Boasting a feature that inspired the Rivian R1T.
Electric vehicle startup Rivian made waves this month, posting a video of its forthcoming R1T battery-electric pickup truck performing a zero-radius turn - that is, one where the vehicle turns in-place, without having to drive forward or backward in order to change direction. Best of all, the demonstration was more than just a cool bit of promotion, as Rivian has announced that the production R1T will have a zero-radius turn mode available dubbed the 'Tank Turn'.
That might well be a first for a production passenger vehicle, but Hemmings is here to point out that the trick is, in fact, reminiscent of something demonstrated by the 2005 Jeep Hurricane concept, only that vehicle, arguably, did it better.
The Rivian R1T is able to perform a zero-radius turn because each of the truck's four wheels has its own, independent electric motor; the wheels on one side of the truck can be powered in reverse at the same time that the other side is driven forward, allowing it to pivot about an axis somewhere toward the middle of the truck.
Jeep's 2005 Hurricane concept, by contrast, had a positively bonkers system consisting of four driveshafts, four-wheel steering, and two Hemi V8s with a combined 670 horsepower. The four-wheel steering allowed all four wheels to toe in or out independently as needed, while the pair of V8s were capable of driving one side of the truck forward while the other reversed, much like the Rivian.
The result was a positively insane off-road concept that could turn its wheels in all different directions and perform a perfect zero-radius turn. Or, they could all turn in the same direction and the Hurricane could sort of crab-walk down the road, if you'd rather.
One benefit of Jeep's system, Hemmings notes, is that it doesn't require a loose surface like Rivian's system; because the wheels could be turned in whatever direction they needed to point, the Hurricane didn't need to worry about scrubbing the tires against the pavement.
Of course, it was also heavy, bulky, hugely expensive, and completely impractical. It never actually had a chance of making it to production. But we're happy it exists.