Is the Battery Upgradable?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Is the Battery Upgradable?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Is the Battery Upgradable?

  • Is the Battery Upgradable?

     Ronster updated 2 days, 7 hours ago 11 Members · 27 Posts
  • DON RASKY

    Member
    November 23, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Does anyone know if the batteries that come with the Aptera can be upgraded? For example, if you order the 40 kWh battery can it eventually be upgraded to 60 or 100 kWh at a later date without costing more than the price differences between the pack sizes and labor? I figure it is unlikely but what a dreamy situation it would be to be able to upgrade the pack like dropping in a bigger gas tank. Dreaming.

  • Curtis Cibinel

    Member
    November 23, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    Unlikely. The suspension would need to be tailored to the pack weight as they would be about 750lb apart. No other ev has done this and this would be a huge feature.

    • Jaron Harding

      Member
      November 28, 2021 at 1:44 pm

      No EV car has done this but Zero Motorcycles does it. You can add on the tank battery later.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    November 23, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    At a minimum battery control software would have to be modified to accommodate the new battery configuration and perhaps the battery control hardware switched out depending on how it is designed. that is in addition to the suspension mods mentioned by Curtis. An expensive proposition

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    November 23, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Considering that the battery pack of most modern EVs is accounts for about half the cost of the vehicle might explain why there are NO EVs that offer “upgradable” packs. True, there are some replacement packs for certain vehicles (first gen Nissan Leaf) that offer a slightly larger capacity, but they can’t be considered as “upgrades”.

    There are precious few ICE automobiles that offer the ability to “drop in” a larger fuel tank, if any.

    That said, if one wants a higher-capacity battery pack at a later date it would, most likely, be more cost-effective to simply buy a different EV at that time.

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      November 24, 2021 at 6:55 am

      Nio does battery swapping which allows you to put different sized batteries into the car. Battery swapping is a feature of the car, they use it as means of charging the car. It seems like an awfully complicated way to solve the charging problem but it’s supposed to be popular in China.

    • DON RASKY

      Member
      November 24, 2021 at 5:47 pm

      My 2.8L 2017 Colorado diesel can be upgraded from a 22 to a 33 gal fuel tank. I was hoping it might be an option to add on modules. Sure would be a nice option especially if the suspension was the same but tunable to accommodate the weight of the different packs. Oh well.

  • George Hughes

    Member
    November 24, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    I think the Renault EV in France has exchangeable batteries and some additional European countries sell the EV and rent the battery monthly.

    The battery pack for the Aptera is a component that is brought to the assembly process like the other elements of an electric drive system.

    People are making the connection that modern EVs are more like computers on wheels than they are the Rube Goldberg mechanical devices designed to entertain.

    Using the computer analogy, it upgrading anything is kind of like adding something on a computer … lets say a graphics card. In the old days, you literally had to pull pins on the motherboard to disable whatever display port was native, you had to have a card that fit a standard but then you had to install the card as well as rewrite elements of the operating system. Now if you replaced your graphics card with another just like it, it would likely work as the drivers, etc. all ‘fit’ and were already installed.

    But if you didn’t have the drivers, no matter how compatible the hardware, it won’t work.

    Anyone with a laptop knows that if you break into the battery, you’ll find 2170 cells in most cases. Those are the same cells that I think Aptera may use but you’re not going to slip them into like you do ‘AA’s cells.

    So, the battery is but one element; there’s the suspension and other aspects of the set up as well as the electronics that will differ. The point is, either someday replacement batteries for an Aptera will be like a plug ‘n play graphics card that opens the door for more graphic options on desktop or an replacement battery in a specific case and of a particular design for a single laptop model that requires the replacement be the exact copy of the original down to its physical form factor …or it is designed to not work without re-engineering the entire laptop.

    Theoretically Aptera’s power case engineering could take either approach depending on their design criteria.

    What they have right now are form factors and a battery pack with specific inputs and outputs.

    Presumably, the form factor of the overall case, including elements like mass, exterior dimension’s, mounting brackets represents the physical ‘pack’ that, provided it can be connected and controlled by the existing controllers either naturally, because it emulates the current battery precisely or because it can install a software driver that makes it compatible, or it requires the replacement of the BMS or even main computer for an upgrade … if there are 1 million Apterea on the road, that market will be served.

