Automobile

Rivian patents another maneuverability trick enabled by quad-motor layout

The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck hasn’t reached customers yet, but yet another potential new feature has leaked out. Rivian has filed a patent application for a “K-Turn Mode” that could make turning around in tight spaces a lot easier.

First spotted by a Rivian Owners Forum user, the application describes using motor torque to turn the vehicle. Forward torque would be provided to the front wheels while they are turned, while backward torque would simultaneously be applied to the rear wheels, according to the application.

Rivian hasn’t discussed the production-readiness of this feature, and it’s worth noting that automakers often file patent applications for features even without definite plans to use them. Rivian has discussed a “tank turn” mode, which would allow the R1T to spin around in its own length, like the eponymous tracked military vehicle.

Maneuverability tricks are becoming obligatory for the many high-end electric trucks in the works.

Rivian

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter last week that the Cybertruck will have four-wheel steering, an important thing, as the Cybertruck is expected to be very large.

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV will have four-wheel steering (something GMC pioneered on pickup trucks in the early 2000s) as well, but will also have a “Crab Mode” that will allow it to move sideways to get out of tight spaces, GMC claims.

In-wheel motors, such as what Lordstown Motors has been developing for its Endurance pickup, could potentially be used for some of the same kinds of maneuvers.

So could Magna’s e-Beam, which allows precise control of either wheel while fitting into the layout of a traditional solid-axle truck.



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