Is this what they call “spin”?
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has announced that one of the electric truck brand’s most pivotal features will not be making it to production.
Scaringe held a video Q&A session on Instagram that has also been posted to YouTube, where he addressed over two dozen topics.
One of the questions centered around a “tank turn” capability that had been demonstrated with prototype vehicles, and if it would ever be added to customer vehicles.
The feature takes advantage of the design of the top Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV, which have four individual motors driving each wheel independently. By powering the two on each side in opposite directions, it is possible to make the vehicle spin in place like a tank on loose surfaces.
Rivian planned to show it off in person when the truck made its debut in Los Angeles in 2019, but a representative at the time told Fox News Digital that the company did not want to tear up the grounds of the Griffith Observatory, where the event was taking place.
The company followed it up with a video demonstrating the feature on dirt, but it was not active when sales of the R1T began in 2021. Rivian said it was still fine-tuning it to make sure it only worked on perfectly flat surfaces for safety, and that a software update would unlock it in the future. Scaringe confirmed in the video that it will not be happening, but for a different reason.
“Over the last 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,” Scaringe said in the Q&A video.
“This was something that we just felt, didn’t feel congruous with the way we approach respecting the trails, taking care of the trails, and not leaving ruts and those sorts of things.”
That is not to say the feature will not be available on an electric truck soon.
Following the reveal of the Rivians and the launch of the GMC Hummer EV, which has a four-wheel-steering system that allows it to drive diagonally, Elon Musk announced that the Cybertruck would be updated with similar features.
The Cybertruck was initially advertised with a tri-motor drivetrain, but Musk said that was being updated to a four-motor setup and that it would have four-wheel-steering.
“Will have both front and rear wheel steer, so not just like a tank – it can drive diagonally like a crab,” Musk Tweeted in 2021.
Tesla has since demonstrated a Cybertruck prototype with four-wheel-steering, but one has not yet been seen performing a tank turn.