MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 5:39 am
Most roadside breakdowns supported by motoring clubs are things like. Flat tyre, ran out of petrol, flat battery, Something bad happened and I need a tow, I am stuck in some mud.
Obviously running out of petrol will not be a problem but the others may still need supporting.
– With Aptera, do we replace a spare tyre or do we use Flat Repair spray?
– Is there a 12v battery to run the electronics (not 400V drive battery). In my Miev van, if the 12V battery is flat then you are stuck without a 12v source to charge the battery.
– can you tow an Aptera behind a tow truck or does it have to go on a trailer?
– are there tow points for short a emergency tow?
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 8:38 am
There won’t be a spare tire.
The details of the battery setup have not been shared yet.
Flat towing may be possible but not confirmed yet.
Tow points should be possible.
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 8:47 am
I’d like to see them use a 12V lithium battery instead of lead acid but it’s unlikely. Tesla has started to use 12V lithium batteries in the new Model S’s and they say they want to do it all cars but that hasn’t happened yet and every other EV maker hasn’t said anything about replacing the lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries are ill-suited to EV use, both VW and Ford had problems with the ID.3 and Mach-E getting bricked because they didn’t manage the drain correctly. The lead acid batteries have been known to fail in as little as two or three years on the Model 3, by contrast the battery on my last ICE car lasted 8 years before it needed replacement.
Running out of juice is also likely to become more frequent as EVs become more common and more importantly as they move into the mainstream instead of early adopters. In today’s world where charging stations are far apart EV owners are careful about their battery management, ironically as the charging infrastructure gets better you are likely to see more people running out of battery because they will become as nonchalant about charge levels as people are about gas. AAA will still be able to handle this although it will be slower. Tow trucks are based on pickup trucks, the F150 hybrid already as 7KW of available power and the F150 Lightning will have 11KW, You’ll be able to plug your portable EVSE into it’s 240V outlet and get enough charge to get to a DC charger but instead of the five minutes it takes with gas it will be an hour. Now that Ford has made on board power outlets a feature every other truck maker will have to follow suit. In Europe you have the benefit of three phase power so in theory those trucks could put out 22KW instead of the 11KWs that we are limited to in the US.
New cars don’t come with spare tires anymore with the exception of off-roaders, EVs are not different than any other car in this respect. The solution is a tow. I have a 200 mile towing plan with AAA, Tesla also provides towing and they would be the first call I’d make. Aptera will probably do the same and offer towing services. AWD cars require flat bed tow trucks, you can’t use a hook truck. The same will be true for even the FWD Aptera because it will have to be towed from the back, towing a car on one wheel won’t work, it’s likely to tip over.
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm
Thanks for the info. That should help many buyers with the same questions.
I have a suggestion for future development for towing.
Tow the car with a tow hook from the front.
Add a towing mode to the car where it will
– turn regeneration off
– use the automatic driving system to follow the tow truck
– use the automatic driving system to automatically brake before hitting the back of the towing vehicle.
– use the automatic driving system to watch the tail lights on the towing vehicle and activate the same signal, brake and tail lights as the towing vehicle.
In this mode any car could tow an Aptera using rope ….. with nobody in it. 😀
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 6:33 pm
Funny frankly, how timid those opting for the radical change to electric powered travel are. They’re even more timid than Ford Motor Company :), an institution known more for Henry Ford’s “any color as long as it is black” statement than radical change. I mean Ford was the last to walk away from the front-engine, rear drive car format adopted in what, 1910?
Seems Ford has filed a patent – it is obviously very broad – that calls for towing arrangements for EVs that take into consideration roadway charging.
The Ford Patent involves choosing times when the towed vehicles regen would be energized. https://www.thedrive.com/tech/41529/ford-looking-at-charging-evs-by-flat-towing-them .
I remember a youtube video four or five years ago that put a tow chain on a Leaf and the ensuing pull around the parking lot was shown to be able to charge the vehicle. Went to check if I could see it and this bit showing a Model 3 driver behind a MB sedan being pulled at up to 70 mph, charged from 15% to over 50% in a 20-mile (20-minute) run tethered to ICE sedan. The problem was the MB got about 5 mpg during the exercise as the ‘power expended’ to pull the Tesla in full regen was about 87 hp on top of the energy needed to attain that speed.
