Aptera Claims will be First to Solar Car Series Production

While solar assisted car company Sono Motors has grabbed most of the headlines, it’s US rival Aptera Motors that’s claiming to be bringing series production of a vehicle first to market.

Aptera has announced its Launch Edition, the first series of more than 40,000 orders for a fleet of BEVs that tries to bring solar mobility and freedom from the grid. Far from Sono’s conventional car design, the Aptera opts for a futuristic ‘Jetsons’ look claiming unique aerodynamics, ultra-lightweight and ultra-strong construction materials.

The automaker says this allows the vehicle to slip through the air using a quarter of the energy compared to other electric and hybrid vehicles on the road today. Equipped with roughly 700 watts of proprietary solar technology, Aptera claims to be able to drive up to 40 miles per day on solar energy alone, sufficient to cope with the majority of commuters’ daily requirements. Naturally, little is mentioned of use in locations not so blessed with sunshine as the automaker’s home base in California.

Nonetheless, Aptera says that in a location with very high sun exposure like southern California, the average American driver would never have to plug in, based on the daily average of 29 miles. In a location with medium sun exposure such as New York or Chicago, the need to plug in would be roughly three times a year. Also, with the company’s vehicle platform, any standard power outlet in the world becomes a place to charge the vehicle. When plugged into a 120V outlet, Aptera’s Launch Edition claims to charge more than 13 miles per hour or roughly 150 miles overnight.

The vehicle is produced in partnership with the CPC Group and claims production methods allowing quicker vehicle deliveries and a better use of raw materials. Key is its composite body, or “Body in Carbon” (BinC). This claims less time to assemble and yields quality and ease of volume when compared to other steel or aluminum vehicles.

Currently Aptera is finalizing the fourth and final phase of its product development including crash testing and validation. Once completed, it plans to scale quickly into full-scale single shift production of 10,000 vehicles per year. From there, Aptera will expand its output to dual shift 20,000 vehicles per year out of its Carlsbad, California facility. Ambitiously, it expects to have eight different assembly plants to be in operation around the world by 2028.

Of course, not unlike Sono’s issues, this is all dependent on funding. Chris Anthony, co-founder and co-CEO said: “While our delivery timeline is funding dependent, our goal is to begin production by the end of 2023. Once we meet our fundraising objectives, we will be able to provide a more accurate delivery timeline.”

The other co-founder and co-CEO, Steve Fambro, added: “We’ve solved the equation for a more efficient way to travel by harnessing the power of the sun, and we’re excited to introduce our Launch Edition vehicle to the world. Our tireless efforts have resulted in the Aptera vehicle, that can take you where you want to go using the creative energy directly from our sun and efficiently converted into free movement.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

One comment

  1. Avatar Brad 24th January 2023 @ 2:16 am

    They just announced today they will have DC fast charging as opposed to what was announced. They listened to community feedback over the weekend, so I wanted to help them out. I am not affiliated with the company but letting everyone know it does have DC fast charging will help them get this car out there.

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