MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 9:24 am
I’ve been watching the slow motion train wreck which is the GM/Hyundai/LG battery fire fiasco, and seeing one of my only existing E.V. options (a used Bolt) literally go down in flames. GM will survive, but if this had happened to a startup? All of this drives home to me the vulnerability of a new company like Aptera to unseen risks or to the malfeasance of more established companies.
Obviously the management at Aptera knows the importance of choosing the right battery chemistry/supplier, and their reluctance to announce anything in this regard speaks well of the care with which they are making those decisions.
Nevertheless, as someone who really wants to see Aptera succeed, my anxiety levels are through the roof.
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 11:41 am
I am very familiar with the GM bad decision. For GM, it will constitute an 800M hit economically and an as yet assessed hit on credibility and future sales. A testament to less than sterling engineering and poor quality control.
I believe Aptera will exercise the right amount of vetting in battery selection. You have made some good observations that point to that happening. Additionally, they have a different approach to battery assembly that appears to counter the issue experienced by GM.
I trust that with the GM issue being surfaced at this time Aptera will take extra care while testing battery performance and battery management
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 11:52 am
The cost is up to 1.8 billion for GM now, since they expanded the recall to include 2020-22 Bolts and Bolt EUVs following a reported battery fire in a 2020 Bolt with US made batteries.
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm
My concern at this point in time regarding batteries is getting a reliable supply largely because of the explosion of demand from more established auto manufacturers.
With demand at its present level, one might take a more commodity-based attitude to battery pack. While you can’t mix different chemistries in any individual pack, the commodity option would allow for battery packs to be built to size.
As Chris was saying in the latest investor’s zoom, the batteries may not be precisely, say 40kw packs but could be 38kw or even 43kw, depending on the cells used.
By having a broader choice of battery cells and chemistries, will make it less likely that battery supply will be a production bottleneck.
More importantly, by de-emphasizing the selection of the specific cell and configuring the battery pack to kw sizes these packs emphasizes the commodity nature of battery packs while also highlighting the robustness of the BMS. This approach establishes in a dramatic demonstration of adaptability, that Aptera is ready for the next generation of battery storage.
I mean right now, I’d be excited if I could replace the 22kw A123 battery pack in my Spark EV with an upgrade as there has been a lot of improvements in battery tech since 2013 when it was made. That this kind of upgrade is baked into the Aptera’s DNA with its right to repair philosophy.
The costs would seem to be the time required to configure and build the packs using, I assume, pouch batteries of differing chemistries (not in the same pack) so that 1/3 of the 40kw batteries are from battery producer 1; 1/2 of the 40 kw batteries from battery producer 2, and 17 percent of the batteries from producer 1 but with a different chemistry than the first 1/3.
Basically, you have a battery box which is where the pack is set and has the capacity to cool the units.
You might have to engineer three different battery box builds for the “40kw” battery size and three more for the 60kw and an additional three for the 25kw pack. The 100kw pack might only have two battery suppliers and two builds. I suspect, given the price/demand curve, that this kind of strategy not only emphasizes the plug-n-play DNA of Aptera, but will provide a strategy designed to keep battery costs as low as possible.
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 3:23 pm
I think we all need to remember that ‘data’ is what drives the economy these days. And what would a strategy of having X, Y and Z all supplying battery cells that fit within the range of power output specs.
All of sudden Aptera has the data on all kinds of aspects of battery performance from three companies with meaningful amounts of data.
The problem, of course, in this particular time, is that major car makers are trying to justify the massive weights and sizes of ICE vehicles. Their legacy production system is based on stamping steel which is welded together by an army of robots in a system that has operated as an effective barrier to competition because of the massive capital investment needed.
Aptera, with its simplified manufacturing process involving exclusive use of composites for a super-strong, super-light, super-safe monocoque cockpit that can be built by real people, real artisans.
This less is more, emphasis on efficiency in both production and in the essence of the vehicle is revolutionary change in the way cars ‘are made.’
To me, the long term goal expressed in three-wheeled Aptera produced by 2050 is over 50 million as this car more simple than the Model T (16+ million made), more efficient than the VW Beetle (23-million) and a hellava lot more fun than the Toyota Corolla (40 million).
So why do I think 50 million Aptera by 2050 is realistic? There is one trait that Aptera has with these and other cars like the Escort, Civic and VW Golf, all among the top selling car models of all time, is the sense of frugality they engender.
And a car that ‘fuels itsself’ when left outside, has the highest range among EVs, rolls with only 75% of the resistance a 4-wheeled vehicle and is so aerodynamic that efficiency increases with speed, doesn’t dent or rust and is upgradable both over the air and by physical upgrade and may well last 40 or 50 years. That is FRUGAL on steroids.
There was one other Ford on that list of the most produced vehicles. That was Sam Walton’s 1979 Red and White Ford F-150 that was his personal vehicle until he died over a decade later. Walton, who at the time was the richest man in the world, chose to drive the F-150 he bought new because he was frugal. <strong style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; letter-spacing: 0px;”>Alan Dranow, senior director, Walmart Heritage Group said, “He loved that thing, and it embodied the practicality and frugality that was part of his business and personal life.”
MemberAugust 22, 2021 at 8:49 am
Getting batteries at all will be a serious problem for Aptera. Everybody, even Tesla, is production constrained by battery supply. I suspect that Aptera will need to pay a pretty big premium to get them at all.
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 12:37 pm
I will be attending The Battery Show, and will let everyone know if there is any new batteries that will be available for use in the Aptera.
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 2:13 pm
Relax everyone – These guys have been doing this for a minute.
Also aren’t they getting the batteries from Flux Power, Chris Anthony and Michael Johnson’s other company? So – effectively building them in-house? Vertical integration at it’s finest…
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 2:39 pm
Well… Why not Flux Power?
