In July 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts explored our natural satellite in the first electric lunar rover, the Lunar Rover, with the help of General Motors engineers.
In 2017, it is clear that GM remains at the forefront of electric vehicles with the Chevrolet Bolt-EV that has become a symbol of terrestrial electric vehicles.
With an estimated range of 383 kilometers on a single charge estimated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and costing a fraction of the $ 38 million that the Lunar Rover cost, the Bolt-EV achieved that electric driving viable on Earth.
The Rover was an example of how to achieve a creative boost. Working at the speed of light, GM, in collaboration with other companies, developed, designed and tested the Lunar Rover. GM engineers helped create a revolutionary system of electric motor, suspension, wire mesh wheels and a single unit controller adapted to moon gloves.
The head in charge of the project, engineer Ferenc Pavlics, and his team figured out how to solve the challenges for astronauts and future EV consumers. At 50 years of the project, Pavlics still remembers the innovation and commitment required to build an electric vehicle with unprecedented performance.
"When our team began engineering the Lunar Rover there were many unknowns, such as varied terrain, extreme temperatures and the effect of reduced gravity," said Pavlics, now retired from his profession. "We push the limits of automotive technology and work hand in hand with astronauts on vehicle design."
Pavlics sees a connecting thread between his work and contemporary Chevrolet cars. Today, Chevrolet electric vehicles have the advantage of finding new paths on Earth, but the team has the same commitment to engineering vehicles as the award-winning Bolt-EV.
"The Bolt-EV required a new architecture to elevate the status quo of electric driving," said Michael Lelli, the chief vehicle engineer. "We have leveraged our extensive experience in electrification to offer Chevrolet customers the first affordable, long-range electric car."
The same innovative spirit that drove the company to design an electric vehicle for the Moon is present in the Bolt-EV, with the exception that today's electric vehicle drivers do not have to wear spacesuits.
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