Fresh thinking: Audi Lunar Quattro, CAR+ March 2016

Published: 17 February 2016

► Audi plans to launch a Lunar buggy
► Part of Google Lunar Xprize competition
► No profits here, just the kudos  

Audi’s going to the moon? Yep. It’s joined forces with German group the Part-Time Scientists to develop the Audi Lunar Quattro, an automated, solar-powered four-wheel-drive buggy.

Opening up alien markets? Not quite. This is an effort to win the Google Lunar Xprize for the first privately funded moon rover that manages 500m while doing the tourist picture and video thing. First place scoops $20m, and there are prizes for distance covered and sharing images of the Apollo landing sites.

A lucrative way to quash conspiracy theories then? They wish. The Part-Time Scientists reckon it will cost €24m (or $26m) to launch the Lunar Quattro. The only profit in this enterprise is the kudos. And perhaps getting first dibs on prime lunar dealership locations.

What’s Audi’s actual contribution? Electrical systems, ensuring everything actually works at the end of the 236,121-mile rocket ride, and materials. The Scientists’ existing rover was 35kg of aluminium; Audi will use magnesium to make it lighter but larger.

When’s blast off? To qualify, the Lunar Quattro must touch down and get busy by the end of 2017. Sounds like a fast turnaround until you learn this Xprize launched in 2007…

Read more from the March 2016 issue of CAR magazine

By CAR's road test team

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