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December 2, 2021

Nissan Is Bringing Tech And Know-How From The LEAF To The Moon

Nissan wants to join Toyota in exploring the moon. This as Nissan unveiled their very own lunar rover prototype that they’ve jointly developed with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA.

The JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center is conducting research on lunar rovers—a key technology for space exploration. Nissan has been working with JAXA on driving controllability of the rovers since January 2020.

A lunar rover must be able to traverse the Moon’s powdery, rocky, and undulating terrain and be energy efficient. Furthermore, energy sources for operating vehicles in space are limited.

It makes perfect sense, therefore, for Nissan to apply the motor control technology it has developed in vehicles such as the Leaf as well as the e-4ORCE all-wheel control technology in the all-new Ariya.

In particular, it’s e-4ORCE that is boosting the lunar rover’s performance over tricky terrain.

In its joint research with JAXA, Nissan is evolving e-4ORCE technology to improve its performance in sandy terrain and other harsh conditions. When cars are driven in sand their wheels frequently spin and dig in, impeding progress. A high level of driving skill is required to avoid getting stuck. To meet this need, Nissan has developed driving-force controls that minimize the amount of wheel spin in accordance with surface conditions.

Through the joint research, Nissan aims to contribute to the technological evolution of automotive technology and space exploration technology by sharing know-how gained from test-vehicle development and combining it with JAXA’s knowledge of rover research.

In the Ariya, the e-4ORCE system means having two electric motors—one at the front, and the other at the back. The torque of each motor can be individually controlled to provide traction during acceleration. When decelerating, the amount of regeneration is individually adjusted for the front and rear motors. When braking, e-4ORCE minimizes dive and body shake.

Around corners, the torque of the front and rear motors and the braking performance of the four wheels are managed to ensure smooth and comfortable handling. These controls enable drivers of all skill levels to confidently navigate various road conditions, including rain and snow.

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