Published on: 12/28/2019

Tesla Cybertruck's direct rival which can take a full 360-degree turns from a standstill

User Image Web Editor Last updated on: 12/28/2019
  • Rivian, the electric-truck company set to begin production of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, posted a video of the upcoming R1T performing 360-degree turns from a standstill.
  • Quad Motor Tank Turn, as the company calls it, will be available on both the R1T and the R1S.
  • Rivian is one of the most anticipated electric-vehicle brands since Tesla. It has pulled down investments from Amazon and Ford, among others — including a recent $1.3 billion infusion led by T. Rowe Price.

Rivian, the electric-truck maker setting up production for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, would like you to know its upcoming electric haulers have some trick features to get excited about. The company on Wednesday posted a video of the R1T truck performing 360-degree turns from a standstill.

Rivian has developed a “tank-turn” function that will give the R1T the ability to perform a 180-degree turn on its own axis, without moving forward or backward. The truck’s quad-motor electric drivetrain makes this cool feature possible

"The vehicle's four motors independently control torque at each wheel, allowing torque to be applied in opposite directions on each side of the vehicle," Mast said. The truck estimates how much friction there is between the tires and the surface beneath them and applies torque to each wheel to produce a "controlled rotation."

Quad Motor Tank Turn, as the company calls it, will be available on both the R1T and the R1S. The company expects its truck and SUV to go on sale in late 2020, starting at $69,000 and $72,500, respectively.

The Rivian R1T's nearest rival, the Tesla Cybertruck, is expected to go into production in late 2021.


Most tanks can spin around because their left and right tracks are individually operated. Spinning the tracks on one side forward while simultaneously putting the ones on the other side in reverse allows the vehicle to rotate on its own axis. Cars can’t do this because all four wheels turn in the same direction — you’re either in drive or in reverse, not both.

Rivian’s R1T is a little bit different. Its powertrain consists of a huge lithium-ion battery pack that zaps four individual electric motors into motion. This setup makes it easy to control how much torque each motor sends to its corresponding wheel, and which direction each spins it in. Much like a tank, the R1T can turn its left-front and left-rear wheels forward, while spinning the other two backwards to turn around like it’s on a rotating platform.

We first heard about Rivian’s high-tech alternative to a U-turn when an allegedly fake video surfaced on YouTube in the summer of 2019. This time, it’s real. You’ll need to be patient before you can leave the asphalt and try out a tank turn on your favorite trail, though. Boosted by sizable investments from Ford and Amazon, Rivian is busily transforming the R1T from a concept to a production model, but the first example isn’t scheduled to roll off the assembly line until late 2020.

The tank-turn function joins the R1T’s impressive roster of capabilities. Rivian also developed a clever portable kitchen that fits into the wide storage compartment integrated into the space right above the truck’s chassis. It slides out to reveal drawers for pots, pans, and other utensils, a small countertop, and an electric stove that draws electricity from the battery pack. There are a lot of electric cars on the market, and many more are due out in the early 2020s, but Rivian is increasingly standing out from its peers by finding creative, useful ways to leverage the advantages of battery-powered technology.

Rivian came out of the shadows this week with a bang, unveiling two impressive all-electric luxury adventure vehicles — the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV. While both vehicles are armed to the teeth with cutting-edge tech, the R1T and the R1S are true-blooded off-road machines that are as capable off the beaten path as they are on paved highways.

The R1T and the R1S share the same platform, and both vehicles carry the brand’s no-compromises approach to utility and storage. Inasmuch as details of the two electric vehicles have caught the eye of the auto community, though, it should be noted that Rivian’s pickup truck and SUV have a number of compelling, almost “hidden” features that are yet to be discussed.  Here are ten of the most notable.

1. Dual LiDAR and front-facing cameras for semi-autonomous driving

Rivian notes that both the R1T and the R1S will eventually be capable of Level 3 Self-Driving on highways. To accomplish this, the company has equipped the R1T and the R1S with a suite of cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, high-precision GPS technologies, and LiDAR. Images taken by Teslarati reveal that two of the cameras are found behind the vehicles’ rearview mirror, while their two LiDAR units are situated below the pickup truck and the SUV’s “Stadium” headlights.

