Aptera, the company that shuttered in 2011 after failing to secure funding for its three-wheeled electric car, is back with a new solar electric vehicle it claims never needs charging, at least, for most drivers. And it predicts its top model, with a battery of 100 kWh, can get up to 1,000 miles of range.
The new three-wheeled, two-person (or two adults plus pet, as its specs suggest) vehicle has a solar roof array that can provide up to 45 miles of range per day, so if you have that top model and add the charge from the solar panels while it’s parked, then the 1,000 range seems … possible. Although, as Car and Driver points out, the vehicle doesn’t run just on solar power while driving.
The interior of Aptera’s new electric vehicle Aptera
“With Aptera’s Never Charge technology, you are driven by the power of the sun. 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 press release. “Never Charge is built into every Aptera and is designed to harvest enough sunlight to travel over 11,000 miles per year in most regions.”
The vehicle is curvy and lightweight, according to the images and spec sheet, and it has a drag coefficient of just 0.13 (by way of comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 has a drag coefficient of 0.23, and Volkswagen’s ID 4 electric SUV is at 0.28). Its front-wheel drive vehicle can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and its three-wheel drive model can get to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Preorders for Aptera’s Paradigm and Paradigm Plus models are open now, for a refundable deposit of $100. The price will range between $25,900 and $46,000— or more for customized vehicles—and the company expects to deliver them in 2021.
Back in 2011, Aptera shut down after it was unable to secure a $150 million loan to produce its Aptera 2e, which was certified by the US Department of Energy. President and CEO Paul Wilbur said at the time that the company had “contributed new technologies to build a future for more efficient driving.”