Electric van maker Canoo won a competitive process to supply a Crew Transport Vehicle for NASA’s Artemis Project. The space program’s goal is to land humans on the moon for the first time in decades.
The vehicle will be a modified version of the Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle (LV) van. They must bring in fully fit astronauts, their equipment, and support staff. Deliveries will begin in June 2023.
To be clear, Canoo-supplied vehicles will not go to the moon. It will remain on Earth and will perform the task of bringing astronauts to the rocket. During the Space Shuttle era, NASA famously used specially equipped RV Airstreams to do this job.
Our choice of innovative technology by NASA to bring a diverse team of American astronauts to the moon demonstrates a profound commitment to sustainable transportation,” said Canoo Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila.
Canoo will build NASA transport at its location in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Pryor, Oklahoma. Commercially available versions of the LV will come from the Bentonville plant starting late 2022. By 2023, the company will make about 14,000 to 17,000 vehicles per year there.
There are some technical details available about the Canoo LV. The automaker projects a 250-mile (402-kilometer) range from the 80-kilowatt-hour battery. The drivetrain produces up to 350 horsepower (261 kilowatts). Prices start from $34,750 and reached $49,950. Company has a contract with Panasonic to supply batteries for vehicles.
NASA is also partnering with SpaceX to develop a lunar lander for Project Artemis. Sending people to the moon will happen no earlier than 2025. Before that, there will be manned and unmanned test flights to circle the moon before sending astronauts to the surface.
In other news about the moon, General Motors and Lockheed Martin team up on a new lunar rover. There aren’t many details about the vehicle yet other than the intention to allow autonomous vehicles. Renders from the automaker on Instagram show a two-seater vehicle with a large cargo bed and roll hoop.