the case for an Aptera mini

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions the case for an Aptera mini

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions the case for an Aptera mini

  • the case for an Aptera mini

     G N updated 7 hours, 50 minutes ago 12 Members · 21 Posts
  • John Belmonte

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Scaling the Aptera up to 4 seats and 4 wheels has been discussed a lot, but I haven’t heard much about scaling down. As a follow-on model, advantages would include keeping the 3-wheel classification, identical design, greater urban accessibility, and perhaps lower cost (less batteries if power per mile could be reduced).

    The Aptera has decidedly American proportions for a model with global aspirations. It’s the same width as a modern Lamborghini including side mirrors. People have mentioned European cities, but it would be difficult to manage the Aptera on Tokyo side streets– I find enough challenges with a 70″ wide compact minivan. So I propose a model that is scaled down at least 15% in all dimensions– otherwise same design. That includes wheel width, assuming the wheel motor options allow it.

    I wonder how efficiency would land given the changes: lighter, less rolling resistance, Cd (higher or lower?), reduced solar area, etc.

  • Ray Holan

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Wow. That’s an intriguing idea, John. We know that the vast majority of car trips in the USA are done by a single driver, so eliminating the width needed for passenger plus the extra weight would result in some outrageous efficiency. Would there be sufficient demand for something like this is of course the big question. The other option is to design for tandem seating where passenger is in back of the driver. Makes for great packaging but certainly hampers conversation between driver and passenger.

    • John Belmonte

      Member
      November 8, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      To clarify, I still imagine a cozy two-seater at these dimensions!

      eliminating the width needed for passenger

    • Joshua Caldwell

      Member
      November 9, 2021 at 10:31 am

      The Elio had great demand before odd stuff happened with the company that caused it to never be made. But I am still for a single person commuter vehicle with a 2nd seat behind instead of beside the first one.

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 10:22 am

    I was thinking about this. It reminds me a lot of Aerovelo’s Eta – the Human Powered Bicycle that was able to go 86 mph. It’s a very similar shape to Aptera except on two wheels. I wonder if a gyro-stabilized motorcycle in that shape could reach those insane levels of efficiency…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWZAsIkNil0

    Lit Motors C-1 was a gyro-stabilized motorcycle (can’t fall over basically) with a fully enclosed safety cell. I don’t know what became of it but it’s a pretty cool idea.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43l09z4yy_g

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 8, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks for the link to ETA. Very inspiring story there, man.

      • Peter Jorgensen

        Member
        November 9, 2021 at 7:35 am

        Yep! I actually built a similar bike for a senior project. Since it was done on a shoestring budget it looked a lot cheaper but we spent a lot of time working on the aerodynamics and trying to get laminar flow. That thing went like a freight train. It was heavy but it would sit at 38 mph pretty comfortably. Pretty mind blowing how inefficient upright bikes are…

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 10:34 am

    This is very interesting. A 3 wheeled electric tadpole velomobile (Essentially a mini Aptera that’s pedal powered) is 40 times more efficient than a Nissan leaf, but illegal to put too big of a motor in it or make it go over 15 miles an hour. Unless you go all the way and make it a highway legal motorcycle… Very interesting indeed.

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-10-25/electric-velomobiles-as-fast-and-comfortable-as-automobiles-but-80-times-more-efficient/

  • Joshua Melton

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 11:48 am

    I totally agree. The smaller the better, and I live in Texas. I own 3 JDM kei cars and would love an ultra efficient vehicle of similar size.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      November 8, 2021 at 3:35 pm

      Joshua, I’m envious of your Kei car collection. Which ones do you have? I always wanted an Autozam AZ-1 or a Nissan Figaro.

    • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

      Member
      November 9, 2021 at 11:38 am

      honda s660? gordon murray t43

  • Curtis Cibinel

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    If you want to scale an aptera down and still make it a road legal I’d recommend you lookup the Carver EV or AKO Trike. Very fun little vehicles but compared to the Aptera safety is out the window.