    The overall multi-generational right-to-repair ethic that is growing around the ultra-sustainable Aptera will demand that kind of innovation provided production and sales hit the 1 million mark by 2030.

    Depending on incentives, which I think will follow further development of hydrogen fuel solutions, I fully expect a fuel cell powered Aptera with non-pressurized solid hydrogen storage that releases hydrogen with laser light.

    The realization of these options is based on the ability to push Apterea out the door as rapidly as possible.

    • Curtis Cibinel

      Member
      November 24, 2021 at 12:19 pm

      If the battery control system is smart and the vehicle is made of 1-4 interconnected modules with the same power density (for each range option) they could potentially be added on and a heavier weight suspension. This would be an awesome feature but would also be negated if they switch to physically larger LFP packs for the low range versions eventually. This would also probably not be an option since the battery placements might differ between sizes for weight balance. Overall I think we need to distinguish between replacing or adding to the battery. The concept of a battery that can be physically added to by chaining modules is cool but unlikely.

      Replacing the entire pack with a larger one, adding stiffer suspension and tweaking software/BMS would seem to be in line with their right to repair stance but obviously they haven’t officially said anything. Potentially possible but not cheap.

      • George Hughes

        Member
        November 24, 2021 at 4:06 pm

        Curtis:

        The reality of the early version Leaf’s having their 78-mile range extended to 160 miles by replacing the physical battery pack from a wrecked 2018 Leaf is the example I think EV owners think about as their cars age.

        In the case of the Aptera, the hope would be that in eight to ten years there will be additional storage breakthrough’s that will triple the power density over today’s battery chemistries meaning a replacement battery the size/weight of a 2022 250-mile model will offer 750 mile range.

        As long as Aptera’s engineers make decisions that don’t directly conflict with the unknown future we’ll probably be okay with what right to repair provides.

        But I do recall a comment attributed to Elon Musk who said he was inspired by the idea that cars can be made in ways more similar to toy cars – i.e. fewer parts and castings that eliminate hundreds more. With that as inspiration, the notion that in the future the car battery might be something like a AAA that slides into a bin like that used for the camp cook option in a Rivian and be replaceable and removable.

  • Ronster

    Member
    November 28, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Nio “currently” has a battery swap option. They are also considering offering an option to lease the battery (like a subscription model) separate from the cost of the car. Benefit exists of taking advantage of future battery advances &/or upgrades. Battery degradation concerns become mute. I’d be confident enough to say that an OTA firmware upgrade is likely all that would be needed to accommodate any such (potential) battery “upgrade” or interest.

    I’m not convinced this is as complicated as it’s being made to sound. Extended, replacement battery packs have been available for phones and computers for some time. No upgrade to the phone, charger or firmware required to accommodate. I’ve done this often in the past and I liked it when the batteries were accessible vs. sealed. Last time I did was years ago as my last phones, incl. current (Samsung S21 Ultra 5G), meet my needs out of the Box. They usually came with a new back cover to accommodate. My Note3 had a 10,000mah Zero Lemon Battery way back when (the largest available). Yes, I walked around with a brick LOL but I have big hands and it provided great convenience, especially when away from chargers. I’ve also had a 6500mah battery on that same phone that was much slimmer. Remember, I believe the stock battery was 2200mah back then on that top model. Huge difference in added utility.

    Here’s one example I’ve used, as mentioned, but there are many others.

    https://zerolemon.com/

    Certainly there might be some weight considerations as well, “depending”. If the *suspension is set for the larger pack on all, this also becomes somewhat mute as well.

    In the end, everything depends on how things are thought out, and considered, in advance.

    *tweaked accordingly.

    P.S., if you haven’t guessed, my two Aptera’s have the max battery and solar packs. Designed in to be hidden &/or discrete. Added convenience with no regrets. Range anxiety? Nope. Off grid for a while? Sure. Potential to power a few accessories & things? Why not.

    I’ve never gone wrong on resale when I started off fully optioned, on any of my vehicles. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

    Aptera speaks VALUE, style, innovation & rationality in spades.

