Scary Comparison: Overpromise & Under Deliver?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Scary Comparison: Overpromise & Under Deliver?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Scary Comparison: Overpromise & Under Deliver?

  • Scary Comparison: Overpromise & Under Deliver?

     Ray Holan updated 1 month ago 17 Members · 42 Posts
  • Ray Holan

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 5:13 am

    Lately, I’ve reacted negatively to the prominence of “1,000 mile range” in Aptera headlines. I’m referring to YouTube titles and other media. It certainly makes for an eye catching headline, but we all know it has yet to be proven by an Aptera on real roads, billiard table flat or otherwise. I gather “sporty two-seater” would fall on deaf ears of a buying public that is fixated on crossovers and SUV’s. What if the maximum range is “only” 780 miles, not 1,000? How would that affect Aptera’s credibility? Would that under-delivery be chum in the water for the mainstream media sharks?

    This line of thinking got started when my wife and I watched this video last night about the rise and fall of Theranos and their blood-testing machine:

    Elizabeth Holmes: The ‘Valley of Hype’ behind the rise and fall of Theranos [documentary] – YouTube

    Couldn’t help but draw some parallels: private funding, visionary leader, major media coverage, major buzz on the internet, investors lining up to fund it, “game changer” aura, slick looking California headquarters. Spooky.

    Don’t get me wrong, I drank the Aptera kool-aid a long time ago. Big fan. My spider sense though is warning me that too much buzz, too much hype might be counterproductive. The 1,000 mile range may be the most attention grabbing headline, but not the best choice of major selling points for Aptera. Is there such a thing as too much buzz do you think?

    In contrast to the Theranos story and on the positive side we seem to be getting much more transparency and credibility from Aptera. Also, in contrast to the more enthusiastic Aptera fans (myself included), I note that Chris and Steve come across as believable, focused and deliberate, not wild eyed and charismatic in all the promotional videos I’ve seen. That’s a good sign IMHO.

    Anyhow, curious about the reactions of others on this forum.

  • DeVonte Graham

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 5:24 am

    I myself have thought of this but i trust that they have done the right math to come up with this conclusion..the only other way to prove this would be for a Aptera customer to get the car and drive it 1000 miles. Or Aptera themselves doing a road trip and driving the car 1000 miles and record it like a mini documentary. For example, Lucid Air did a track run against a Tesla where it beat it in a race…that was a live example of what the car can do. I believe Aptera would benefit greatly from showing and displaying the car can go 1000 miles.

    Lucid Air video

    https://youtu.be/5AUD1SyJ7Pg

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 5:37 am

      Couldn’t agree more, DeVonte. Demonstrate the range. All would be well and the naysayers would be silenced.

    • John Reilly

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      I agree DeVonte: I suggest having interns drive a 1000M car for a year criss-crossing the US while producing a YouTube V-log. 30K for the car, 20K for the interns, and a lot of free publicity.

  • Lou Verner

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 5:52 am

    I share your concerns Ray! I’ve been experiencing gastrointestinal distress every time I hear Chris or others tout the 1,000 mile range w/o qualifying that that is only for largest battery pack. It is my understanding that all the stated ranges for various battery option are only theoretical, since none of them have actually been put into the alpha vehicles. Conversely, my GI tract has responded very favorably to reviews of the new Hyundai Ioniq and Kia ev6 that indicate real world ranges have exceeded stated ranges by as much as 10%. I wish Aptera would couch all their statements about vehicle performance in some squishy terms that don’t come back to bite them when the final product hits the road. Better to underpromise and over perform!

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 6:12 am

      Thanks for your perspective on this, Lou. I know it’s hard to include the fine print in public statements especially when it comes to range. I’m used to hearing “your mileage may vary” with ICE promotions and advertising. I think it’s critical, especially in the early stages of a new product’s life, to avoid dashing customer expectations. Fingers crossed here.

