Driving Sustainability: How NASA’s Mars rovers could improve your next electric car AutoblogGreen

How far would you go for a better electric car? The ends of the earth? The moon? Ari Jónsson’s answer is further than either of these places. He can help find a better electric car on Mars.
Jónsson’s, of Reykjavík University, spoke at the 2010 Driving Sustainability conference in Reykjavík, Iceland last weekend on the topic “Ultimate Sustainability.” In this case, ultimate isn’t an understatement. Jónsson helped NASA develop the electric rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, that were sent to the Red Planet in 2003 and performed way beyond anyone’s expectations since arriving in the harsh, harsh environment. Think Nissan is being careful with the cold weather package for the Leaf? Try getting a battery ready for temperatures that can drop to -50 or -80 C at night. Then try powering these batteries from the sun in a place that gets less solar energy (Mars is further from the sun than the Earth) and where the sky is often covered by dust storms – and that dust can come to rest on the solar panels. In short, try building an electric vehicle (EV) for the worst possible scenario and make is 100 percent sustainable. It’s not easy, but the lessons learned have Earthbound applications.