Nissan has been pretty active in the last few days presenting a number of very interesting concepts. All these prototypes were designed for the Earth but the Japanese company isn’t neglecting space exploration and has a new concept for the moon. The marque has teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to unveil a lunar rover prototype as a research project.

Making its debut at the Nissan Futures event, where the Ariya Single Seater Concept also made its first appearance, the lunar rover studies new technologies for driving controllability, which is a key factor for space exploration. In general, a good lunar rover should be able to traverse the moon’s powdery, rocky, and undulating terrain and be energy efficient. 

Gallery: Nissan lunar rover prototype

Just like the single-seat electric sports car concept, the Nissan lunar rover relies on technologies from the company’s production electric vehicles. It uses the motor control technology from the Leaf and the e-4ORCE all-wheel control technology featured on the Ariya electric crossover. Nissan says the latter technology boosts the lunar exploration vehicle’s performance over tricky terrain.

“The uses of automobiles and driving situations are wide-ranging. We aim for the ultimate driving performance through our research and development, and believe the know-how gained from this joint research with JAXA will lead to innovations in our vehicles that will bring benefits to customers,” Toshiyuki Nakajima, general manager of the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Department in charge of e-4ORCE control development at Nissan, says.

If we try to read between the lines, it seems that Nissan wants this research project to be bidirectionally beneficial. On one side, the technologies currently available from the automotive world will be applied to space exploration vehicles. On the other hand, the know-how gained from the lunar rover prototype could be applied to future electric vehicles for customers.