    • Peter Jorgensen

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 7:35 am

      I have a Kia Niro EV and it’s way over on range every time. It’s rated at 239 miles but routinely is 308-313 in the summer. On snow tires with the heater running it’s 250-280.

      Apparently Teslas struggle to meet their rated ranges, while most non-teslas beat their ranges.

      • Joshua Rosen

        Member
        November 1, 2021 at 10:59 am

        It’s a different rating. Tesla uses the five cycle EPA test, most everyone else uses the two cycle test. The five cycle test covers more scenarios, temperature for example, so it doesn’t need a huge fudge factor. The two cycle test is just city and highway, to cover the situations that aren’t measured a huge fudge factor is applied. As it turns out that fudge factor is overly conservative which means that cars that are rated by that measure routinely outperform the EPA numbers. I’m getting slightly better than the EPA numbers with my Model 3, my average energy consumption over the last 9000 miles is 228Wh/mile, but when I had a Volt I routinely did 35% better than the EPA numbers in the summer although it did so badly in the winter it probably averages out to around the EPA numbers.

        I’d guess is that Aptera will probably use the five cycle test like Tesla instead of the two cycle test like Kia. Range is such a big component of Aptera’s claims that they will want to use the most generous test cycle. Until they say otherwise it’s best to assume that their range claims will be based on the five cycle test, when they actually ship the car there will be independent tests that will give a more realistic view.

        One more thing. The EPA should get their act together. Come up with a single test suite that everybody must use, it makes no sense that they define two separate test suites that yield inconsistent results. A variant of the five cycle test should be required of everybody. The five cycle test accounts for heating which is really important in EVs, the two cycle test doesn’t. Perhaps the results should be derated by a larger number than it currently is to give consumers a more realistic number than the current five cycle test but the important thing is that it give an all season number and that it be the same for every manufacturer. Consumers rely on the EPA range rating in a way that they never did for EPA MPG numbers. MPG is of minor concern to most consumers, it effects their costs but not the general utility of the vehicle, you can get to where you are going in any gas car, they gas tank is always sized appropriately. Range is at the top of the list of requirements for an EV and will be until batteries become so cheap that even entry level cars will have 500 miles of range, that’s not going to happen for decade at least for most cars so the EPA rating is important.

        • Peter Jorgensen

          Member
          November 1, 2021 at 11:55 am

          That makes sense! Thanks for the explanation!

        • Steven Kutoroff

          Member
          November 2, 2021 at 10:45 am

          My Model 3 is also averaging 228 Wh/mi using the end of drive 15 mile average. My average driving efficiency is 0.90 which is the actual driven miles divided by guess-o-meter miles (if that makes sense). My driving efficiency low is 0.46 and high is 1.33. Outside temperature makes a big difference.

          EV misinformation is everywhere I look. Thanks for your comment (re:Joshua).

          I’m in New Jersey and will be curious how many miles I can add per day in the sun.

          If Aptera sold an adapter that would let me tap the battery to power the house in an emergency, I’d order the 1000 mi range. As it stands, 400 makes more sense.

          • Harry Parker

            Moderator
            November 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm

            Several points.

            1) I’m in NJ, too. Have you checked Aptera’s solar calculator to check what they estimate for your number times you’ll need to charge per year? You can get a rough estimate by playing with that. Based on that, it looks like NJ is in solar zone 6, and that works out to get you between 25 and 30 solar miles per day (with the full solar option installed).

            They modified it on this new web site so it no longer lists daily summer and winter solar charging miles nor annual charging miles for every solar zone (bad!) but they did upgrade the world map to have more detail (good!).

            2) Aptera has announced they plan to include a 120 volt AC inverter to allow you to plug in appliances and power tools, or even charge another EV (at a slow Level 1 rate only).

            • Steven Kutoroff

              Member
              November 2, 2021 at 4:12 pm

              Have to admit that I haven’t looked at the information since August when I ordered mine.

