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GM has filed a trademark application for the name Sidewinder, possibly for a new steering system to be used on future vehicles.

Filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Oct. 5, the application covers “electronic controllers for steering systems for land motor vehicles.” An patent application for such hardware did not accompany the filing, but it would make sense for GM to develop a new steering system to keep pace with rivals.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV prototype2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV prototype

GM started the trend of trick steering features with the GMC Hummer EV pickup’s Crab Walk, which allows the hulking electric truck to drive on a diagonal at low speeds. Other automakers have come up with their own steering gimmicks for electric vehicles.

Rivian has shown that its R1S SUV and R1T pickup can perform tank turns, allowing them to turn within their own lengths like the eponymous tracked military vehicle, although the feature doesn’t appear to have been added to production vehicles yet. Mercedes-Benz has also promised a tank-turn feature for its EQG electric G-Wagen, which is expected to arrive in 2024.

GMC Electric Sierra Denali teaserGMC Electric Sierra Denali teaser

Ford has filed at least two patent applications for a tank-turn feature. One version described using an EV’s motors to drive the front and rear wheels in opposite directions, while another version brought four-wheel steering into play as well, using it to turn the front and rear wheels in opposite directions.

All of these ideas have been applied to EVs because the precise control afforded by electric motors makes them possible. And something like a tank turn will likely be easiest on loose surfaces like dirt, hence the focus on off-road applications. GM may be planning its own version of the tank turn for a future update of the Hummer EV, or for the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra Denali EV pickups.

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