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 3:05 pm
It looks like from the battery tech update recently posted to the forum that Aptera will manufacture their own batteries using some proprietary design. This however, does not negate the concern about acquiring a steady state of materials to manufacture their batteries sufficient to support their product schedule/volume. Still a concerning issue for me.
Also concerned that they are procuring the battery materials from a founder’s company who is also a major voting stock holder. A little to much “Fox in the hen house” for me
A little disappointed in the battery tech presentation. Not many specifics at a point closing on production. I know they don’t want to give away the farm on their innovative approach, but it is time for some detail and specifics not just touting multidisciplinary systems engineering and integration.. That topic more suited to a discussion on R&D methodology.
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 5:38 pm
I may be getting this wrong, but from a quick look at Flux Power’s website, I don’t think they produce their own cells. Their business seems more to be the production of plug and play LiFePO4 upgrades for lead-acid powered heavy equipment: they make integrated replacement packs and Battery Management Systems, but not the cells themselves.
Even if they do make their own cells, LiFePO4 would be an unusual choice for Aptera, given the chemistry’s low gravimetric density and Aptera’s emphasis on low weight. It’s also a poor choice for cold climates.
It does offer a low risk of fire, though. Also: cheaper!
MemberAugust 24, 2021 at 8:12 am
Bob, thanks for the technical assessment! It is good that we have someone on the Forum who can do this for batteries!
I am wondering where the “Cell” held by the engineer in the Battery Video came from or even if it is a “Real” Aptera cell.
I know that Aptera does not want to give away the farm on their proprietary approach, but it is time for some “Forthcoming” as we are nearing a production ready date. A discussion on multidisciplinary systems engineering in the video would be more appropriate for a methodology discussion. I was disappointed in the video as it was billed as a really technical discussion with a Q&A as well.
MemberAugust 24, 2021 at 10:50 am
I’m not any kind of an expert. I’m just someone who has been hanging out way too long on various EV fora, and has learned to use phrases like “coulombic efficiency” and “gravimetric density” as if I actually know what I’m talking about.
I probably don’t.
MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Tesla is selling Model 3s with LFP batteries in China and Europe, and now possibly in the U.S. I’ve seen a few of the articles about charging and cold weather range, and while I don’t doubt that it’s true, this may also just be Tesla working through a few kinks ie as usual, their customers are the beta testers.
I think LFP is the future for EV batteries: cheaper, safer, no supply constraints (other than lithium), and no conflict metals. Other changes are coming, such as silicon anodes, that will raise the Wh/kg numbers.
All that said, I’ll be shocked if Aptera has LFP batteries right out of the gate. They have enough on their plate already.
MemberAugust 24, 2021 at 10:53 am
The issue of batteries is very important to me as well and the battery update was of no substantive content at best… Of major concern to me is the battery safety issue which is why I’m a staunch advocate for solid state batteries. I do realize that solid state batteries will not be available at the time of Aptera production but hope that they provide an option for updating to solid state batteries in the future.
MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 7:01 am
Solid state batteries are still a ways away. Nobody is close to having a mass producible battery. LFP batteries are safer than NMC batteries but they have much lower energy densities and lousy cold weather charging curves. NMC batteries when properly manufactured and with a good battery management are very safe. There have hardly been any Model 3 battery fires, I don’t recall ever reading a story about one. The Bolt, Hyundai and now a VW ID.3 fires all have one thing in common, LG. LG has a serious problem with how they manufacture batteries, hopefully Aptera will stay far away from them.
MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 6:21 am
I’m an Aptera shareholder and am looking at other tech in the same space. I think this company may be on to something wrt battery and motor management and efficiencies.
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MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 8:38 am
watching the aptera videos early on, the founders seemed to instill some nda covered collaboration with bigger ev concerns. hoping they employed Telsa’s approach to partner with bigger OEM’s. you may or not be aware but tesla collaborated with Toyota and Mercedes and made it possible for said OEM’s to manufacture and sell EV’s in California. otherwise, those 2 companies would have been locked-out of California for New Car Sales for some time. GULP ! the toyota rav4 EV and mercedes B250E are of what i speak. these are not GREAT cars because they are COMPLIANCE cars. but my belabored point is HOPEFULLY Aptera has gotten Elon Musks attention and is getting Telsa’s help. i think they may have an NDA for FSD and Batteries. if not, they need to get an audience TODAY. Elon wants EV’s to be successful. Elon helping Apterra out would be merely paying it forward and continuing to make his job easier. consider this: elon had to give up 3,500 motor /drivetrains to Mercedes for them to make 2014-2017 MB 250E in the middle of the Model S ramp. that HAD to hurt. he did a similar thing with Toyota for the RAV4 EV before that….the aptera has the possibility to become REALLY GOOD. i just hope they don’t use a crap 3.3kW charger or Fe batteries. so far, they have come down on the side of efficiency and cost. i expect them to continue this but hope they see the wisdom in keeping SOME important base options. time will tell……exciting to watch Aptera and the whole EV market grow IN GENERAL.
MemberAugust 31, 2021 at 10:27 pm
I believe Aptera has gotten the attention of Elon Musk. Elon Musk is a fan of innovation and Aptera has a lot of innovation: solar charging, skin cooling, in wheel motors, torque vectoring, composite body, extreme aerodynamics, and other things.
I believe many of the components (hardware and software) in Aptera are coming from Tesla, which is trying to help Aptera.
MemberSeptember 1, 2021 at 1:33 am
Aptera has built in prices for the different size battery packs that will assure they can get cells.
One of the ways that Tesla is finally able to start to produce vehicles at an affordable mass market price, is by producing there own lower cost cells.
I am sure that the cells used in the Aptera will be the most likely part to evolve with time.