The automaker was part of the LR development team in the 1960s.
This very day 48 years ago, the world was united in watching American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin take the very first human steps on another world. Much has been written about that day and that historic journey, so much so that a second notable July mission to the moon often goes unnoticed. That specific anniversary will happen on July 30, and motoring enthusiasts would do well to remember the date. That's because it will commemorate 46 years since the first car landed on another world, specifically July 30, 1971 with Apollo 15.
We’re speaking of course about the Lunar Rover, which accompanied astronauts to the moon for the “J” extended-stay missions of Apollo 15, 16, and 17. On this Apollo 11 anniversary, Chevrolet wants to remind us that it was part of the development team for the rover which, among other things, included work on the LR’s electric drive motor system. Ferenec Pavlics was NASA’s chief engineer for the rover, but before that noteworthy accomplishment he worked for General Motors.
“When our team began engineering for the Lunar Rover, there were so many unknowns, including varied terrain, extreme temperatures, and the effect of reduced gravity,” said Pavlics, who is now retired. “We pushed the boundaries of automotive technology and worked hand in hand with the astronauts on the vehicle’s design.”
If you’re an automaker in 2017 with ties to the all-electric Lunar Rover, naturally you’re going to spin that to your current crop of electric cars on the road. We are already big fans of the Chevrolet Bolt with its brisk acceleration and 238-mile driving range, but Chevy thought it might be cute to offer up a comparison between it and the LR, because they have so much in common. Since we’re suckers for science and most things cute, here’s how the first extra-terrestrial electric car stacks up to a very terrestrial five-door hatchback.
With its everyday functionality, gutsy performance, impressive range, and sub-$40,000 price tag, the Bolt has really been in a class of its own compared to other EVs. That’s about to change, however, now that the Tesla Model 3 is ready for primetime. If that car lives up to the hype, it could be the next small step in electric travel that leads to a giant leap for the motoring masses. In either case, if a little bit of electric horsepower is good enough for astronauts to go rock crawling on the Moon, a lot of electric horsepower and instant torque is good enough for us. Just imagine what we'll be driving in the next 46 years.