    Efficient over sufficient; I’m all in!

    • Ronster

      Member
      December 6, 2021 at 1:08 am

      Not that it matters but it was six years ago & as such, this showed up from my archives today. Was 9000mah battery not 10000mah. I believe the stock battery was 2200mah. Anyway, as you can imagine, it could easily last a week “if” I wasn’t on it constantly; three to four days if I was. Was handy when it didn’t matter to be more discrete or on long-haul flights etc.

  • Markus Schmid

    Member
    November 28, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Hi everybody, I’m new here.
    I’m glad to join this community and hopefully will be able to add something useful after having harvested quite a bit of information here.

    On topic:

    On a webinar uploaded on June 14. 2021, Steve Fambro said the following regarding battery upgrades:

    There is nothing I can say right now in beta about how that will go in the future.
    Obviously those important things everybody asks about them – wer’re mindful of them but I don’t have anything new to report.

    Source: https://youtu.be/0jM5-kqWok4?t=3295 (after minute 54:55)

    At least in the YT videos of Aptera Motors there either isn’t any update on this information or I have missed it.

    Besides the former considerations of forum members here regarding some more or less delicate technical questions you might keep in mind what Nathan Armstrong said on another webinar (video uploaded on April 1. 2021):

    […] and as we increase the size of the batteries we are only adding more weight to the same area, so we’re not adding packs anywhrere thet’s going to throw the weight off.
    So as the battery pack increases it just increases the weight but it doesn’t decrease safety or stability.

    Source: https://youtu.be/tx5ufCgRdVU?t=2477 (minute 41:17)

    If I understood correctly, due to consistent weight distribution (safety and stability) the batteries always have the same shape and dimensions but are packed more or less densely.

    I guess this would mean that IF at some time there would be offered battry upgrades, that the entire battery pack had to be replaced, such as “400 miles pack out; 600 miles pack in”, and not adding a “200 miles battery pack” to an existing “400 miles battery pack” in order to get a 600 miles range.
    I believe that such an exchange of the complete battery would not make much sense from an economical standpoint, and selling the “400 miles Aptera” while buying a new “600 miles” model would be the better choice.

    • Ronster

      Member
      November 28, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      How I see them adding the battery modules and the related weight distribution in visually simplistic terms using their images.

      Daisy chain:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_chain_(electrical_engineering)

      As such, adding an OEM battery module may not be as difficult as one might think; depending on the final spec, battery module & related tech (with closer inspection &/or confirmation).

      0:06

      ezgif-7-13940d286aa4

      0:06

      • Ronster

        Member
        November 28, 2021 at 8:02 pm

        There are ways to connect lithium batteries in parallel to double capacity while keeping the voltage the same.

        For example, this means two 12V 120Ah batteries wired in parallel will give you only 12V. But increases capacity to 240Ah.

        Aptera represents: “Simplicity’s by Design”.

  • GLENN ZAJIC

    Member
    November 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    It is a lot more than just adding a battery pack. There is the electronics and cooling system too. Possibly increasing the stiffness of suspension system or additional bracing may be required.

  • Ronster

    Member
    November 29, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Cooling (& heating) is done thru the skin using Hydronics (likely glycol based) according to descriptive & explanations Aptera has made. Look up Hydronics. This “existing tech” adaptation is appropriate for this/their design. SMART. I suspect (as was eluded to in video) that this “radiant system” will also effectively help to assist (at minimum) in controlling cabin temps through a separate loop. EFFICIENT & appropriate tech IMHO, adapted & skillfully applied.

    BTW, I believe I read that Elaphe’s Motors are also oil cooled. I’ll go back later to review or reread.

    As mentioned, if you equip each Aptera to have the same top end suspension (that is tweaked accordingly to variant) this shouldn’t then be an issue.

    Do you “really think they have” “completely different” suspension components & systems between range variants? I’d be surprised. If they do, then you know something I don’t.

    Regarding connecting of lithium batteries in parallel (daisy chain), explain why you think that concept doesn’t work on lithium batteries again?

    Have you read my links?

    Anyway, all I’m saying is don’t assume it’s more difficult than need be. It may in fact be but I’m not convinced in this scenario (& some others) that it is or need be.

