The Rivian R1T and R1S won't be getting a tank turn function after all. Despite having initially promised such a feature for the electric adventure truck, and even posting a video of it in action, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe confirmed during a Q&A session that it's been called off. Not only will be absent on the brand's current models, but it won't be available on any Rivian for the foreseeable future.
A few years ago, the internet became fascinated by the tank turn. Both Rivian and Mercedes showed electric off-roaders performing similar party tricks, and it quickly became the dude-bro talking point any time someone mentioned a battery-powered 4x4. Until it wasn't. Shortly after Rivian's initial tank turn announcement, many off-road enthusiasts rightly pointed out that tank turns are actually pretty damaging to trails, leaving big ruts and divots that damage the environment. And it's for that very reason that Scaringe says the tank turn is getting the axe.
"Over the last, I guess, 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 trails and do things that are in contrast with what we stand for as a company," Scaringe said.
EVs are capable of pulling off this stunt thanks to their various motors that can control the wheels independently of one another. In the R1T's case, the plan was to issue a future software update that allowed it to spin in place with some wheels going forward and the others going backward. Features like the Ford Bronco's Trail Turn Assist are different, mainly because they lock the inside rear wheel while the others spin to help the truck turn tighter.
It's interesting to see Rivian pull the plug on this as it already went through the development and testing process, which couldn't have been cheap. To reverse course on something that not only cost money but had many customers excited shows some real conviction toward being respectful to the land and trails that off-road enthusiasts want to explore. Of course, if such a function were to ship on the R1T, it would be up to owners to use it responsibly. It seems, though, that Scaringe and Rivian would prefer to not have their trucks perform tank turns at all.
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