Lunar vehicles like the Perseverance Rover have done some incredible things, but it’s too small to carry people. Then, bigger Lunar rovers are often large, heavy, 4-wheeled electric vehicles that take up a lot of space. However, a German motorcycle design company named Hookie has a new electric motorcycle it hopes to drive on the moon one day.
Hookie is calling its new prototype electric motorcycle the Tardigrade, and every aspect of the design has lunar driving in mind. But, more importantly, NASA is busy looking for new lunar rovers, and Hookie says it’s totally up for the challenge.
To be clear, the designers, who are out of Dresden, Germany, aren’t working with NASA or anything, but the idea is certainly interesting. The company co-founder talked to Interesting Engineering and shared a few comments about how much smaller and lightweight a two-wheeled vehicle is. Then went on to say, “A moon buggy requires almost the same space as 3-4 Tardigrades. The weight is much less than that of a complete buggy made out of steel.”
NASA’s original and current lunar rovers are built from aluminum frames, so steel doesn’t sound like the best choice. However, if the Hookie Tardigrade electric motorcycle weighs less yet is more durable thanks to steel construction, that sounds like a win-win.
The bikes pack 10kW motors, which should recharge incredibly fast and offer plenty of power. In comparison, NASA’s original lunar rover had four 190 W motors, totaling just 0.76 kW of power. So the Hookie Tardigrade would be a considerable upgrade.
And while a lot of this prototype EV motorcycle was made of steel, the Tardigrade has laser-cut aluminum frames and a lightweight Kevlar protection package to keep the drivetrain safe from any elements it encounters once it’s up in space.
Everything else about the Tardigrade electric motorcycle design has easy repairability in mind, including the 3D-printed 12 polyurethane tread airless tires.
All said and done, this is certainly an interesting prototype, and the company went as far as calling it the world’s first moon electric motorcycle concept. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll work with NASA and put it on the moon. NASA experimented with the idea of motorcycles back in the 1960s, so anything is possible.