This feature has already been shown on the Rivian R1T
Tank steering helps manoeuvre large vehicles in tight spaces
Toyota is working on a similar system and the GMC Hummer EV uses “Crab Walk” to achieve the same results
In a patent filed in 2020 that was revealed yesterday, the automaker talks about a tank steering feature for the electric F-150 Lightning.
This system makes the wheels on one side of the truck go forward while the other side goes backwards in order to pivot the vehicle around its center. Doing so could make it much easier to navigate tight spaces or to perform tricky parking manoeuvres.
Ford is not the only company to have the same idea, however, since Rivian already showed prototypes of its R1T pickup performing a tank turn and Toyota filed a very similar patent a few years ago. In addition, the new GMC Hummer EV will be equipped with a Crab Walk feature that will allow it to move at an angle.
This last system should be quite different to the upcoming Ford setup, since the Hummer’s rear wheels are steerable. Indeed, the patent leads to think that the Ford F-150 Lightning will keep its fixed rear axle.
The system will also be different than the one used by Rivian, since the Lightning only has two motors. In Rivian’s case, initiating a tank steer simply reverses the motors associated with the correct wheels.
Since the motors on the Ford need to power both wheels on the same axle, the automaker will need to use gearing to reverse the wheel while the motor keeps spinning in the same direction.
This is also what Toyota is likely to do, although the Japanese company’s documents show their vehicles will also be capable of driving sideways, which will require a more complex system.