Toyota is a company that’s big into space at the moment, with a particular interest in creating vehicles that will merrily ferry astronauts around the moon. Perhaps the Japanese company knows something we don’t, because it has just taken the wraps off another intergalactic machine in the form of its Space Mobility prototype.
This quad-motor dune buggy is powered by high density battery packs and features, you guessed it, a motor at each wheel for the very last word in control and precision over rough terrain.
According to Toyota it is capable of "navigating boulders up to 50 cm tall and climbing steep 25-degree slopes". There are loads of those on the moon, so that’s probably a good thing.
At 3,460mm long, it’s only small and likely only roomy enough for two space-exploring dudes at any one time. But with those enormous tyres, the beefed-up roll cage and insanely powerful suspension system, we can’t be the only ones that want to have a go in one a little closer to home?
The chances of such a thing happening are slim (get in touch guys!), but Toyota is pressing on with a number of extraterrestrial exploration vehicles, including the recently announced Baby Lunar Cruiser and, erm, daddy Lunar Cruiser.
The latter is a pressurised moon rover that has been designed in conjunction with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) to aid with its international space exploration missions.
According to Toyota, the moon's surface has "one-sixth the gravity of Earth, experiences temperatures ranging from -170 to 120 degrees Celsius, is in complete vacuum, is bathed in strong radiation, and is covered with lunar sand (regolith)".
Due to this fact, it is having to develop technology that will allow its astronauts to safely and comfortably explore more of the moon's surface than ever before. Part of this project will focus on finessing Toyota's Fuel Cell technology to negate the downsides of having to charge EVs on the moon.
If you can’t find a functioning charging station on earth - one that doesn’t require a subscription to a million different payment apps - the chances of finding one on the moon are slim.