Toyota Promises Hydrogen Powertrain for Lunar Rover

Toyota wants to take its hydrogen powertrain technology to the moon as part of NASA’s plans for a manned lunar rover.

The automaker will use a regenerative fuel cell technology to power the rover raising the prospect of eventually using the moon’s water ice as an energy source in the future, Reuters reports. It is participating in the NASA Artemis program and Japan plans to have an astronaut at a lunar space station called Gateway as part of that in the latter half of this decade.

Toyota has been working with Japan’s space agency since 2019 to develop the manned lunar rover, dubbed the Lunar Cruiser, that they hope can be put on the moon in 2029. The automaker hopes to secure an order for the manned lunar rover by autumn of next year. The vehicle is expected to be able to carry two astronauts for 42 days a year on mission and stay in operation for 10 years.

However, it is not expecting to be able to generate water usable for fuel cells from the moon’s ice water or be capable of mining it by itself, said Ken Yamashita, head of lunar exploration projects at Toyota, saying that would be provided by other companies or future developments.

Yamashita added: “In order to conduct long-term and stable research on the surface of the moon, we are aiming to source various items on site over a long period. Our idea is to continue with the lunar rover longer than those 10 years if there’s a company or arrangement that can supply the water needed for that.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_  and Threads

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