              I figure that if we end up buying (somewhat likely) we get the solar recharge we get. Fatalist sometimes. Retired, so no commute. Not sure need a car, but solar and electric. Want one.

              The included AC inverter sounds sweet. As Aptera starts delivering, I will be reviewing my order. We keep our cars in the garage. The Aptera is made for the outside.

              How do you think the 3 wheel setup will work in snow? Are you adding the 3rd wheel drive option? I’ve added the extra ground clearance (“off road”) for potholes and snow. Does it make sense to you?

  • Lou Verner

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 6:20 am

    🤞

  • Joshua Rosen

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 6:41 am

    I think the solar claims are more deceptive than the 1000 mile range claim. While I think putting a 100KWh (usable) battery into a two seater isn’t particularity practical it can be done. The 40 mile per day of solar energy is much more deceptive. For most states that amount of energy isn’t available and even in places where it is how many people park their car in the sun? I live in New England which they claim you can get 20 miles per day of solar power. However my neighbors who have modern houses all have garages, you won’t get any solar energy parked in a garage. My house is two hundred years old so I only have a two horse barn instead of a modern two car garage. I park in a driveway but over that driveway is a magnificent oak tree that shades the car, if I could get five miles of solar range a day I’d be doing well. In winter my car is under a car cover, as such there will be zero solar miles in the winter. Before the Internet I used to spend about a month a year in Silicon Valley, my recollection was that garages and covered car ports were common there. In the states that get the most sun, Arizona and Texas, parking your car in the sun turns it into a kiln. How many people in those states park their cars in full sun?

    These claims are getting them attention that they wouldn’t get otherwise so I don’t see a way for them to back away from them. BTW Toyota’s new BEV will come with solar cells, they are claiming a whopping 3 miles a day of solar range, to make it sound better they state it as an annual number and they are counting on the fact that people can’t do arithmetic.

    What I see as the game changer for the Aptera is that extreme efficiency which makes it possible to go 600 miles with the same size battery as a Chevy Bolt. But that doesn’t make headlines. Nobody cares about efficiency, if they did the top three vehicles sold in the US wouldn’t be the F150, the RAM 1500 and the Silverado.

    • Lou Verner

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 7:05 am

      Joshua, agree that solar claim also oversold, especially given that SEV is now starting to appear as a “thing”. Actually don’t think many people, regardless of geographical location will find that feature very useful…if they drive on daily basis, they’re still going to want to charge their vehicle in standard way. Talking heads would be better off emphasizing charging rate of Aptera much more efficient (able to use 120 to get full charge overnight) than other EVs. Speaking of efficiency, from what I’ve been reading, most folks still mostly hesitant about going EV because of “range anxiety”…Efficiency never mentioned! So tout the fact that Aptera can get you twice the range (with right battery pack) as the Bolt for the same price!

      • Curtis Cibinel

        Member
        November 1, 2021 at 11:31 am

        Overstated or not the solar aspect and max range headline get people interested. As production starts I wouldn’t be surprised to see new marketing focusing on overall efficiency, performance, cost etc. I park in a garage and don’t expect to get much from solar but being able to change on 120V while having a sports car with viable storage is a no brainer.

        In my opinion it is almost certainly their next vehicle will be a 4-5 seater coop build on the same design bones (stretch it a little, tougher suspension and add seats). This will let the Aptera compete for the typical family car market.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 11:31 am

      Joshua, your point about Aptera being able to go further with a smaller battery and Lou’s point about its ability to charge overnight via 110V are good selling points that should be communicated to prospective customers. These are competitive advantages. We should make them part of the conversation.

    • Robert Klasson

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      I think solar charging will be a very useful feature. I plan to leave my Aptera out in the sun to charge the whole year around. I plan to use the south west corner of my garden to arrange a parking lot for my Aptera. It’s mostly unobstructed and will get sunlight most of the day when the sun is shining. We also have a parking lot at work which gets sunlight most of the day when the sun is shining.

