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Aptera: The Energy Efficient, Solar Powered Electric Vehicle

1 November 2022 | 4 Min Read

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Company background

Aptera, does that name ring a bell? It's possible that you've heard of them before, for they've already been around the block once. They were initially founded in 2005, though due to funding issues they went into liquidation just 6 years later in 2011.

 

During their first conception, Aptera set out to create and market a vehicle that could achieve a fuel efficiency of 300mpg, it did however need to be plugged in every 120 miles or so. This hybrid approach fell short of expectations, and along with the funding issues, the project fell quiet for 8 years.

 

Re-formed in 2019 by the original founders, the company had set its sights on a new goal, to create the world's most efficient fully electric road-going car… let's talk about that.

 

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Aptera Overview

It seems as though their new concept has evolved into something quite interesting, with the help of modern battery technology and a failed startup to learn from they have managed to develop a car that they claim is capable of achieving 1000 miles with a single charge. That's a big number and certainly surpasses other electric car manufacturers. Though that's not all, it's also able to recharge its own batteries with an array of solar panels dotted across its exterior, the exact number of panels depends on how much you're willing to spend. With the top package, they say it'll charge up to 40 miles per day from the sun alone. We think that sounds pretty great, especially when you consider that the average miles driven per day totals around 20. That's like parking your car for the day and having your gas tank magically fill itself for free!

 

They've developed a little tool on their website to work out if you'd ever need to charge yours based on your location and miles driven per day. Though in reality, we'd assume that's based on absolute ideal conditions.

 

Features (According to their website)

  • 1000 miles on a single charge
  • Solar charging, up to 40 miles per day
  • 0-60 mpg in 3.5 seconds
  • Safety is a priority, inspired by racecars and fighter jets, it boasts a safety cell stronger than steel
  • 25 Cubic of storage
  • Lightweight materials - 65% less than other electric cars 
  • Developed to handle even the harshest of conditions, including snow, ice, sand and gravel.
  • 3 Wheel drive system

 

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So, how does it work?

It's a valid question considering many of their claims are so far ahead compared to other electric vehicle manufacturers. The answer to this lies within their company ethos and the fact that they've developed the car from the ground up with a single goal in mind… efficiency.

 

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The car takes on a unique shape, one that has clearly been developed in a wind tunnel to allow the Aptera to slip through the air with 30% less energy compared to other electric cars on the market. This along with their choice of lightweight composite materials, including 3D printed parts and AI (we're not too sure what that means?) allows for the car to supposedly achieve 1000 miles on a single charge. 

 

We're definitely commending the company on its use of sustainable materials and engineering practices, we'd love to see more companies with this level of environmental focus and sustainability. In addition to this, they also recognise the importance of the right to repair. Where possible, if you have any issues with your Aptera they will strive to get engineers out to your location to undertake repairs. If this isn't possible then they are saying they'll send parts and help support repairs remotely.

 

Pricing

Pricing starts at $25,900 and goes up to $50,700 depending on your choice of colour, battery range, solar panels, and drive system. So whilst they claim a 1000-mile range, this is exclusively for their top package. They have battery variants for 250, 400, 600 and 1000-mile ranges. Depending on the number of solar panels you can achieve between 16-40 daily solar charging miles.

 

At just $25,900, the cheapest version does seem like a great price for a new electric vehicle, though depending on your needs this might not quite offer enough for an everyday car.

 

Who's it for? 

We haven't had the opportunity to see one of these yet, though from what we've seen online it's pretty obvious that these cars are aimed at people who are looking to buy something a little bit different, something with that WOW factor. Due to its size limitations, having only 2 seats and limited storage, unless you live alone and travel light you'd want this as a second car. Think of it as more of a fancy electric motorbike in that regard.

 

One of the biggest hurdles we see this car face is the lack of a fourth wheel, history hasn't yet seen a mass-market 3-wheeled car take off as a success. Does that mean there won't ever be a successful 3 wheeled vehicle? No, it doesn't but the odds are certainly against it for now.

 

In an industry full of gas-guzzling SUVs and expensive electric alternatives, we think the Aptera has the potential to disturb tradition and shoe a path for a more sustainable way of thinking within the automotive industry. We've got our ears and eyes peeled to see where this project goes in the future.

 

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