The wait for Canoo to debut its funky electric vans is almost over, but the automaker has already delivered the first units to customers. NASA recently took delivery of three Crew Transportation Vehicles for use in its Artemis II mission.
Though the Canoo vehicles look the part of space exploration vehicles, NASA’s newest EVs are not destined to leave this planet. They’ll be used to transport astronauts to the launchpad for lunar missions. Tony Aquila, Canoo’s CEO, said, “It’s a very proud day for Canoo and all of our partners who worked so hard to ensure we perform our part to transport the astronauts for the first nine miles of every launch.”
Canoo specially designed the interiors of each van to carry fully-suited astronauts and flight support crew. The automaker said it would reveal more images of the CTV’s interior and exterior later this year, which could coincide with the first civilian deliveries of Canoo’s EVs. However, there could be speed bumps on the way to that milestone.
The Artemis II mission will see four astronauts take a 10-day flight around the moon to test NASA’s deep space exploration capabilities. It’s the first time NASA will test with astronauts on board, and it plans to test the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft during the flight.
Canoo has been scrambling to get customer deliveries of its funky EVs out the door. The automaker leased a facility in Oklahoma City earlier this year, but it still faces considerable challenges before it can start building vehicles at scale. The company emerged from an SEC investigation earlier this year but has reported heavy losses as it looks to get production off the ground.
Canoo struck a deal with Walmart last year but announced that it would outsource production of that order, and the Army is testing its EVs for light tactical uses. Its government contracts have barely kept it afloat, so it will be interesting to see how Canoo progresses if it can’t get the funding it needs to meet consumer demand.