Aptera on Friday detailed the Launch Edition configuration of its three-wheeled EV, which the company hopes to begin producing by the end of 2023.
The company claims now to have over 40,000 reservations for the vehicle, the first 5,000 of which will be Launch Edition models. While Aptera has shown multiple powertrain and range options, Launch Edition models will be built in a single configuration, a decision made on the advice of industry expert Sandy Munro to allow for a quicker production ramp-up, according to the company.
The Aptera EV uses in-wheel motors from Elaphe, which are claimed to offer the lowest energy per mile. In a livestream, Aptera confirmed that Launch Edition models will have one powering each wheel for all-wheel drive and a total output of 128 kw (171 hp). That will get the two-seat EV from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 101 mph, according to Aptera.
Launch Edition models, with their 42-kwh battery pack, will provide an estimated 400 miles range. Aptera still plans to build other configurations, including one with up to 1,000 miles of range, which will be the last to roll out. Considering that a 40-kwh Nissan Leaf will go an EPA-rated 149 miles, these are impressive figures, achieved in part by lightweight construction and an ultra-low 0.13 coefficient of drag.
Regardless of the range estimate, Aptera doesn’t expect owners to spend much time charging. Solar cells integrated with the bodywork can supply 700 watts of continuous power, good for up to 40 miles of range per day, according to Aptera. The company also claims these cells are over 50% lighter than comparable solar cells.
DC fast-charging doesn’t yet appear to be part of the Launch Edition configuration, although Aptera has said that it’s on the way. For now, the company believes incorporating fast-charging at launch would add too much complexity. It also believes Level 2 is adequate, and that solar power means owners may not have to charge at all for daily use.
Aptera confirmed late last year that it planned to use the Tesla connector, with corresponding charging equipment from Lectron, so future DC fast-charging will use the Tesla NACS (née Supercharger) standard, while with an adapter Aptera owners could potentially tap into Tesla’s Destination charger network in addition to networks offering conventional J1772 connectors. Aptera is also using battery cells from EVE Energy, in the same 2170 format as some Teslas.
Using the 6.6-kw onboard charger, the Aptera EV can recover 57 miles of range per hour from a 240-volt Level 2 AC source, or 150 miles overnight from 120-volt Level 1 AC charging, equivalent to plugging into a household outlet. Calculating out its Level 2 potential, that means about six hours for a full charge at Tesla Destination chargers on road trips, requiring an overnight stay on road trips—yes, even if you think you could do more than 400 miles in one stint in the tiny cabin.
The Launch Edition is currently priced at $33,200, but Aptera still notes that’s subject to change. It’s asking for $100 down to reserve one, and said those who have already reserved other configurations can switch to the Launch Edition for faster delivery. It has its own production facility in Carlsbad, California, and it’s aiming for a full-scale single-shift capacity of 10,000 units per year, eventually growing to 20,000 per year. Aptera then suggests it may scale production up with eight global assembly plants by 2028, and that eventually it could potentially scale its lightweighting ideas up to other larger vehicles.
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