NASA knows a thing or two about EVs: it was scooting around the moon in the battery-powered Lunar Roving Vehicle back in 1971. So it's quite an achievement for an EV company to get NASA's seal of approval.
Canoo, whose EV platform is designed for maximum flexibility, has provided three Crew Transportation Vehicles (CTVs) to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There, the CTVs will be used to transport astronauts to the launch pad for the Artemis lunar missions, the first human lunar landing in over 50 years.
The Artemis II will be the first crewed mission that’s part of Nasa’s plans to establish a long-term presence on the moon, and viewers of For All Mankind on Apple TV+ will be hoping that presence is a lot more peaceful than its fictional counterpart.
What exactly is a CTV?
A CTV isn’t just an EV with the NASA logo slapped on its side; it’s highly adapted to suit NASA’s very particular requirements. A CTV’s job is to carry not just the astronauts but their flight support crew and equipment to the launch pad – and those astronauts are fully suited and booted, so you need to give some serious thought to their comfort over the nine-mile journey so they arrive fresh and ready to begin the next stage of their trip, a mere 240,000 miles. Canoo hasn’t revealed images of the interior just yet but promises to do so later this year.
The CTVs are a milestone for Canoo, of course, but also for NASA: they’re the first zero-emission crew transports built for the space agency.
I was already impressed by Canoo before seeing these vehicles: the firm’s modular platform enables you to choose from a whole array of vehicle bodies and configurations: lifestyle vehicles, trucks, pickups and more. The firm has already inked deals to provide thousands of vehicles to firms such as Walmart and fleet firms Zeeba and Kingbee, and it’s also working with the US Department of Defense to develop high-power EV battery packs; the US Army is currently testing its light tactical vehicle too.