It’s not normal to see a pick-up truck perform a “tank turn” given their lack of continuous tracks, but that’s exactly what Rivian is showcasing in a recent holiday video featuring the all-electric R1T.

The company refers to the feature as Tank Turn, and it will be available on quad-motor variants of the R1T, whereby each wheel is assigned its own electric motor. As such, getting the pick-up to “turn on a dime” simply requires the powertrain management system to simultaneously spin the left and right wheels in opposite directions – just like how a tank does with its tracks – to perform the manoeuvre.

Such a function would be useful to off-roaders, who can more easily work in tight spaces rather than having to make a multi-point turn. However, the company says using Tank Turn on dry pavement to perform donuts isn’t advisable, as it could result in damage to the powertrain.

The R1T is just one of two vehicles by Rivian that will enter production in late 2020, with the other being an SUV version dubbed the R1S. Pre-orders for both models have already begun in the United States with a booking fee of US$1,000 – the R1T has a base price of US$69,000 while the R1S starts from US$72,500.

Rivian R1T EV truck shows off its “tank turn” feature

In terms of specifications, the R1T and R1S are nearly identical given their shared electric chassis, with the entry-level option already using a quad-motor setup with 402 hp (300 kW) and 560 Nm of torque. The electric motors are powered by a 105 kWh battery that provides up to 370 km of range for the R1T and up to 390 km for the R1S. Performance-wise, the models will hit a top speed of 201 km/h and will take 4.9 seconds to get from 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph).

Moving up the range, there’s the 135 kWh option that improves the effective range of both by a further 110 km, and the electric motors output 754 hp (562 kW) and 1,120 Nm. While the top speed is unchanged, the 0-96 km/h sprint time drops to just three seconds.

A final option sees the use of a 180 kWh battery, which further increases the range of the R1T to around 640 km, or 660 km for the R1S. However, the system output is lowered to 700 hp – torque remains unchanged – and the sprint time takes a bit longer at 3.2 seconds.

In terms of dimensions, the R1T is the larger of the two, measuring 5,514 mm long, 2,014 mm wide, 1,816 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 3,449 mm. Meanwhile, the R1S is 5,098 mm long, 2,014 mm wide, 1,821 mm tall, with a wheelbase spanning 3,076 mm.

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