    If short range personal city EVs (single seater or 1+1) take off aptera could definitely make a similar vehicle with a smaller range and drastically smaller size using their existing design competencies.

  • Titus Meusel

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    In my own interest it remains a fair point. For Europe the Aptera should remain within 2×4 meters (78.7×157.5ā€) to qualify as a trike. This is about 10% smaller.

    • Olivier Laroque

      Member
      December 4, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      I do agree Titus.10% reduction of the body, we keep the mechanics. Some adjustments (Yes, not that so easy šŸ˜‰ ). I’m sure Aptera could be certified in Europe.

  • John Reilly

    Member
    November 8, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    I think that the market for an even more efficient vehicle is small. Aptera right now is more efficient than every vehicle that gives out efficiency data (battery size and range). It is also more efficient than a Carver and mass transportation options such as rail or bus (based on generalized data). It is more efficient an an Acrimoto. It may be more efficient than e-bikes, but maybe not scooters.

    I think the Aptera argument is that “this is your all-purpose general car replacement.” I think that the biggest next market is “this is your all-purpose SUV (second car) replacement.” They can make the first and second argument based upon crash tests. However, moving to a smaller vehicle would undermine the “crash worthy” argument of their brand. Moving to a bigger vehicle strengthens the “crash worthy” argument of their brand.

    That being said, it would be great for Carver and Indigo Technologies to just recognize that they don’t have a path to success, and just join Aptera to build the type of vehicle that you want. Your vehicle is Aptera + Carver + Indigo. And yes, it is awesome! However, Carver and Indigo need to realize that they are delaying the future by ignoring how Aptera is better than they are in certain respects.

    • John Belmonte

      Member
      November 9, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      > the market for an even more efficient vehicle is small

      Efficiency directly relates to battery capacity (the most expensive item on the bill of materials) and solar range. Certainly cars compete on price, and the Aptera will compete with EV’s (solar and not) partially based on its solar range.

      It’s wonderful that Aptera is setting a high water mark at 40 mi / day solar range. It’s only going to get better through competition (and wishfully cooperation) of the industry.

    • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

      Member
      November 9, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      i dont think anyone is going to want a second car with increasing cost of living. people will probbably live in compact areas b/c cheap, so most shops etc are nearby given lot of population desnity per shop. so, low speed travel will increase. https://www.youtube.com/c/NotJustBikes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klgWLMQaSc4

  • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

    Member
    November 9, 2021 at 11:36 am
  • John Belmonte

    Member
    November 9, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    motivation: a lot of people want or need smaller cars. For example, their urban area has tight streets and parking, they’re more confident driving a smaller vehicle, the riders are physically smaller, etc.

    Aptera can scale down the debut model, while keeping the same seat configuration, and meet this need. The increment is tiny because it’s still 3-wheel class, little if anything about the car would need redesign, and likely all of the work done on safety would apply.

    If it happens to be more efficient and lower cost, great– that increases the demand and reach of the product. But it’s not the primary motivation.

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      December 5, 2021 at 8:13 am

      There are already a couple of small three wheelers on the market, the FUV and the Solo that are aimed at the city car market, I’m not sure what a small Aptera would bring to the party vs those two. There is also the new Fiat 500E, not in the US yet but maybe, which is tiny but more conventional car.

  • G N

    Member
    December 5, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    A single-seater or tandem (like Volkswagen L1) would be great – especially if cheaper. Could still do the monocoque safety cell; that would set it apart from all velomobiles I know of – even Northern Lights (no testing that Iā€™m aware of).

    I do wonder whether the risks from side winds increase significantly if it gets much lighter or the side-area-to-weight ratio changes. I think those considerations went into their decision to seat side-by-side.

    I appreciate the discussion about second cars. I imagine many households are like ours: 1 car gets a single commuter around; the other gets the whole family around. So optimizing for those two conditions would make sense as the two first models.

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