What Ford’s patent suggests is that you need to electronically couple the vehicle to the tow vehicle and manipulate the power from the towed vehicle to minimize braking drag from the regen; opting for full regen when descending a hill or other breaking situation.
All moderan EVs offer regenerative braking and all EVs can gain a charge through this process.
I suspect the reason that EV manufacturers have literally shunned this idea is because they were afraid of the liability they may incur if, say someone tows an EV for an extended period it will stress both the tow vehicle enormously and potentially cause an overheating/charging problem with the towed vehicles battery overheating … with constant regeneration.
I think Ford’s realization with its patent is that you don’t want the towed vehicle to invoke full regen with maximum braking at all times. For instance if you were towing my spark EV, you would use the lighter regen of the car in D rather than in the enhanced regen capability of “L” … and you would be in a towed formation for a longer period of time – not the 20 minutes of the Tesla driver here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nILM_DEdBqM
I’m sure the average human being could devise numerous ways to make towing for a charge a disaster from over-towing, over-charging or just some other element of stupidity but the basic law of physics that make regeneration possible operate independently of whether a tow-rope/chain is attached to your car.
MemberSeptember 16, 2021 at 7:16 am
This tow+recharge thought occurred to me too – not surprised others have already been thinking along these lines.
A mod or two tho: A three wheeler should tow easier if it were backwards (with the rear wheel off the ground, thus recharge would need to work in reverse). And most likely this is an RV style 2nd vehicle for trips, so a “limit drag” setting for the recharge rate would be needed. Of course smart electronics could alleviate all the issues previously presented such as turning recharge off while accelerating, and increasing recharge when braking …
MemberAugust 29, 2021 at 8:58 pm
There is a start up that has built modular batteries for onsite charging of EVs (No different than AAA or other road service bringing gasoline) Being tested for road service now. Charge is $25 Much cheaper that towing. Remember, Paradigm Shift. We aren’t in towing Kansas anymore.
MemberAugust 30, 2021 at 7:58 am
I don’t see how SparkCharge has a future. Their system costs thousands of dollars, weighs hundreds of pounds and only charges at 13KW. You can get 11KW out of a 240AC outlet. The Ford 150 Lighting has a 240V outlet and can source 11KW. Tow trucks are based on pickup trucks and every truck maker is going to copy Fords feature which means that every tow truck will eventually be able to charge directly without a bulky device like the SparkCharge.
MemberSeptember 6, 2021 at 12:09 pm
Yes, eventually tow trucks will have this feature natively. Sooner will probably be the AAA service trucks that just do jump starts, emergency fuel, and other basic stuff not requiring a tow. Even those will likely not be converted for some time. The SparkCharge is an interim solution to get us through the next 20 years or so of BEV adoption.
MemberSeptember 6, 2021 at 1:20 pm
If you owned a tow truck would you invest in a Spark Charge? Tow truck drivers are independent companies, they have contracts with AAA but they aren’t owned by AAA. A Spark Charge costs thousands of dollars it’s hard to see how you could ever make that money back even in Southern California where EVs make up a measurable percentage of the fleet. Outside of California there is zero chance that you would make your money back. On the other hand when it’s time to replace your truck you’ll get an outlet for free. Ford has 7KW on the hybrid 150 and 11KW on the electric 150. Outlets are so incredibly useful in a work truck that everybody is going to have them, they are the new cup holders for pickup trucks.
One more thing, I’d bet that a much lower percentage of EVs run out of juice than ICEVs run out of gas. The reason is that EVs are charged at home, there is no forgetting to fill the tank. Gas car drivers don’t think about fuel levels, they just gas up when it gets low. It’s not that hard to put off filling your tank a little too long and then running out of gas, can’t happen with an EV that has home charging.
MemberSeptember 6, 2021 at 11:39 pm
I was working with an OEM that had plans to place our prime-rated 125kW propane generator running liquid propane on electric or LG-powered tow trucks. A patent is pending. The main usage was charging dead electric service vehicles and not personal cars.