Ford has had a lot of patents published as of late, and another one found by Motor Authority describes a tank turn similar to what Rivian has already demonstrated for its R1T electric pickup. The “methods and apparatus to perform a tank turn.” allows the truck to turn at its own length like a tracked military vehicle, which would be extremely useful when off-roading. And for showing off.
Ford’s version is designed with EVs in mind, such as the F-150 Lightning, as the patent describes the use of a central controller which instructs the individual motors to drive the front and rear wheels in opposite directions. This would work on a four-motor powertrain with one motor powering each wheel, but Ford noted that it could also work with two motors, one for each axle. In addition to the motors driving in opposite directions, the system would also apply braking force to wheels at opposite corners, like the right front and left rear wheel. The suspension loads on the wheels would also be adjusted to make the tank turn possible.
Other Ford Four Wheel Steering Patents
This isn’t the first patent Ford has filed to address the four-wheel steering operations created by their competition. They have also filed patents that describe the wheels turning in opposite directions to enable the EV to move either left or right on a loose surface without moving the vehicle forward or backward, clearly a combatant to the Hummer EVs Crab Walk. In addition to making the vehicle move from side to side, Ford also has an idea to help get the EVs out of a sticky situation by turning every single wheel independently. Meaning the front left tire turns right, the front right turns left, and the same for the rear axle. The mode is intended to help give the vehicle enough traction to free itself without requiring a winch.
Electric vehicles are unlocking new possibilities for vehicle control that we would never have seen using a traditional, more mechanized setup. Ford engineers have been hard at work coming up with their variants to combat their competition, and it’ll be exciting to see what comes to the F-150 Lightning and other future EVs.