      Estimated yearly production where I live is 864 kWh per installed kW of flat solar. The companies selling roof solar around here claims it varies about 10% from year to year based on weather, so I think it should be fairly accurate. An Aptera with full solar should get almost the same, or around 1.5 kWh a day. My daily commute is 11 miles round trip, with an estimated consumption of about 1 kWh (no highways on my daily commute, so I hope to get better than the estimated 100 Wh/mile). 50% overproduction should be plenty to cover any miscalculations. I will have to plug in at least bi-weekly during the winter though, since I live at 57° north and we only get an average of 1 hour of sunlight in december and january. It averages out somewhat over a year though with 18 hours of daylight at mid summer.

      I also think (most) people will understand that you’ll need to leave the Aptera out in the sun to get any free charging from the solar panels. No need to assume people are idiots.

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        November 1, 2021 at 12:58 pm

        Hi, Robert. I hope you do get the solar electricity you are hoping for from the Aptera’s panels. Sounds like you’ve taken into account a number of factors to make your estimates and your short commute will certainly help. Remember though, that the typical roof-installed solar panel conforms to the pitch of the house or barn roof and, depending upon your latitude, is therefore close to an ideal inclination for solar electricity production. Whereas, the solar cells on a fully optioned Aptera are grouped into several distinct areas with different angles. Most of the areas are flat and not angled to get maximum solar. The cells on the rear hatch (25 degree angle?) seem to be best suited for maximum solar if you can park the vehicle with the rear hatch facing South or Southwest as you described in your post. But this means, you’re not going to get much from the other clusters of cells.

        • GLENN ZAJIC

          Member
          November 1, 2021 at 1:21 pm

          My plan ( at this point ) is to park forward facing S – S/W and pop open the hatch to have it about the same angle as the hood. I am retired and have a secure area to park in so my only consideration will be cleanliness of leaving the vehicle open. Might have to design some little bellows thingy to keep out the leaves or other debris. This plan may not even be necessary in summer months and would only do it weather permitting the rest of the year. As little as I drive this may be overkill.

          • Ray Holan

            Member
            November 1, 2021 at 1:45 pm

            Hadn’t thought of that open the hatch technique, Glenn. Clever.

          • Riley -_-

            Member
            November 2, 2021 at 12:53 am

            I have also thought about parking with the hatch open and pointing the car south to maximize the solar range, one option to keep the inside clean would be the camping kit.

          • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

            Member
            November 2, 2021 at 8:15 pm

            maybe the tent option can keep the inside from getting wet if rain happens unexpectedly. or tsape some tarp or something. security would be a issue though.

      • Curtis Cibinel

        Member
        November 1, 2021 at 1:03 pm

        The solar is great if you are in a high sun area and parking outside consistently in a place without shade is practical. I suspect these caveats will cut into functional charge substantially. In my area (zone 1-2), with losses due to trees, snow, potential curtailment (over production) in the summer etc I estimate it would take ~12 years from a $ perspective to justify the expense of the extra panels (which are very reasonably priced). This is also ignoring that I park in a garage or covered carport generally.

        Traditional panels make far more sense unless you are someone for which these issues are rare and the convenience of not needing to physically plug in is substantial.

        PS: I do still effectively have free charging because I have a electrical plug in my detached garage and the cost to upgrade the infrastructure to meter usage is too high for the strata to bother.

      • Robert Klasson

        Member
        November 1, 2021 at 1:34 pm

        I used the estimated values for a flat roof (0° pitch). All the different angles of the Aptera solar should average out to approximately the same if parked at a reasonably good angle and if the system is built not to bottle neck on the least illuminated cell.

        You’re right Curtis, the pure economical break even point is 13 years for me, but I’ll go for the full solar anyway. There is a bit of a convenience factor to consider as well, being less reliant on charging infrastructure.

