Rivian filed for a “Tank Turn” patent in 2019 Toyota did the same thing in 2020 Ford authorities A few months later, in 2020, Toyota discovered that Ford had done the same thing. In an application published this month called “Tank Rotation Methods and Equipment,” Ford engineers described using a car with two electric motors to rotate the tank clockwise and counterclockwise, Ford still does not have an EV with more than two motors. Rivian, who rationally started all this, showed off their tanks in relation to quad-motor R1T pickups and R1S SUVs, where each wheel could be applied to turn the truck into place. Rivian has not yet introduced the feature in its vehicles, so it is possible that other manufacturers may lose startups in the market.
Ford’s method runs one wheel on each axle, applying the brakes to hold the opposite wheel. To turn clockwise, the left front wheel rotates forward, the right rear wheel rotates counterclockwise, the other two wheels are braked. An airbag suspension is also called in play, to reduce the suspension load on the wheels that rotates during the maneuver. You could consider this technique a more complex evolution of the Ford Bronco Trail Turn Assist feature that locks the inner rear wheel during turning to reduce the turning radius. Adding an electric motor and another brake to turn a car on a skid steer makes Ford’s approach, like the Revian, best confined to a loose surface. The patent explains that the car must approve the strategy.
That’s not all from Ford, either. Another patent application released earlier this month showed a version of the GMC Hummer crab walk, but added the ability for each axle wheel to point toward each other (too far between the toes) or too far apart (too far out of the toes). And there was another patent application for four-wheel steering in Super Duty that did not involve an electric motor, only Axel with Ackerman geometry. Rotational gymnastics is going to be another battleground for EVI, and Ford’s busy loading of ammunition.