The application describes the use of motor torque to turn the vehicle. Forward torque would be applied to the front wheels while they are turned, while backward torque would simultaneously be applied to the rear wheels, according to the application.
The patent application noted the effect of this torque application: “the rear wheels of the vehicle remain substantially in static contact with a ground while the front wheels slip in relation to the ground.” In other words, the vehicle turns in place up front while the rear wheels stay mostly in the same position.
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. However, Rivian’s use of four independently-controlled electric motors should make this feature possible.
That same powertrain setup will also enable the R1T and R1S to perform a “tank turn,” spinning a full 360 degrees in their own length, Rivian claims. That’s accomplished by spinning the left and right wheels in opposite directions, the company has said.
Both vehicles ride on the same skateboard platform, and will launch with a 135-kwh battery pack that will afford an estimated 300 miles of range. Smaller and larger packs—the latter enabling a claimed 400-mile range—will be available after launch. Rivian has also quoted 0-60 mph acceleration of 3.0 seconds for both vehicles, plus an 11,000-pound towing capacity for the R1T and a 7,700-pound towing capacity for the R1S.
Rivian previously said deliveries of the R1T would start in June 2021, but the company still hasn’t confirmed the first deliveries. R1S deliveries are scheduled to start in August. Both vehicles are built at a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois.