Aptera claims its solar-powered electric three-wheeler needs no charging

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Aptera now claims its electric three-wheeler launching in 2021 doesn’t need to be charged—thanks to onboard solar panels.

“Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go,” Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony said in a statement.

Dubbed Never Charge, the solar array consists of 32.2 square feet of panels, with 180 individual solar cells. Aptera said these cells can harvest enough electricity for 11,000 miles of driving per year, or 45 miles per day.

Earlier this year, Aptera said the solar array would enable 40 miles of driving per day. But this is the first time the company has specifically said that solar panels will provide enough electricity to eliminate the need for charging. Other companies, such as Dutch startup Lightyear, have designed solar-assisted cars, but none have made such an ambitious claim.

Design for new Aptera electric car, Aug 2019

Design for new Aptera electric car, Aug 2019

Aptera also said its three-wheeler will have a maximum range of 1,000 miles, thanks to lightweight construction, a drag coefficient of 0.13, and the solar array. It also plans to offer versions with 250-mile, 400-mile, and 600-mile ranges.

Liquid-cooled electric motors will propel the three-wheeler from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 110 mph, according to Aptera. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will be available.

Aptera began taking reservations for the vehicle on Dec. 4. Customers can put down a $100 refundable deposit for the Paradigm or Paradigm+ special editions, which will be the first models delivered when production starts in 2021. Pricing for regular versions starts at $25,900.

This is actually the second attempt to launch the Aptera three-wheeler. The original iteration of Aptera collapsed in 2011 after failing to secure a low-interest loan from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. Three of the founders subsequently bought the intellectual property, and have used crowdfunding to finance production of an updated version of the three-wheeler.



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