The solar panels add up to 40 miles of daily range.
Aptera has announced the Launch Edition of its ultra-efficient electric vehicle. The Launch Edition is the first in a series of over 40,000 orders that will make solar-driven EVs a reality.
As you can tell by just looking at it, this is different from your average EV. The Launch Edition is as close to emissions-free motoring as it currently gets, as the 700-watt solar technology adds up to 40 miles of range per day. The average American would never have to plug in the car in areas with high sun exposure. In locations like New York or Chicago with medium sun exposure, an owner would need to plug the car in just three times per year.
It's worth mentioning that these are best-case scenarios, calculated using an average daily commute of 29 miles. That figure was supplied by Aptera. According to the Department of Transport, the average daily commute is 35 miles, which still makes the Launch Edition an exciting prospect in sunnier states.
Obviously, Aptera takes a radical approach to efficiency. It's built from ultra-lightweight, ultra-strong materials, and the design was determined by aerodynamics. This allows the cockroach-looking EV to slip through the air, using only a quarter of the energy a typical EV like the Tesla Model 3 would use.
The claimed drag coefficient is 0.13, which will make it the most aerodynamically efficient car on the planet once it reaches production. Manufacturers like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have been trying for years and have failed to reach a figure that low. Then again, with the Aptera, you have to make several sacrifices. It only has three wheels and two seats, so you have to give up a lot to be as efficient as possible.
Aptera only released the basic specifications for the Launch Edition. The car is three-wheel-drive, which means it's technically AWD. Each wheel has a built-in motor, but no power output is provided. Instead, Aptera provided basic performance figures and those are rather good. It will reach 60 mph in four seconds and top out at 101 mph.
The two-seater interior is basic, but all the necessary luxuries are included. Standard comfort items include climate control, cup holders, a digital instrument cluster, and a 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and a decent sound system.
Thanks to the roach-like exterior, the trunk is mighty impressive. It offers 32.5 cubic feet of storage, which is the same as the Lucid Air when you include both the Air's conventional trunk and frunk.
The Launch Edition does not rely on solar power alone, however. It comes with a full suite of charging options. The solar yield per day is claimed to be 40 miles and up to 11,000 miles per year. Using a standard household socket adds 13 miles of range per hour. The 240-volt charging ability adds 57 miles per hour, while DC fast charging adds 400 to 600 miles per hour.
Aptera claims a range of 400 miles for this particular model, but the company states that there is a model that can do 1,000 miles on a single charge. That's effectively double what the current EV leader offers.
"Our Launch Edition is our chance to show the world something that's never existed before," said Chris Anthony, Co-Founder, and Co-CEO. "Our identity at Aptera is about transformation, reinvention, and surprises. The Launch Edition is our chance to lead a movement that's for everyone. We are solar mobility, and we are the future."
The Aptera Launch Edition is not ready to hit the roads just yet. Aptera is busy with the final phase of development, which is crash testing and validation. Once that's done, Aptera will implement full-scale single-shift production with the aim of producing 10,000 vehicles per year. Following that, its California-based production facility will ramp up to 20,000 units per year, working on a dual shift schedule.
"While our delivery timeline is funding dependent, our goal is to begin production by the end of 2023," said Anthony. "Once we meet our fundraising objectives, we will be able to provide a more accurate delivery timeline."
Aptera currently has 40,000 reservations and needs an additional $50 million in funding to start production.