A few days ago, Aptera released a monthly update. Most importantly, the company has unveiled its factory, which is an important sign that the company is really heading for production. Aptera also unveiled another (and third) phase of vehicle prototypes, the Gamma, which is relatively close to production. One interesting treat is that Aptera is trying to use a Tesla charging connector instead of CCS, which would be another very similar step for Tesla.
Unlike Tesla, a larger and more established company, Aptera had to do what Tesla did for its first factory: use an existing building. In the case of Tesla, the NUMMI building was large and empty, but it needed a lot of work to be ready for the Model S building. floors.
Production facilities are made to order, and Aptera plans to begin expanding production later in 2022. Once expanded, a large factory will focus on final assembly, while some smaller spaces leased or purchased by the company will focus on building subassemblies, such as are batteries or powertrains.
Subassemblies and cars in the production process will be moved by Red Viking on small autonomous vehicles, creating a more flexible assembly line instead of fixed lines, which will require a lot of money to replace when needed in the future. In addition, if something goes wrong, small trucks can leave the line and take the car for special work as needed, and then re-queue when the vehicle is ready to continue production.
The big challenge, according to the company, was just licking itself, was to prepare the floor so that these autonomous trucks could go anywhere.
Charging, Tesla Connector
The biggest news was charging. Aptera’s biggest concern is that the charging infrastructure in the United States is indeed inadequate, and this will not change much in the near future. Aptera thinks not only of charging stations, but also of the grid itself and the way energy companies consider power. Adding vehicles will be a challenge.
The company is also very dissatisfied with the CCS and J1772 connectors. “It wasn’t elegant at all,” said Chris Anthony, one of the company’s CEOs, about the J1772 connector. He says the Tesla connector was much nicer, while the DC fast charge was even more clumsy and strange with CCS and CHAdeMO. Steve Fambro agreed and said they were not happy with these connection standards.
Bottom line: Aptera thinks the United States should accept a Tesla connector that tells you what it’s likely to do. But I would stop at what other stores say because they didn’t say they would use a Tesla connector or that they wanted it. He just thinks it’s better. What they do in the end could run into practical problems, because building infrastructure involves CCS.
Other technical updates
As we knew before, Aptera gets its ammunition engines from Elaphe. Along with Aptera, Elaphe is also preparing and preparing for series production to meet the overall production needs. Thus, entire factories are being built and expanded in Europe to supply these important parts to Aptera. But most importantly, this process is ongoing and not just theoretical.
Given the company’s large goal (1000 miles per 100 kWh), it is important to note that Elaphe is still working to improve the final design of the Aptera engine for maximum efficiency.
Work on battery modules and battery packs based on 2170 liquid-cooled cells is also progressing well. The first vehicles to travel on the road will have a usable capacity of 41 kWh (approximately 400 miles), followed by 250 kWh vehicles. In addition, 600 and 1,000 million cars will go into production. EVE Energy is working with the company to produce the cells that work best for the Aptera.
The development of the chassis also continues forward. Teams test vehicles by torture and try to break them. They hit the curbs so hard that they tore the tire off the rim, and they want the vehicle itself or the suspension not to break under such stress.
The wheel covers (fenders above the front tires) were a big point of criticism for the company in their videos. They are large, give the vehicle a wide, wide stance and tend to be so loose and grumpy in the air, they twist and sway in the street. The company showed a video with the latest improved design, simulating different speeds and frequencies of vibration. Now it will not vibrate as before until it reaches a speed of over 200 miles per hour. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 110 MPH, so it will not be a problem in the real world.
As we know, the cabling on the Aperture should be very simple compared to most vehicles. The company adheres to this philosophy and works with an established company to create the most effective harnesses. They showed a video from a low-voltage test bench, which they use to program firmware in various control units.
The vehicle will not have keys. It will have an RFID key card, bluetooth and a click-to-access method.
Solar cells are a bigger challenge than most would think. Solar radiation that sits motionless in a house or business is one thing, but something that has to deal with vibrations and other harsh conditions acting on the vehicle is another. Aptera is still very secret in this matter (as during my visit in November), because it is something that the company has researched a lot.
Gamma development vehicle
The shape of the car continued to change. The shape of the fenders / wheel covers has been changed to work better with the vehicle. The same was done with the actual wheel rim, which produced less resistance on this tire. The rear of the vehicle was also less thick to further reduce air resistance. Despite the fact that the vehicle was larger for the passengers, the Aptera achieved lower air resistance than the Alpha design.
The first Gamma vehicles were not built, but the proposal is ready to build this penultimate version of the vehicle, but we can expect to see it in about a month.
The interior has also been redesigned. The controversial choice of wheel (yoke) is accompanied by a number of other changes. The center console will be modular and you will be able to choose different things for different parts of the console. He used the interior design process to test the VR, which gave people the opportunity to see what it was like before it was built, helping to avoid space and other problems, as was the case with Alpha design.
Aptera offered more details on why she chose a caliper wheel. One reason was that they wanted to be futuristic, but they thought their yoke concept had better ergonomics than the others we saw. The vision system (cameras instead of mirrors) also works better and more securely.
Does Aptera offer anything for people with Oculus / Meta headsets? They didn’t say, but I’d like to see it.
Eventually, we’ll see four more solar cells on the hood and others we don’t know about elsewhere on the vehicle. So the available solar energy is rising!
More discussed, but you’ll need to watch the video
A number of other topics were discussed in the update, especially in the Q&A section of the presentation. I can’t cover them all here, but I’ll put a video below.
Do you think we have provided you with some good information about Aptera and do you want it? Here you can use our referral code and get a $ 30 off pre-order fee. If you order through this link, we earn points for our own Aptera test and review vehicles.
Selected image: What will the Aptera factory look like with custom equipment. Image by Aptera.
Check out our brand new one Guide for e-bikes. If you are curious about electric bicycles, this is the best place to start your journey through e-mobility!
Do you appreciate the originality and news of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, technician or ambassador – or patron of Patreon.