MemberAugust 16, 2021 at 9:04 pm
So, I’m conflicted about having a clear hatch or a solar hatch. There are pros and cons to each. I’m interested to know what other people are planning and why.
MemberAugust 16, 2021 at 9:36 pm
I keep my vehicles garaged when not in use so will have only basic solar – good for an extra 16 miles of range if I should happen to leave it outdoors on a sunny day.
I will most likely have an IR-reflective film applied to the hatch and the fixed upper windows in the doors. https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/b00016683/
ModeratorAugust 17, 2021 at 8:34 am
I am in Solar zone 8 ( AZ ) do full solar for me! Even though I have a net + home thanks to PV solar roof panels….
Garaged at night.
The fact that the Aptera 700w Solar array will charge anytime it is under the AZ sun ( Except possibly on a rapid DC charger) 🗣speaks to me..
I drive a vehicle now with an obscured rear window so only use the vehicle’s side view mirrors and back up camera… So Aptera Full solar will be the same deal …except video side viewing and rear viewing. Which could ne brighter for my okd eyes
I rarely drive at night
I even avoid driving in the rain, which is mostly seasonal here.
I will add a window tint, like all our vehicles, to at least the top half of the door windows
Everyone has their own considerations
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 9:06 am
I am not as fortunate as Len. I live in FL in area “4” so I want the full solar to get the biggest free bang for the buck. I also want that large window space covered to reduce the IR heating of the vehicle. I could do that with film as well but it would not be as efficient nor would it do double duty (Generate charge)
I leave the cost component out in my case because of utility (For me) of the feature is VERY high. If you include cost as one of your factors, then you need to make sure the extra 900 for full soar is worth it to you (Or the lessor cost of standard + the hatch $600 – perhaps the overall best option)
On the snitty side, I currently have a Tesla Model 3 as does my neighbor. We are pretty competitive on a lot of things in fun of course. I want to be able to rub his nose in it when I don’t have to plug in to charge and he does for our daily commutes😀
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 4:41 pm
Yes, it is an interesting trade-off, Sean. Although there are certainly benefits to getting the solar hatch (as mentioned by our fellow fans here), I am choosing the roof/dash/hood combination without the solar hatch. Reasons:
1) The car is already incredibly efficient, and getting the roof/dash/hood solar panels will still achieve a good chunk of the “trickle charge” goal.
2) I already have solar panels on my home which significantly exceed 100% of our home’s entire energy needs, with excess power generation intended to be fed to an EV.
3) I do not want to feel like I am driving a darkened coffin down the road. 🙂
4) I appreciate good field of view in a car. The current lateral/door windows already have unfortunate field of view blockage through the middle of the windows. Personally, I will frequently do a quick reality check head turn to see behind me in my current cars that have backup cameras, in addition to using the cameras (and their specific usage being situation dependent). Direct view is easy, reliable, adaptable, and quicker than some limitations (glare on display, grime on lens covering, preset angle and perspective, etc.) of being 100% reliant upon the display and fixed optics of rear view cameras.
The solar hatch is a good option and just depends on your personal priorities. I prefer a car that optimizes for a great all around experience over just going for the highest specs / numerical results. Have fun deciding!
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 6:20 pm
So, I’m still trying to decide what I would prefer on the hatch, even though I reserved a car with full solar, including the hatch. The reason for the choice was that I am a violinist and almost always travel with one or more instruments that need protection from direct sun and excessive heat, The support team suggested my best option would be solar panels on the hatch to shade the interior. I would agree, but I would like to occasionally be able to view to the rear, directly. I wonder if there could be a compromise option, like only half of the hatch obscured with solar cells, but still be able to see a little out the back. I really only need to be able to keep the instrument(s) from the direct sunlight.
