If this current Aptera three-wheeler looks familiar it might be because it has been around for a while. Aptera was one of the first wave of EV manufacturers in the mid-2000s that included Tesla. Aptera came along a couple of years after Tesla in 2006. By 2009 it was certified by the Department of Energy as an automobile as opposed to a motorcycle. This allowed it to be eligible for DoE funding. When it couldn’t get energy startup funding it slowly faded away. Now the Aptera three-wheel EV is back with claims it never needs charging.
Back in the 2000s, you could see the potential for the Aptera. When it went out of business it had over 60,000 deposits, so there was that. Chinese automaker Zhejiang Jonway Group bought the intellectual property rights to the Aptera soon after. The company was going to make both an EV and a gas-powered Aptera but by 2014 there were crickets.
Last year the original founders of Aptera re-formed and sought funding
Last year the original founders of Aptera re-formed and sought funding through crowdfunding. This year it was to begin manufacturing the new Aptera 3, but then anything planned for 2020 has seen setbacks. Aptera was no different. This new Aptera, though, has claimed some pretty wild stats so let’s take a look.
The Aptera 3 is different from the previous versions because it features solar power. With this new wrinkle, it is boasting never needing to be recharged-depending on how you drive it. With a 100kWh battery, it claims a range of 1,000 miles. The solar panel on the roof allows the driver to get 45 miles range per day. So, if you limit your driving to that amount you could see an almost endless range. Sort of.
What does help the Aptera along is its aerodynamics
Something Car and Driver mentions are that the Aptera can’t run solely on solar power at any time. There is always some battery supplement involved. What does help the Aptera along is its aerodynamics. While the Tesla Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.23, the Aptera comes in at 0.13. Performance for the front-wheel-drive version is zero-to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The number for the three-wheel drive version is 3.5 seconds to 60 mph.
Delivery of the first Aptera is planned for late-2021, however that deadline has moved back a couple of different times. Prices are between $25,900 and $46,000 depending on options. You can reserve a spot on the waiting list for $100. With a ramping of personnel and components, it looks like the Aptera should start production mid-2021 for delivery toward the end of 2021.