Design Risks

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Design Risks

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Design Risks

  • Design Risks

  • Charles Lewis

    November 17, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    I’m an investor, a fan and hopefully early owner of an Aptera. If this product meets its design goals it will change the way cars are built. There are so many new innovations.

    Mass producing lightweight composite cars will dramatically improve efficiency. If these bodies can be produced at the expected rate and meet the strength and crash specs it could become the dominant way that cars are built.

    Making the tear drop shaped car(autocycle?) a marketable vehicle. This has got to be close to the lowest aerodynamic drag that could make a car.

    I think this is the first production run of the in wheel motors from Elaphe.

    The speed with which the software is being developed is impressive. There will be lots of testing needed. The larger automakers, even Tesla, are in a maintenance and enhancement cycle which is more expensive. For a short time Aptera will be straight development.

    While I hope for the very best for this Aptera design it’s important to understand what the risks are that need to be overcome.

    In my mind the motors from Elaphe are the biggest risk. The design and testing has been outstanding. But can they get the supply chains and production volume up and maintain the necessary quality. Elaphe is certainly motivated. But volume production will be a new thing for them I think.


    November 17, 2021 at 7:46 pm
    • Charles Lewis

      November 17, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Bruce, This is still a plan and they are not doing the production in Slovenia for some reason.

      • kerbe2705

        November 18, 2021 at 6:10 pm

        Elaphe is an electronics and motor design company – not a volume manufacturer.

  • Pistonboy Delux

    November 18, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Will Aptera get their motors from Lordstown in Ohio, or directly from Elaphe in Slovenia? The article says Lordstown would deliver their first vehicle in January of 2021. Have they delivered any? If they do not need the motors for their truck, would they go to the trouble of making the motors for Aptera’s small need? I don’t think so.

    Motor Trend says about Lordstown: ” The goal remains for fleet customers to receive their first deliveries in January 2022.”

    Would Elaphe make the motors in Slovinia for Aptera? Would I want the motors made in Slovinia?

    • George Hughes

      November 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      My understanding is there are two or three players in the in-wheel electric motor field.

      Electric motors are comparatively simple to make – you can make them at home with some copper wire, magnets and a spindle. It is the IP that surrounds how you make them that separates Elaphe from a startup.

      Also know there are many additional applications for in-wheel motors.

      One that intrigues me is the idea of placing two in-wheel motors on a rather typical pickup truck. Add the motor controller, inverter and a way to power the old trucks 12-volt system, and for something like $15-20,000, you could improve the power of your trusty 2wd f-150 by 100+ HP, add four-wheel drive capability and with a 20kw battery, provide 30-40 miles of EV only range.

      We need to think about cutting CO2 and I suspect in-wheel motors may be a critical tool in doing that.

      I think the case in point here, though, is that the big money is crazy about EVs – the Rivian IPO is an example – and the elegance of in-wheel motors and their implications on how to repurpose the cabin space and vehicle space made vacant by moving the motors to the wheels is an advantage that makes betting on the technology … a real good bet.

      Elaphe is on the verge of being there with the Lordstown contract and I’m sure they’ve invested the time and money to be able to back their promises. If not, there are competitors in the space and Elaphe knows that.

      Part of my recommendation of an independent chain of EV parts stores that do repairs, parts and service plus have space dedicated for the assembly of ‘composite’ based cars … just as you said … is because it gives the suppliers a marketing outlet for their components and stocking those stores helps them scale production. It is really not all about Aptera although Aptera is the point of instigation.

      • Curtis Cibinel

        November 18, 2021 at 1:34 pm

        Gotta say the concept is interesting for old gearheads doing retrofits. The market will always be small for this kind of thing but its the same idea as Fords new electric crate motor. The batteries, dash systems and motor made as simple as possible will allow this to work. My only concern is the risk of non-electricians dealing with high voltage; hopefully we don’t end up frying to many 70 year old retired guys.

    • Pistonboy Delux

      November 18, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      The article said: “But some companies, like Japanese supplier Nidec, think they’re ready. Last year, the company predicted it would be mass producing in-wheel motors by 2023. Aptera also hoped to make in-wheel motors from Elaphe part of its 1,000-mile two-seater, while Chinese company NEVS last year bought one of the most advanced in-wheel motor companies—Britain’s Protean.”

      I do believe there will be more in-wheel motors available in the future, but in the mean time, Aptera needs them soon enough to make 5,000 vehicles in 2022. Will Aptera have enough motors in time. Switching suppliers would be difficult. It would involve significant redesign of the drive train, its mechanical mounting, and electronics.

      I like the simplicity of in-wheel motors. They make it much more possible for start-ups to get in the business. The platform to be offered by foxcon also makes it easier for start-ups to get in the business.

    • Pistonboy Delux

      November 18, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      The following talks about Foxcon purchasing Lordstown Motors , but not the hub motor assembly line.

      It is dated Nov 10, 2021

      I am sure Aptera executives are very much in touch with Elaphe which is very much in touch with Lordstown Motors.

      The plot thickens.

      • Charles Lewis

        November 22, 2021 at 1:47 pm

        Yep. A thick plot indeed. At this time there must be a Elaphe motor production plan in place. Just don’t know what it is. I don’t think Aptera is in a position to switch to a non-Elaphe design without a massive schedule hit. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

  • Charles Lewis

    November 22, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    It’s interesting that no one has discussed the design risk of the composite body. Is there a road vehicle that has used this approach in the past or presently? Composite construction has come a long way. While I agree with the approach, Why this is such a new thing. Any mechanical engineers out there that can answer this question? This seems like a big design risk.

    • Peter Jorgensen

      November 22, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      I’m an Aerospace composites engineer and spend a ton of time designing and working on fiberglass sailboats and various other related things – The body doesn’t worry me at all. Not even a little bit.

      The complexity of a composite body is extremely low and it’s very easy to make a strong, tough, lightweight structure from composites. It’s not well suited to robotic assembly at extremely high rates, but it’s very well suited for low-volume production where 1-50 units a day are made. Most production cars are produced at higher volume so it doesn’t make as much sense. They are also not as concerned about weight.

      Which part of the composite structure concerns you the most? Maybe we can talk about that?

      Fiberglass and Carbon has been common in the auto industry for a long time. Most notably Corvettes, BMW I3, A lot of high-end supercars, etc, all utilize a lot of carbon fiber or fiberglass. Some of them are almost entirely carbon fiber (Pagani comes to mind).

      Aviation uses this construction method a LOT. FRP aircraft are extremely common. This makes sense because they’re concerned about weight, and aren’t making them in high-volume like ford is.



      Diamond Star:

      And others – Pipistrel, pretty much every glider company, even Airbus, Boeing, Cessna, Beechcraft are going that route now!

      • Riley -_-

        November 22, 2021 at 10:48 pm

        When it comes to the composite shell my concern was with the potential fluid channels. I know that aptera plans to use an aluminum underbody panel for cooling but what I am not 100% sure is if the micro fluid channels will actually make it to production. I hope they don’t because it could cause unnecessary complexity to the outer composite shell.

        • Peter Jorgensen

          November 23, 2021 at 7:27 am

          Only the belly has cooling channels. They’re formed into the aluminum tray as I understand it. No channels in the composite.

  • David Marlow

    November 22, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Elaphe is very motivated in working with Aptera, as Aptera will be there largest volume customer. Besides receiving a Beta unit in December to finalize the custom design of the motor and software for the Aptera, they have all ready placed orders for production units. I’m sure just as Aptera is setting up a production facility now, so is Elaphe.

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