    *See related thread & links:

    https://www.aptera.us/community/discussion/gm-invests-big-on-electric-boat-startup-pure-watercraft/

    In particular, they daisy chain in parallel but I won’t repeat myself as it’s all in the links, threads & related graphics.

    IN THE END, unless we have a release candidate in hand OR we work at Aptera directly, it becomes deduction & speculation. Piecing together, almost reverse engineering conceptually at least, to try and determine some things based on what we know, can assume, can deduct and YES, speculate a little at what could, & might, be.

    “What if” whilst exploring the adaptation & application of “existing” tech (simplified as much as possible) seems to be part of the Aptera spirit.

    You may not need to (try but is expensive) invent the wheel (Elaphe as “one”example) when you can source, adapt and repurpose existing tech and components to achieve your goal. Blank sheet rethink of what is possible, is required. Source what’s available (& potentially suitable) to adapt together into a package & into something unique.

    Think about their composite approach for another example. It’s used on high-end boat tech as one “specific” application; not so much passenger vehicles. Aptera, and others over time, will go the composite route due to its benefits; strength, light weight, use of mills over expensive presses. Helps with their micro factory aspirations too. It also facilitates the ability for Aptera to create channels for the Hydronics etc.

    “Aptera”… Simple by Design… especially in their stated RTR/R2R focus and mandate.

    GM invests big on electric-boat startup Pure Watercraft.

    • GLENN ZAJIC

      Member
      November 30, 2021 at 11:07 am

      I don’t know why this got confrontational. Yes I understand the skin cooling principle. I just don’t know if the rest of the system is identical for 25 through 100 kwh batteries. Do you? I asked this question of them a year ago but have not been answered.

      I agree that it would seem to make sense to only have one suspension system tuned for each variant, but I do not know that is the case. It would bode well for people on the lower battery ranges to crank up the suspension to allow for a heavier payload (while getting a bumpier ride without that extra weight).

      I have a basic understanding of electronics and the daisy chaining of batteries. I do not believe they will use one cable harness that works for all variables, but they could if it makes sense. They would be capping off three pigtail connections on the 250 mile version. Would they do that being the efficient company that they are? I could see how it might make sense (from a production standpoint) to have two cable options, one used for 250 and 400 mile and one used for 600 and 1000 mile versions. Then it would be a little easier to expand by one pack (for some) and they would only cap one pigtail at most on some vehicles. Could the extra cost be made up by the increase in order quantity? Possibly, but I don’t know.

      I think the best we can do is to order one size up from what you think you need now. In the future, the technology may exist to reduce the batteries and increase the mileage, ie; solid state or something else. That might make this modification make more sense. At this point, you are correct in that it is all speculation and none of us really know.

      • Ronster

        Member
        November 30, 2021 at 1:02 pm

        Nothing confrontational about it. Expressed my view and take on things. That is all.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      November 30, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Glen is talking about cooling the battery packs not at the vehicle systems level. We don’t know the exact architecture of the battery cooling system at this time. There is some indication that it will be a cooling plate at the bottom. The bottom of the cells/pack is the correct place to cool as that is where heat collects.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    November 30, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Tesla currently uses a predominance of 21700 cells (2170 cells – 21 mm wide and 70 mm tall) in its longer-range vehicle packs for all models. I have these cells in my Model 3. This is the battery cell that Aptera is planning to use for its first production vehicles. (Luke’s Maker Video – Battery for a picture) 2170 cells are rated at 3.7 volts with a top chargeable voltage of 4.2 and a bottom voltage of 2.5. This range has an impact mentioned later. The 2170s are considered tabless batteries although they have a lot of tabs (Collectors) rolled up inside the casing and available at the top at the “nob”. They weigh 68g and are rated at 4800 mAh. Tesla information says these cells should not be exposed to temps above 149F or below -22F for more than 24 hours, thus the need for cooling and heating systems for the batteries. Another feature of Tesla battery packs is that the space between the cells is filled with an epoxy. This makes it very difficult to replace a defective battery cell.