  • John Trotter

    Member
    November 1, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    How about the promise to be a “multi generation car”? (I.e. An Aptera, with repairs and replacements, can be handed down to kids, grandkids, etc.) By definition, it’s a promise that will, hopefully, take decades to demonstrate. With composite monocoque basic structure and right-to-repair pieces and parts, I think it is plausible, but may well be an “over promise”. Thoughts?

    • Pistonboy Delux

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 8:05 pm

      While the multigenerational vehicle is a delightful idea to the parents, the kids wouldn’t want to be caught dead owning their parents car.

    • Curtis Cibinel

      Member
      November 1, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Ya that seems like a stretch to me to. Cars and tech evolve. Parts availability with 3rd parties involved can’t be guaranteed. Most cars last 10-15 years and go through 3-4 owners. Yet to be seen if evs extend this by much.

    • Riley -_-

      Member
      November 2, 2021 at 1:06 am

      This car is unique enough to have lasting appeal to future generations. I am a 4th generation owner of a family car and when it comes to inheriting a car the coolness factor is almost always the keep it or sell it factor.

      • GLENN ZAJIC

        Member
        November 2, 2021 at 1:54 am

        I am with you on that Riley. I think it will take a generation before other cars catch up to the Aptera. I just hope my daughter doesn’t think it too cool for me!

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        November 2, 2021 at 6:40 am

        Thanks to John for starting this interesting sub-thread. I guess we could title this “what kind of promises are good bets for being fulfilled”.

        Side note to Riley: I gotta find out what your 4th generation car happens to be? 57 Chevy? 71 VW? I can relate my 40 yr. old stepdaughter is lusting after a late 60’s or 70’s Chevy El Camino. Go figure.

        As John pointed out, repairability is one of Aptera’s strong selling points. Its simple design and commitment to “right to repair” is in direct opposition to the increasing level of complexity we see in the latest ICE and hybrid vehicles. Not much left there we can repair in our driveway.

        The other solid Aptera promise is being rust-resistant. Given its composite body an Aptera is more likely to last long enough to be passed down to the next generation. The original Honda Insight is in the same category. It’s aluminum body shrugs off the corrosive effect of winter salt here in Ohio. There are many 2001 models motoring along in the hands of the sons and daughters of their original owners.

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      November 2, 2021 at 7:19 am

      How are you going to replace the battery 15 years from now let alone 25 or 50? Battery technology is evolving quickly, batteries are going to be very different from the batteries that we have today. You’ll need to completely rebuild the pack and have a different controller. The tech in the car will be hopelessly out of date in just a few years let alone in a human generation. Someone will be able to do a restomod if they want to but that’s not the same as multi-generational. No consumer good more complicated than a cast iron frying pan can last for generations.

      • Paul Hackett

        Member
        November 2, 2021 at 8:48 am

        This is always the story with restoring an old car. The parts/materials can almost always be sourced from parting out and after market sources as long as the original vehicle was relatively popular and the numbers produced are more than minimal. And this is easier now than ever with the internet. I’m sure future generations will learn to make composites in the garage for body repairs in lieu of learning how to use a MIG welder etc… And in the future when we don’t have figure out how to re-build an old Carter or Stromburg Carburetor we/they’ll figure out how to re-wind an electric motor or replace the battery pack.

      • Curtis Cibinel

        Member
        November 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

        Yep the skillset will change but hopefully with “future tech” it wont need to be an optimally engineered solution to work well (ie higher power density). Just match the few key specs with a power converter (star wars reference) then drop in a new reengineered battery module with 3000 mile range.
        Perhaps companies will even kits for all the collector EVs (first model Tesla roadsters are expensive now but will be insane in 20-30 years).

