Jan 11, 2020

This Solar-Powered Electric Car Never Needs Charging

Now you can drive for thousands of miles, and you don’t have to recharge your vehicle thanks to a California startup, Aptera Motors, who is designing solar-powered cars.
In 2006, Aptera Motors was initially founded under the name Accelerated Composites. Then, in 2011 the company was liquidated. In 2012, the Zhejiang Jonway Group, a Chinese auto manufacturer, bought it and turned it into two companies: Aptera USA to build gasoline-powered cars and Zaptera USA to build electric vehicles (EVs).
At the start of 2019, Aptera re-formed under the management of Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony. The pair launched a crowdfunding campaign to resume development and to start producing vehicles. The campaign turned out successful.

The Solar-Powered EV That Never Needs Charging
Aptera car created by Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony. Photo by Patrick Fraser/Corbis via Getty Images

Anthony explained:
We’ve always wanted to use [solar-power] at Aptera, but cell efficiency was just never good enough to be valuable till recently. Now we can take power from the sun, send it right to your battery with little loss in efficiency, and take you up to 44 miles a day for free! We think it really is the best option for powering Aptera around the world.
Aptera is focused on solar-power for its EVs for two good reasons; it’s easy to acquire, and it’s free. Now that the development of solar and battery cell technology has improved, Anthony and Fambro can help push Aptera in the right direction towards zero-emissions.

The Solar-Powered EV That Never Needs Charging
Credit: Aptera Motors

The roof of the Aptera is covered in solar panels, which is why it never needs recharging. The teardrop-shaped vehicle is made up of lightweight composite body panels and has an efficient regenerative braking system.
The solar panels provide owners with a substantial amount of free power each year. “It pumps the energy produced from the sun straight into your battery pack and gives you over 11,000 miles a year of free juice to drive on. This is in addition to your 1,000-mile range battery pack, which you can top off any time with a charge cord,” added Anthony. Also, if you don’t use all of your yearly 11,000 miles, you can run electricity in your home with the excess power.

The Solar-Powered EV That Never Needs Charging
Credit: Aptera Motors

Another feature of the Aptera includes the option to upgrade and replace the existing solar panels on the vehicle. This option is vital for prolonging the EV’s longevity. “You can replace or upgrade any of the four panels at any time. This makes any maintenance easy, and it makes things upgradable in the future… The composite constructed vehicles are capable of lasting 50+ years if cared for,” said Anthony.
Anthony claims the car will have a 110mph top speed and a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4 seconds for the Standard and Long Range versions. A Performance version will get to 60 in just 3 seconds. The car is also said to include an advanced “CoPilot” system for autonomous driving, and although the car is small and lightweight, it still has 25 ft³ storage space.

The Aptera will cost roughly between $36,000-$59,000. The company claims 10,000 vehicles will be made by 2022 and that they will soon be open to taking pre-orders.

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