    I have about 4,400 2170 cells in my Tesla. The 2170s in my Tesla are cooled from the side. Not efficient as these cells should be cooled from the bottom where the heat accumulates. Tesla is changing their cooling architecture to place a cooling plate at the bottom of the pack/cells in future iterations of their battery packs.

    Battery packs are built first by serial cell connections into bricks and the bricks into modules. My Aptera has four modules with 46 bricks each. The purpose of serial connections is to build voltage and parallel connections to build amperage/power. The Aptera operates at a 400V (Luke’s battery video). A higher, surge voltage can be maintained for a brief time. Ignoring the surge, it would take about 108 cells connected in serial to achieve the 400V with 4800mAh of power.. A similar calculation can be done to determine the number of cells for power using the 4800mAh value and the total power requirements of the vehicle.

    EV batteries require battery control functionality to manage heating/cooling, charging, discharging, and balancing. Over time cells deteriorate and their voltage varies from the standard. If the variance is too great or the number of cells with a variance passes a threshold, the pack becomes dysfunctional or fails completely. An important function of the battery control functionality is focused on “Balancing” the cell voltages within a set of upper and lower specifications. The closer tolerances are maintained, the better the battery pack performs. I don’t know the exact tolerances, but they certainly are narrower than the lower and upper charge limits for the 2170 cells. A few on the forum once or still have Honda Gen1 Insights and can remember the dreaded “1449 IMA code” which meant you had to get out your grid charger (Charges each cell and balances voltages across cells) or if too far gone, contact Bumblebee for rebuilt battery.

    What does this mean for Aptera? We don’t know yet. We do know we will have 2170 cells in the pack. We suspect a cooling plate on the bottom. And we know that Aptera has an innovative way of assembling the battery packs which is Quicker. We also know Aptera has an awesome engineering team who will figure the best architecture for both vehicle performance, easy of assembly, and fast assembly time with the lowest weight and volume possible plus the lowest possible cost. This is as Luke said a system integration problem not just a module or pack design issue.

    • Arlen Bell

      Member
      December 2, 2021 at 12:35 pm

      We’ll have to see where Tesla goes with 4680 batteries. I’m sure the early Apters will use 2170, but 2023 could well be looking at 4680 or whatever more efficient battery form factor emerges.

  • Ronster

    Member
    November 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Slow it down a little. Lots of expression of tech and detail (Tesla) yet much likely unrelated; whilst some “may” be.

    Take a step back for a clearer overview IMHO. No disrespect intended, however, take it as you may. You are extrapolating on a premise that may or may not apply. Think of it this way, two degrees off on a trajectory of your rocket ship can mean you totally miss your planet of destination by millions of miles. All the details (& “regurgitating” of data for proof of knowledge) in the world mean little IF the premise is wrong OR the model being used doesn’t apply.

    Innovation is not strictly regurgitating but thinking of newer, better &/or more efficient & effective ways to achieve your stated goals using a fresh sheet of paper; whilst “assessing” & adapting BUT without being tied to a historical legacy (incl. “negative” overall mindset AND “negative” thought process). “What if” not “What is”(or “can’t be done”). That’s where true “*imagineers”need be challenged and inspired to challenge themselves; not for what they already know (or have learned via textbook or repetitive regurgitation) but what they can help figure out & achieve through creativity, inquisitivity & intelligence. That is competence beyond years &/or seniority. I posted previously regarding “old guard” (GM etc) vs. “new guard” entrepreneurial mindsets (insert the new guys & China) so I won’t repeat here just for redundancy purposes.

    Innovation is not stagnation; nor an excuse for mental masturbation either. In such case, insert middle finger in each ear & massage one’s brain a little then shake one’s head and continue. 😂

    When you manage your people, culture & resources effectively, most anything is possible; even if not necessarily easy. If it was easy, all anyone need do to succeed is to follow some scholastic “formula”. Professors would rule the world vs. (too often) teaching that which they themselves have little “real world experience” or can’t do themselves. Just think, consultants would make more money “doing” than consulting for others. Just my personal observation over the years. Success is much more than its pieces. It’s the whole. A great chef doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful restaurant owner.