MemberAugust 17, 2021 at 9:13 pm
Coyote, there was an interesting discussion in the old forum about rear louvers, which would address your scenario well. It would provide a direct rear view horizontally while providing shade vertically. The idea of putting louvers on the outside vs. the inside of the glass was discussed, in addition to the idea of putting solar panels on the louver surfaces to get the best of all worlds. However, that solution would have additional structural + wiring complexity, be more difficult to keep everything clean, and if the louvers were external to the glass they would create aerodynamic turbulence.
MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 1:22 pm
Thanks, Scott. Some good suggestions here. Do you know if I were to opt out on the hatch solar panel if it could be added later?
MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 1:56 pm
Hi John, anything like that is possible, though I am not aware of specific post-manufacture upgrades like that being directly announced by the Aptera team yet. For instance, there have been similar types of questions regarding the ability to later “tack on” more battery storage, etc. and the initial answers point to there being multiple considerations beyond just plug and play. I would think that perhaps the entire rear hatch could be later swapped out at X cost, or perhaps just the glass section. The bigger issue may be whether or not the wiring, connectors, and components of the charging system may also need to later be changed if the vehicle did not initially come from the factory with the solar hatch pre-installed. This is likely something that will be able to be answered by the Aptera team before you approve your order to move forward in 2022+.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 11:54 pm
Those were my “interesting” ideas for the louvers, so thanks!
MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 4:31 pm
I reserved a solar hatch in case one of us ends up with a longer daily commute, but I have concerns because I wear reading glasses: when I direct my eyes from looking forward to looking in the rear view display, I will have to focus closer. This is workable with the main display and side displays, as I wear my reading glasses low on my nose when driving, and look over the lenses when looking out the windows. However, I think I’d have to tilt my head pretty far back to glance at the rear view display. I don’t know how workable or safe this head tilting will be. I have an after-market backup camera LCD display on my current mirror, and I can’t see it without my reading glasses.
If I don’t find a good solution, I may have to forgo the solar hatch. This would be a shame. When the sun is lower, I like the idea that i can raise the rear hatch and catch more sun rays at a camp site.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 3:29 am
You can reposition the rear view screen to on top of the main display. May be a bit DIY but it could satisfy all your needs.
MemberSeptember 4, 2021 at 3:32 pm
That’s a Good idea: Aptera could a software option to mirror the rear view camera onto the top of the big center dash display. Then we can see the rear view in focus without having to touch our granny reading glasses.
MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 12:11 am
I really want to see how the Aptera feels with the rear window blocked with the solar panels. I pre-ordered the full Never Charge solar package, but I do worry a bit that I will miss having the rear glass window view. Maybe it will be fine. Currently, I do rely mostly on my rear backup camera and side mirrors. Still, I would like the option to choose a flat solar mat in the back storage area instead of the solar covered hatchback panel. No doubt it would not be as good at producing electricity as the full solar rear hatch, but it might be good enough.
MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 4:44 am
Great discussion here. I don’t know which way to go but I do like your solar mat idea ” Still, I would like the option to choose a flat solar mat in the back
storage area instead of the solar covered hatchback panel. No doubt it
would not be as good at producing electricity as the full solar rear
hatch, but it might be good enough.” And I think someone suggested adding a way to plug in an external solar source…. as it sits in my driveway… until I the day I eventually install home solar.
MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 9:18 am
This is another facet of the Aptera that I am interested in learning about. If they are going to have V2G (vehicle to grid) capability, which would enable the Aptera’s battery to be able to tie into your home’s electrical system, and maybe home solar, and the grid. Vehicle to load will probably be included, which would output 110V to run lights and appliances off of the traction battery. The question is if it will handle power in and out.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 1:19 am
I’m more concerned whether FMVSS federal safety standards will allow the solar hatch to block a rear view mirror see through. Can you buy a car/vehicle with such a blockage and also without side view mirrors? Even Tesla has complained of those side view mirrors they have to install, so how will Aptera get away from the same FMVSS requirment? Other than that, I’m for the solar hatch because it also gives the privacy as well as shade from sun. I have a hatch back and you always have to have a cover installed otherwise thieves look to see what’s in the trunk.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 10:59 am
Aptera may want to meet the regs for marketing purposes, but, as an autocyle, they don’t have to.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 12:28 pm
An auto cycle in some states all with different standards. motor cycle in all other states. Again with many different standards. None of which apply to a “Hatch” or V to anything. Aptera has not committed to V2G or V2H. Engineering is complete for the Beta prototype. Unless they have a surprise for us what we have seen in Apteras to date is what we will get which of course is not bad!
MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 7:57 pm
as an autocycle, they still have to comply by fed regs NHTSA FMVSS which includes motorcyles and mirrors. https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/fmvss-quickrefguide-hs811439.pdf
Nothings changed for the past decade in regards to side mirror and rearview mirror regulations. Tesla is the most vocal about replacing side mirrors with cameras but still haven’t succeeded.
MemberAugust 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm
I’ve decided to not get the solar back hatch for the following reasons:
- I have a nice garage, and live in country with snow on the ground for 6 months of the year.
- Visibility improves without the solar hatch. At lease I guess it would improve.
If I really want maximum solar gain in addition to my hood, roof and dash panels, I’m guessing a V2V plug would take a charge from panels mounted on a trailer, with a cost of about the same as the solar hatch. I have the perfect trailer already to haul my canoes and kayaks.
What am I missing here?
If I lived in an apartment without a garage, you bet, I’d pay for the solar hatch.
MemberAugust 26, 2021 at 11:31 pm
I would guess building your own V2V system for charging from solar would be prohibitively expensive, at least for the foreseeable future, since it would require custom solar regulator and communication electronics to talk to the vehicle. It will probably be quite a while before anything is available off-the-shelf for consumers.
MemberAugust 27, 2021 at 4:08 am
I park my car outside because the garage is set up as a workshop.
The car will be in full sun all day with no obstructions.
Not having a rear window scares me a little because of backing over stuff in car parks but I probably would not see much out of it anyway because I am short. I will have the solar panels and reversing camera.
MemberAugust 28, 2021 at 9:57 pm
In my usecase I would park the Aptera in zone 1/2. So I opt for the full solar hatch to harvest as much sun as possible. Plus, my Labrador joins me most of the time and I do not know how quick the car is overheating (can not leave the dog alone in the car for a minute then) – so some shade is welcome if not provided by a blind or divider.
On the other hand I guess I will feel uncomfortable driving without a rear window. I feel like I need that daylight and rear view. It turns out that both options have disadvantages.
So, if Aptera could think of a somewhat different or additional compromise approach for the solar hatch it would be super.
Maybe solar cells could be mounted partly onto the glass, leaving four diamond shaped cells out and let the sun shine past the edges or adding a solar mat as an option.
MemberAugust 28, 2021 at 11:31 pm
I was thinking the same thing about your last comment. Why not offer a partial solar hatch option that would yield somewhere between 30 and 35 miles of charging. If they did, I think it might become the most popular charging option. Here’s hoping Aptera’s mindtrust looks at this post.
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 12:14 am
I suppose they have to start with some goals and design to them to get started. Later all kinds options may become available.
There are solar powered windows that may be useful as they come to market. These would give full vision AND generate power ….. but they appear to not be on the market quite yet.
MemberAugust 30, 2021 at 10:57 pm
V2G is tricky. A couple of years ago I worked with the engineers of a solar panel company out of Freemont CA and a battery mfg in Reno NV with my company’s portable diesel gensets in a grid-connected and island mode in Reno. Typical solar panel inverters do not work well with just any third-party battery and inverters. Yes, it can be done but it is not that easy. There are some controls being designed to allow a seamless connection to solar, batteries, and utility grid.
V2H can be done with an inexpensive manual transfer switch powering the whole house or long extension cords to critical loads. Some jurisdictions are requiring UL1008 ATS when hooked up to their utility grid through your service entrance home load-center which adds a little more cost. Utilities do not want you to accidentally back-feed their grid during a power outage while their crew is working on their lines.🌞