Rivian first confirmed the tank turn feature for the R1T and R1S in December 2019, but the EV maker has postponed its introduction several times since then.
In September 2021, for example, the EV startup said it was delaying the turn-on-a-dime feature, announcing reservation holders that Tank Turn would not be available on the R1T at the start of deliveries.
Now, however, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has announced that the feature might not be offered at all. In an Instagram Q&A session on May 26 that was later uploaded on Rivian’s YouTube channel, he explained why Tank Turn will likely never make it into a Rivian production truck: because the feature has the potential to be really destructive to the environment.
While Rivian is able to implement the Tank Turn, Scaringe said that it simply goes against the company’s messaging to tread lightly, i.e. its recommendations to customers to respect the trails and not leave ruts or damage.
“Over the last year, 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 really do things that are in contrast to what we stand for as a company,” he explained.
As Green Car Reports pointed out, this likely means the K-Turn Mode is also gone, although Scaringe did not mention anything about it.
Rivian’s CEO reminded viewers what the Tank Turn feature is about, explaining how “you can create a torque moment where the vehicle rotates on its center axis like a tank” thanks to the instantaneous torque of electric motors plus an array of sophisticated controls and a feedback loop.
The feature is made possible by applying propulsion to the wheels in opposite directions on the left and right sides of the vehicle, in a very controlled manner, using all four of the electric motors in the Quad Motor R1T and R1S trucks, provided the surface is slippery enough.
While Rivian appears to have decided that Tank Turn’s downsides outweigh its benefits, other automakers are still promoting a similar feature for their upcoming electric SUVs, most notably Mercedes-Benz for the EQG and BYD for the Yangwang U8.