No other EV comes close on a full charge.
Solar power is perhaps the greenest solution of all when it comes to powering a vehicle, but relying only on energy from the sun is a big ask. Solar-powered EV chargers already exist, making this an excellent off-grid solution. But more significant progress has been made this year, with the Lightyear One solar-powered car able to gain 43 miles of range per day as long as there's enough sunlight.
To showcase the full possibilities of solar power, Jay Leno has just shared a new video of a drive in a quirky three-wheeler called the Aptera which is an electric-solar hybrid vehicle. It's shown here as the Aptera Alpha development vehicle. Weighing in at around 1,700 pounds, the front-wheel-drive vehicle from Aptera gets an unbelievable 1,000 miles per charge.
That range is almost double what the new Lucid Air gets, and that's the EV with the best range of all battery-electric cars.
"We think our vehicle is going to be more affordable because we need fewer batteries," said Steve Fambro, Co-CEO of Aptera. "The trend is to make bigger vehicles with bigger battery packs, so we're going the opposite way."
Positioned in the wheels themselves are the motors, and this improves the packaging of the small vehicle. Per wheel, there's around 70 horsepower. But this small EV is all about its large solar panels. There are about 700 watts of solar capability on this vehicle. On a sunny day in California, the team claims that you can obtain about 4.4 kilowatt-hours of energy per day and that will capture over 40 miles of range per day if you spec the available rear hatch which increases the number of solar cells.
Despite its low power output, the light weight enables a top speed of 110 mph and a 0-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds for the three-wheel-drive version, which adds an extra motor at the back. That makes it as fast as a Tesla Model Y Performance up to 60 mph.
Inside, the Aptera Alpha has a modern interior with a landscape-style touchscreen that is reminiscent of what you'd find in a Tesla. It comes with air conditioning and heating, and there's a small frunk in front for storage.
Because it isn't a four-wheeler, this EV is classified as an autocycle. Whether its alien design will convince shoppers or not, there's something appealing about theoretically never having to charge your EV. For Aptera, the goal is to have a development vehicle ready by the end of 2021 and to begin production in 2022. According to Aptera's website, the EV starts from just $25,900.