Before the Bolt EV, There Was GM’s 1971 Lunar Rover

1971 Lunar Rover

Chevrolet has done the impossible with the 2017 Chevy Bolt, offering an all-electric range of 238 miles on a single charge. But neither the Bolt EV, nor the Volt, nor the Spark EV marked General Motors’ first foray into electric vehicle technology. You’d have to rocket back nearly 40 years to get a glimpse of that when GM designed the 1971 Lunar Rover for the US’s trip to the moon with Apollo 15.

Like the Bolt EV, the Lunar Rover was all-electric. Unlike the Bolt EV, however, the Rover cost $38 million. A few other key differences:

  • The Lunar Rover had a range of 57 miles compared to the Bolt EV’s 238.
  • Each of the Lunar Rover’s four motors made .25 horsepower for a total of 1 hp, compared to the Bolt EV’s 200.
  • The Lunar Rover had a top speed of 8.7 mph while the Bolt EV can reach 92 mph.
  • The Lunar Rover weighed 492 lb.; the Bolt EV weighs 3,564 lb.

1971 Lunar RoverThough they share their differences, the Bolt EV can be seen as having evolved from the 1971 Lunar Rover. According to Chevy, the chief engineer of the Rover project, Ferenc Pavlics, noticed a “connective thread between his work then and Chevrolet’s contemporary electric vehicles.”

“The Bolt EV required a new architecture to upend the status quo on electric driving,” remarked Michael Lelli, vehicle chief engineer. “We drew on our deep electrification expertise to provide Chevrolet customers the first long-range, affordable electric car.”

Want to learn more about the Bolt EV or Chevrolet’s other electric offering, the Volt? Visit Bill Crispin Chevrolet today.

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