        • Paul Hackett

          Member
          November 2, 2021 at 9:57 am

          Yeah Ray, for whatever it’s worth I totally agree with you. I took a ’49 CJ3A down to every last nut and bolt and rebuilt it. Everything was completely available either after market made in the USA body panels or salvaged parts pulled by someone and listed on Ebay. It was painfully easy compared to working on my 1st car in HS, a 1970 Volvo when the only way of finding parts was going in person to junkyards and pulling them on site. As you say, when the battery technology advances someone’s going to come up with an adaptive replacement better than OEM. Besides there’s just fewer parts to go wrong on a EV.

          • Curtis Cibinel

            Member
            November 2, 2021 at 10:09 am

            Almost as if EVs aren’t deliberately designed with a fixed lifespan. Automotive has historically been free of this type of industry collusion since ICE cars have a lot of parts which fail over time (lookup light bulbs in the 1930s – they were very open then).
            Battery tech is already very good, rust is easily prevented, active safety will reduce crashes, and minor damage is repairable. Tesla, Aptera and others will make vehicles that won’t need replacing in the same 200,000 miles / 15 years as ICE cars. Eventually we will end up making far fewer cars due to longevity and eventually FSD largely killing a need for ownership.

          • Ray Holan

            Member
            November 2, 2021 at 10:31 am

            Paul, your 1970 Volvo reference gave me a smile. My first car was a 1964 Volvo 122S. I remember the grand adventure of balancing the twin SU carbs. I learned a lot taking the brakes and sundry other bits apart. Some of them I even managed to put back together! There’s a lot to be said for analog vs. digital. Kinda wish our family had hung onto the 1956 Buick Roadmaster my Dad used to drive.

            Not sure who will inherit my Aptera after I’m done with it, but I remain optimistic about newer batteries and controllers being able to be retrofitted if the next owner desires.

            • Peter Jorgensen

              Member
              November 2, 2021 at 11:55 am

              It’s definitely a different game. I’m a mechanical engineer so I love the physical mechanical stuff, but once I dig into the programming it’s pretty crazy how powerful it is. I made an automatic transmission emulator using an arduino on CANBUS to keep a subaru happy when it was swapped to manual. The same module can do whatever I want, from stopping the car to turning the cruise control off to changing numbers on the dash. It can do almost anything with just two wires, and it just takes learning a new set of skills and using new tools.

  • Paul Hackett

    Member
    November 2, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Deep breaths. We’re all familiar with the posted claims and relative accuracy of “mileage/range” claims; relatively similar comparison with IC engines. What it says on the sticker is never the same for the many reasons we’re all familiar with; weight, wind, temperature, hills, tires etc. I’ll volunteer to “do the “cross-country” test-run/demonstration, as I commute once a month from Boulder to Cincinnati… in a Prius. And as a foot note my 1st hybrid, 2000 Honda Insight I once got 75 mpg on a 250 mile drive from Cleveland to Cincinnati; I think it was rated near 60 mpg best case scenario. Even those who may be switching from IC engine SUV know the drill regarding mpg/range estimates. But still a great idea to “do” a real world demonstration and turn it into a marketing opportunity.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 2, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Paul, that’s one heck of a monthly commute from Boulder to Cincinnati!

      I’ve had 3 different Honda Insights. Similar to Aptera, the Insight was viewed as futuristic and weird looking when it first came out. As you are probably aware, there is a dedicated group of Insight owners who keep the flame burning. Strangely enough, there have been a number of intrepid individuals who have installed lithium battery packs and hacked the electronics to accommodate it. The original pack was nickel metal hydride. In a way, this hybrid 1850 lb. two-seater hatchback car is an Aptera ancestor.

  • Charles Kaneb

    Member
    November 2, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    I think they just need to demonstrate that the top-of-the-line Aptera can drive 1000 miles under good conditions: warm dry sunny day, minimal HVAC use, driver tolerant of sweating, going the speed limit, on an out-and-back trip.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 3, 2021 at 4:57 am

      Just do it, Charles. Agreed. Doing a two-way drive would be the holy grail.

      Looks like we’ll have to wait for late 2022 or early 2023 for a production version of Aptera to do that.

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