Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-07-16 11:34:19 –
Electric cars are becoming more common on the streets from Tesla to the Nissan Leaf. And over time, more players are trying to enter the market.
Aptera Motors is one of the companies designing new types of electric vehicles.
“We are the only manufacturer of solar electric vehicles in the United States,” said Steve Fambro, co-founder and co-CEO of Aptera Motors.
At first glance, their car doesn’t look like anything else you might see driving on the road. It is made for efficiency.
“Electrification gives us a way to have more control over our energy. Solar electric vehicles can maximize their energy usage by generating energy in the vehicle,” Fambro said. Explains.
The two-seat tricycle is built with weight and aerodynamics in mind. The solar panels cover the top of the car and are made of composite elements rather than steel.
“Again, most companies use steel, but composites are much stronger than steel per unit weight. So we still make strong and safe cars. You can, “he said. “They are also used in things like Formula 1 used in aircraft and spacecraft.”
Low weight means that less battery is needed to power it.
“There are some physical restrictions on the amount of battery that can be installed in a passenger car,” says Fambro. The heavier the car, the more battery it needs.
“I think this is just the whole idea of this car and the spirit of doing as much as possible with as little as possible. And from an engineering point of view, this is just overall efficiency. Nothing beats. If you can make a really lightweight car, so many things will improve, “said Daniel Morris, vehicle integration engineer at Aptera Motors.
According to the International Energy Agency, as of 2020, about 1.8 million electric vehicles, also known as EVs, are registered in the United States. This was three times that of 2016.
Dr. Jae Kim, an associate professor at the University of San Diego and a renewable energy expert, said:
Dr. Kim says EVs were introduced many years ago, but Tesla has made the EV market today. Many companies are now looking to make progress in this area.
“It’s a very saturated market,” said Dr. Kim. He says moving to an electric space may be easier for them than a company starting from scratch, as many major car companies have the capacity to mass produce.
“Ultimately it comes down to value and economics,” he said.
At Aptera, their design focuses on just that: accessibility and value. The car runs for over $ 24,000, can run up to 1,000 miles on batteries, and another 40 miles from solar power. For comparison, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 has a battery range of 263 to 353 miles and costs over $ 39,990, while the 2021 Nissan Reef can drive 150 to 226 miles of battery at a cost of over $ 31,670.
“We use far less of the most expensive component, the battery,” says Fambro.
“When it comes to real EV technology, I think the bottleneck is in terms of efficiency. It will be the type of battery I think. Lithium-ion batteries only take us so far.” Said Dr. Kim.
“If you want to increase sales, I think it’s primarily a range, so we’re optimizing using efficiency and technology,” says Fambro.
Aptera conducts vehicle safety testing before it begins full production of over 10,000 pre-orders it has already received.
“Our goal is to make this vehicle as safe as a regular car,” he said.
Fambro said it plans to have a vehicle ready for production by the end of the year. In the future, they will consider applying their technology to more mainstream passenger cars.
“I think EVs are really the next step. And we are living in perhaps the most exciting times. We have never seen anything like this. We rode hundreds of years ago. When we changed from to cars. Now we are moving from a gas-dominated society to an EV-dominated society, which is a major turning point, ”says Dr. Kim.