Astronaut experiences his first time driving an Electric Vehicle on earth
85-year-old former NASA astronaut and former Air Force officer Charlie Duke takes the wheel of an all-new Porsche Taycan. Charlie’s experience with the Taycan turns out to be his first time driving an Electric Car on earth, but not his first time driving an electric car. Charlie is best known for manning one of the most advanced electric vehicles in the history of human technology, the Lunar Rover. Fifty years later at an airport near Austin, Texas, Charlie Duke experiences the Porsche Taycan in celebration of the half-decade anniversary of his first drive in the Lunar Rover.
As one of only a dozen men having ever been on the moon, Charlie Duke’s Lunar Rover mission was only the second of its kind. In the 1970s, the Rover was an exciting new piece of technology, and was developed in only 17 months. The vehicle was about three meters long with considerable width, and helped extend treks on the moon from about 400 meters on foot to about 6-7 kilometers across the moons unknown and unexplored terrain. The Lunar Rover was made of a tubular aluminum chassis with a double wishbone suspension, and each wheel was powered by individual electric motors. Instead of a steering wheel, the vehicle was controlled by a joystick. On the moon, the Lunar Rover only weighs 80 pounds, but could hold 1200 pounds of additional cargo.
Charlie Duke himself logged a ton of hours on the surface of the moon, as well as within the Lunar Rover itself. For over 70 hours on the moon’s surface, him and his partner James Young would go on to fulfill many research missions as well as in-depth evaluations regarding the capability of the Lunar Rover. Charlie’s journey to the moon happened a mere three years after the first landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong, and was a distinguished contributor to NASA’s Apollo program. He later went on to receive distinguished awards from NASA, including NASA’s Distinguished Medal of Service. Charlie Duke also earned the rank of Brigadier General within the US Air Force.
Even after driving one of the most advanced vehicles the world has ever seen, Charlie Duke’s first experience driving an electric vehicle on the surface of the earth was the Porsche Taycan on his 50th anniversary of his time on the moon. Charlie, an established air force pilot, is quoted saying “I think I have the same mental outlook for a new car as I have for an airplane. First, I have to sit there and take it all in. The visibility and layout of the cockpit, throttle, and controls.” Charlie also regards the Taycan’s technology overwhelmingly more advanced than even the Lunar Rover.
The all-electric 2021 Porsche Taycan is one of the German Automaker’s most exciting vehicle as we enter the new decade. The vehicle features a cabin that doubles as a command center, with two touchscreens, an all-digital information cluster, and a center console completely devoid of buttons and knobs. The vehicle reaches a massive 750 horsepower with a turbocharged engine, and is as fast and luxurious as any vehicle that carries the infamous Porsche emblem.