    I learned years ago, in real life entrepreneurship & operations, that there are as many right answers as perhaps wrong. Much depends on your people (the talent), time, culture and resources; not just limited to nor necessaily in that order. What works with one group’s dynamics to get to a desirable answer may not work in another even given the same goal or mandate. That’s often what’s missed in theoretical application. Big picture oversight (“ego free”&/or flexible leadership & guidance is important) without restraining enthusiasm, innovative ideas nor approaches. Challenge then determine & assess. Enough with my preamble or segway.

    Smaller batteries (Aptera, simplicity by design, I might add) also means less heat in this scenario but anyways, take a look at the edited videos (two together as they pertain to what we are discussing here). Look up (research in depth) *Hydronic heating and cooling (glycol based) in the meantime too.

    BTW their hub motors are oil cooled, from my research, understanding & videos; ie. away from body, battery compartment &/or belly pan.

    They are taking a unique & innovative approach. *Remember the composite has channels running through it and the body, or any part of it they choose, & in essence can act as a radiator of sorts to help regulate. The Hydronic system is used to both retain and dissipate heat. This can be used both for cabin but also the batteries using the same system or common loop, as was described (see edited video). Heck, it could even be used to clear off some light snow, “perhaps”; depending on the system &/or loops.

    At the end of the day, it will be what it will be including your stated cooling plate. Not saying there isn’t one but as you mentioned, neither of us know that. We can assume there could likely be one BUT tied into the Hydronic system described.

    Side Note: John, you mention “some indication” of a cooling plate and reference the word “we” for assumed (or authorative) verification of such. Please provide link to related and who “we suspect” IS more specifically rather than generally. It sounds more like a unsubstantiated “word is”, “they say” or “I heard” for support with nothing indicating “who &/or what is”; just take it all at face value without any verification nor proof?! Thanks.

    *”Imagineers” is a Disney coined term that I appreciate for what it says.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      November 30, 2021 at 8:16 pm

      Not sure what this ramble has to do with my post about 2170 batteries but 😁

      • Ronster

        Member
        November 30, 2021 at 8:19 pm

        Yes John. It’s all about your ramble that had nothing to do with Aptera either. I was trying to get you to see past your own mind; one-dimensional, impatient, arrogant, dismissive ego.

        Are we to bow to you? Good luck with that. I see you aren’t use to being challenged.

        ANYWAY…

        Can you answer my questions and provide relevant truth?

        Will you correct your assertions?

        Who’s the rude one? Tone and all? ROFL

        Ego wounded is it? Who is it that likes to hear themselves?

        When someone doesn’t agree with you, are you going to go report again a.k.a. Kindergarten (Keystone) Cop?

        Still awaiting YOUR apology (see screenshot).

        What’s the difference with what you just posted? Hypocrite.

        Best you can do? LMAO

        Piece of work!

        Screenshot related to thread (& relevance) whereas nothing was removed and everything remains intact because there simply was nothing there. He wasn’t even part of the thread or discussion. Ego & over reach? Perhaps. Unable to mind own business? Maybe?!

        Who’s being provocative? Get real!

        • John Malcom

          Member
          November 30, 2021 at 8:37 pm

          Ronster, I stand by my assertions and will not respond to your provocations.

          • Ronster

            Member
            November 30, 2021 at 8:42 pm

            Provocations? What are you talking about? Perhaps look more critically, when looking in your mirror, & at your OWN actions. Seriously!

            Like I said, you’re obviously not used to having someone challenge your assertions and words.

            If you can’t handle the heat & perhaps being contradicted “factually” at times, there is a BLOCK option ❄️.

            Having nothing to say then works for me although I’m not convinced of your sincerity.

            The questions and the evidence (videos included) I provided essentially stand for themselves – once you get past my “preamble” &/or “segway” (LOL) and “matter-of-fact” attempt at openly & honestly communicating with you & others; since you’ve spent so much time talking about “yourself” leading into so many (most) posts. Mine was less boast and more about mindset and approach hoping you just might possibly see a different light switch & perspective in your own head, to no avail.

            Cheers & goodnight.

            P.S. You “could” learn to apologize for yourself rather than others on things or discussions you have absolutely nothing to do with. Provocation? Shake your OWN head.

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