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Some hardcore Ford F-150 fans will tell you their trucks are built like tanks, and it looks like they may soon turn like them, too.

The F-150 Lightning is equipped with an all-wheel-drive system standard.
(Ford)

Ford has filed a patent for a method that would allow an electric truck to spin in place the way a tracked vehicle can.

Ford's tank turn patent explains how a vehicle can spin in place.

Ford’s tank turn patent explains how a vehicle can spin in place.
(Ford)

The application, first uncovered by Ford Authority, explains a method where the brakes are applied to the front and rear wheels on opposite sides of the vehicle while the other wheels are simultaneously driven forward and reverse, which would cause it to rotate. An air suspension could be used to adjust the load at the corners of the vehicle to facilitate the effect.

The tank turn is achieved by braking two wheels at opposite corners of a truck and simultaneously powering the others in forward and reverse. 

The tank turn is achieved by braking two wheels at opposite corners of a truck and simultaneously powering the others in forward and reverse.
(Ford)

Ford isn’t the first electric automaker to come up with this kind of idea, however. The Rivian R1T, which is equipped with four individual electric motors, has been demonstrated with a similar capability and existing trucks will be updated with it once the control software meets the company’s safety standards. Similarly, Elon Musk has promised that the upcoming Cybertruck will have four motors and a four-wheel-steering system that will let it do a tank turn.

Rivian's vehicles feature four independent electric motors that allow them to spin in place on loose surfaces.

Rivian’s vehicles feature four independent electric motors that allow them to spin in place on loose surfaces.
(Rivian)

The GMC Hummer EV is equipped with a four-wheel-steering system and can drive diagonally at a 10-degree angle, but can’t do a tank turn.

The GMC Hummer EV's four-wheel-steering system allows it to drive diagonally at a 10-degree angle.

The GMC Hummer EV’s four-wheel-steering system allows it to drive diagonally at a 10-degree angle.
(GMC)

Ford has also filed for a patent on a complex four-wheel-steering system that can even turn the wheels at each end opposite each other, which could allow a vehicle to move in a variety of directions including a 90-degree angle on slippery surfaces, but has not announced any plans to put it into production.

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It also hasn’t confirmed that the tank turn will make in into the F-150 Lightning, but now you won’t be surprised if it does.

 

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