This page lists the projected performance of the Aptera, including acceleration, top speed, and range. It also gives information about the torque vectoring capabilities of the in-wheel motors.
|Acceleration 0-60 mph (0-97 kph)||5.5s (2 wheel drive)|
3.5s (3 wheel drive)
|Performance to be|
verified by proto.
|Top speed||110 mph (177 kph)|
|Range for each version||>10 miles per kWh|
>16 km per kWh
>250 miles (25 kWh)
>400 miles (40 kWh)
>600 miles (60 kWh)
>1000 miles (100 kWh)
|Based on the EPA|
driving cycle with
a max speed of 67
mph in normal
still to be verified
by the prototypes.
Acceleration and top speed
Aptera is not an expensive supercar with enormous motors. However, with 50kW per motor and each motor having instant torque without losses in the drivetrain, it’s not a weakling either. Combined with the lightweight construction and relatively high capacity/weight batteries, it pulls off serious numbers from 0-60 mph. The front wheel drive version takes 5.5 seconds to get you to 60. With the AWD version Aptera even gives expensive sports cars a serious run for their money, doing 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Top speed is limited to 110 mph, which makes sense to me. Although Aptera’s efficiency becomes even more apparent at higher speeds, there are very little places in the world that would allow you to drive faster. Car manufacturers like Volvo are now also starting to limit their vehicles’ top speeds around the 110 mph mark.
Efficiency & range
Now here is where it gets really interesting. Because if there’s anything Aptera focuses on, it’s efficiency. With its extremely aerodynamic shape, light weight and efficient powertrain, Aptera promises to achieve an unprecedented efficiency of less than 100Wh/mile. This number blows the competition out of the water. Even the next best thing, the Tesla Model 3 is in another league, with their most efficient, shorter range model only achieving 239 Wh/mile in the EPA driving cycle.
The image below shows the energy consumption per mile for a large selection of electric vehicles. Clearly, nothing comes close to Aptera’s promised 100 Wh/mile.
Now, what does this mean? Well, a lot. Here’s a list of benefits that are a result of the low energy consumption:
- Much longer range with the same battery pack.
- Much smaller battery pack for the same range (I prefer this one).
- Faster charging, without extreme electrical infrastructure. With a standard 50kW charger, Aptera can already charge 500 miles per hour.
- The low energy consumption makes charging with integrated solar feasible.
- The cost of charging goes down radically.
- You can charge significant range with a standard 110V or 220V charger. Over 30 miles per hour on 220V.
Aptera’s efficiency really helps in both cost and environmental impact. It lowers the cost of batteries and power consumption and it reduces the toll on our planet. By using smaller batteries, not requiring huge investments in the power grid, drawing less power from the grid and reducing wear and tear of brakes, tires and the roads. Thís is why I am such a fan.
Also read my blog post, in which I try to reproduce the efficiency numbers on some basic calculations concerning energy usage.
Torque vectoring / stability
Since Aptera uses in-wheel motors from Elaphe, it is possible to independently drive the front wheels (and the back wheel in the AWD version). This has quite some benefits. For instance, when a vehicle goes through a corner, the inner wheels will need lower rotational speed than the outer wheels. Normally, a differential makes sure this is possible. The downside of simple differential however, is that if one wheel loses grip, the power transfers to that wheel and you’ve lost all drive.
With the in wheel motors, the power can be controlled per wheel. So if one wheel loses grip, the power to that wheel can be reduced, until it finds grip. It doesnt affect the drive of the other wheel, leading to more stability and more grip.
This video of Elaphe’s competitor Protean gives a visual representation of what happens when torque vectoring is applied.
Achieving stability with a 3 wheels is obviously more difficult than with 4 wheels. Aptera promises good stability though and to achieve this the following design choices have been made:
- Torque vectoring
- Large distance between the front wheels
- Low center of gravity
- 70/30 front to back weight distribution
By placing the batteries under the seats, these promising numbers are achieved. The early Aptera, driven here by Jay Leno, looked stable and it didn’t have torque vectoring or the ideal weight distribution.
Although Aptera is very lightweight and only has one back wheel, without much pressure on it, Aptera claims it’s not more sensitive to crosswind. In fact, it claims that Aptera has a 110 mph crosswind stability, as where most flat sided cars appartently start moving around 80 to 90 mph. The aerodynamics of Aptera don’t just work front to back.