In partnership with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Nissan unveiled a prototype lunar rover this week. Nissan stated in a press release that the automaker and JAXA had been cooperating on this project from January 2020.
Nissan stated that it is applying its motor control know-how from the Leaf to the e-4orce, an electric all-wheel-drive system. It will debut in 2023 Ariya’s crossover to the lunar rover.
Nissan claims that while the motors of the rover have been optimized for lunar surfaces, it also has the potential to be used on terrestrial vehicles. Toshiyuki Nakajma, the head of the Engineering Department responsible for e-Force said in a statement.
Numerous other automakers are also interested in lunar rovers. JAXA also collaborated with Toyota on a larger lunar rover design that uses hydrogen fuel cells. Honda, however, announced this year it will continue to work with the agency for lunar rover projects.
Audi presented its private Moon missions with its own lunar robot in 2015. General Motors set the standard for the lunar rover that was used in NASA’s Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.
At the Nissan Futures event, the Nissan lunar rover design was presented alongside a number of EV concepts. A new single-seat Nissan racecar concept uses the Ariya engine. In the U.S., deliveries of the Ariya are scheduled for fall 2022. The Ariya will be one of the 15 EVs Nissan hopes to expand its worldwide fleet by 2030.