Last November, Michigan-based electric vehicle startup Rivian hit the ground running with the debut of its attractive and seemingly quite capable R1T electric pickup truck, which was followed by the arrival of the similarly impressive R1S electric SUV shortly thereafter.
The Rivian R1T has generated plenty of hype among pickup truck-crazy North Americans. The electric vehicle industry had never before seen a production-ready pickup, and the R1T would be impressive for an established automaker - let alone a brand-new company like Rivian. The start-up is promising the production R1T will have more than 600 kilometres of range with the largest battery pack, more than 750 horsepower with the quad-motor powertrain and a 4,900 kilogram (11,000 lb) towing capacity.
That same quad-motor powertrain may enable another feature that is sure to set the Rivian R1T apart - Tank Turn. If you know anything about tanks (and we'd understand if you don't) you may know that they are able to turn on a dime or pivot by applying torque to only the outside tread and locking the inside tread. Rivian demonstrated a manoeuvre of this type in a video it released last year entitled 'The Clean Escape', which featured a clip of a digitally rendered R1T making a sharp turn in place on a loose dirt surface. The video has since been taken down, possibly in an attempt to keep the feature secret until the truck officially launches.
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While that clip was CGI and the Rivian R1T is only a concept for now, the Tank Turn may actually arrive on the production version of the pickup. AutoTRADER.ca dug up a trademark application for the term '"Tank Turn," which Rivian IP Holdings filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Novemebr 1st, 2019, and then with the European Intellectual Property Office on November 8th, 2019. The trademark is classified for use with transmissions, steering units and motors on SUVs and trucks, the two filings indicate.
Rivian probably wouldn't want to lock the term "Tank Turn" down if it didn't intend on using it in promotional material for the production R1T and R1S and in other forms of media. The company is proud of its Tank Turn technology, it seems, and doesn't want any other automaker to take ownership of the admittedly very cool term before its first products launch in late 2020 and early 2021. After all, why do a lowly three-point turn when you can just Tank Turn?