When it comes to building an electric vehicle, the range is arguably the most difficult obstacle to overcome, but one startup believes it has overcome it in more ways than one.
Established in San Diego, Aptera has just launched a new solar-powered three-wheeler that, according to the company, does not require charging and has a 1,000-mile battery-electric range for good measure.
The sleek trike, which looks similar to a Jetsons flying plane, has more than 32 square feet of solar panels built into the chassis. According to the brand, this configuration enables the two-seater to fly up to 45 miles a day and 11,000 miles a year using solar energy.
In a statement, Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony said, “With Aptera’s Never Charge technology, you are driven by the power of the sun,” “Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go.”
So, how does the 1,000-mile range fit into the picture?
Individual wheel-mounted electric motors power the engine, which can be charged using regular 110-volt outlets available in almost every American home. The company claims that its top model, the Paradigm Plus, with a 100 kWh battery, would be able to travel 1,000 miles on a single charge. Meanwhile, the traditional Paradigm would have a range of 400 miles.
Aptera’s reliability is due in part to its ultra-light chassis and aerodynamic design. The car, which is made of lightweight composites and has a svelte profile, can glide through the air with a drag coefficient of just 0.13. For comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 has a score of 0.23. The basic model, according to Aptera, weights 1,800 pounds, while the 1,000-mile version weighs 2,200 pounds, or around the same as two Steinway grand pianos. According to Aptera, the pocket rocket will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 110 mph. It also has all-wheel drive and torque control to improve the EV’s performance in challenging environments.
If this seems oddly familiar, it’s because Aptera proposed a related electric vehicle about a decade ago. Since struggling to secure financing for the three-wheeler, the firm shut down in 2011, but it hopes to reappear with this reconstituted version—and in a market that is decidedly more favorable to EVs.
It also seems to be working. Last Friday, preorders for the Paradigm ($29,900) and Paradigm Plus ($46,900) were launched, and both vehicles were sold out in less than 24 hours. Custom Apteras are now available with a $100 refundable deposit and launch at $25,900. Aptera anticipates beginning deliveries in 2021.