load to each wheel.
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Other automakers have similar ideas

Ford and Rivian might be duking it out for “Tank Turn” ownership, but they aren’t the only automakers playing around with new wheel directions for electric vehicles. 
IEVs says Toyota filed a patent in 2019 for a similar gear-reliant concept to what Ford would use for its dual-motor powertrain. GMC has also produced novel direction-controls in the
Hummer EV
like “Crab Walk” mode, which allows all four wheels to turn at the same time.

Will Ford and Rivian’s “Tank Turn” and other new features make electric vehicles more expensive?

New features like “Quad-Motor Tank Turn” and “Crab Walk” mode are intended to impress new customers, but they also make vehicles more expensive. Automakers generally offer them as optional upgrades, though, so you can keep your sticker price low by opting out.
Knowing all your options is important when you’re looking to buy a new car, both at the dealership and as you shop for
car insurance
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