2. USB-C Ports, 110v outlets, and air compressors

At the back of the Rivian R1T pickup truck bed lies a set of 3 USB-C and 3 110V outlets, which would be an invaluable feature for owners who love to camp outdoors (the feature pretty much makes the R1T into a giant power bank). The built-in air compressor will also be useful for owners who are transporting bikes and inflatables during trips.

3. R1T liftgate and truck bed tricks

Both the R1T’s liftgate and truck bed are electric-powered, which gives the vehicle some nifty tricks. With the touch of a button, owners could open the pickup’s liftgate in either a 90-degree or 180-degree angle, the former being incredibly useful for transporting long cargo and the latter being a perfect way to access items on the truck bed easily. The R1T is also capable of automatically deploying or retracting its bed covering, which protects cargo from dirt and rain, to name a few.



4. Removable Carbon Fiber Aero Wheel inserts

Rivian’s R1T pickup truck debuted with a set of wheels that featured what appeared to be carbon fiber Aero inserts. Such design elements maximize range and improve battery efficiency, as observed by Tesla Model 3 owners who tested their electric sedan’s consumption with and without Aero covers in place. Considering that Rivian’s vehicles are built for tough environments, optimizations such as Aero inserts could go a long way in ensuring that the vehicles get as much range as they can.

5. Rivian’s “Launch Edition Lunar Rock” variant

While Rivian is yet to announce if it would release a special trim for its first production vehicles, similar to Tesla’s “Founders Series” and Audi’s “Edition One” for the e-tron SUV, photos of the R1S that we captured show a distinct branding — “Riv Launch Edition Lunar Rock.” As such, early reservation holders of Rivian’s luxury electric vehicles would likely find themselves in a special edition vehicle.

6. Ventless HVAC

Both the Rivian R1T and the R1S feature vents with automated controls, with the pickup truck and SUV’s air conditioning being managed by the vehicles’ fully-automated “Ambient AC” system. If the EV community’s warm reception to the Model 3’s air vents is any indication, there is a good chance that customers would be fond of the R1T and R1S’ “Ambient AC” system as well.

7. “Gear Tunnel” compartments

A key feature of the Rivian R1T is its “Gear Tunnel,” a storage space that runs the entire width of the pickup truck and is optimized to store long items such as fishing rods and golf clubs. That’s not all, though, as even the Gear Tunnel’s covers have hidden storage in them, which could fit a small bag. Considering the potential of the storage space, perhaps Rivian could even introduce a sliding rail for the Gear Tunnel in the future, which would make retrieving items easier.








8. Infotainment systems front and back

Both the Rivian R1T and the R1S are loaded to the teeth with tech. This is evident in the robust touchscreen interfaces on the vehicle, from the large center console in front to a smaller 6.8-inch touchscreen at the back, where passengers can set their preferences for features such as climate control.



9. A cool, hidden flashlight

Being an adventure vehicle, the R1T and the R1S are fitted with a novel and very practical feature — a flashlight embedded on the vehicle’s front doors. Simple? Yes. Useful for the outdoors? Most certainly.

10. Eco-friendly flourishes

Rivian has made it a point to equip its vehicles with materials that are premium and eco-friendly at the same time. The floor mats, for example, are made from a thin, lightweight materials that almost feels like carbon fiber. The vehicles’ seats are covered in vegan-friendly materials as well. The company’s attention to detail is also notable, as evidenced by the subtle flourishes of the Rivian branding in areas such as the dashboard.


Rivian is one of the most anticipated electric-vehicle brands since Tesla. It has pulled down investments from Amazon, Ford, and Cox Automotive, among others — including a recent $1.3 billion infusion led by T. Rowe Price. The interest from such industry heavyweights has given Rivian a runway for what could be a successful launch.

CEO RJ Scaringe expressed his confidence in that with Business Insider transportation reporter Mark Matousek in an April interview: "On road the vehicles are really exceptional — exceeding what you'd see in a performance SUV. Off-road, they're really transformational. They're really good."


Scaringe said he believed Rivian would ultimately beat Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. The German trio do not build electric passenger trucks, but they are all in various stages of development and production on their own electric SUVs for the US market.









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