Winter

  • Winter

  • Peter Robbinson

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 5:49 am

    While I realise the initial market is going to be in the south, particularly California, I’m in the north ( cottage country Ontario) and we get lots of winter.

    I’ll itemise some of my concerns.

    1. How is the car going to be heated? As well, that’s a big front window, is there adequate heated air available to keep it clear?

    2. Is the rim for the tires a standard size? Will I be able to put a proper winter tire on? How do I change the rear tire and are the wheel covers easy to remove? How do I lift the rear of the car to get that tire off? Of the pictures I’ve seen so far of the Aptera the tires that are on the vehicle would not be adequate for my area.

    3. Up here in the winter we get lots of slush and ice, sand and salt, on the roads. What happens is that this mixture accumulates in the wheel wells, so much so that blocks of dirty ice form to such an extent that it will rub against the tires and we have to kick it off. This dirty ice when really frozen is like concrete. With the current design of the Aptera that slushy ice is going to accumulate inside the wheel coverings and once frozen lock of the wheels. This isn’t about the motors freezing but an accumulation of ice between the wheel covers and the tires. I would much prefer to see a motorcycle type fender with an optional panel that can be easily removed or added on the outside when the weather is good.

    As an aside, aesthetically I don’t like the current design of the front wheel covers. They don’t reflect the shape of the car.

    It needs to be understood that the great aerodynamics of the vehicle that has been focused on is going to be compromised here in the winter with snow and ice accumulation on the body and suspension.

    I’m certainly hoping to purchase an Aptera. It makes a great deal of sense to me, even up here in the great white north.

  • Ray Holan

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 6:15 am

    Hello, Peter. I appreciate your concerns. I am in Cleveland, Ohio and we get our fair share of snow and slush in the winter. I have seen a reference to the current size of the wheels and tires being the same as a Fiat 500. That would put them in the category of “standard” size wheel and tire although on our side of the Canadian border we see many more 19″-20″ wheels and tires. Of course, I assume nothing is finalized yet including what tire and wheel size will be used.

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 2, 2021 at 7:58 am

      Yup, mostly bigger tires up here as well. There are lots of smaller vehicles like the Fiat that seem to do fine as well.

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        October 3, 2021 at 6:10 am

        I should mention that paradoxically, narrow tires tend to do better in icy conditions than wider tires all other things being equal. Ignoring the different rubber compound formulation of winter tires to keep them more pliable and grippy in low temperatures, a narrower tires puts more pressure per square inch on the contact patch than a wider tire. I have had a number of different brands of winter tires on compact cars over the years and invariably the width of the winter tire that is recommended is narrower than the all-season or summer-only tire. One more example of common sense (i.e. wider tire is better and gives MORE traction) not being true in the real world.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Peter, you are welcome to Snow Bird with us in Florida (Many Canadians do) where you can enjoy your Aptera year round

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 2, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Haha! not a chance, I need the change of seasons. I spent time in Singapore, which I loved, but the weather was uniformly boring and drove me nuts πŸ™‚

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 8:45 am

    To your concerns:

    1. The current design uses resistance heating: The hope is to use a heat pump. The vehicle has AC so air used for defrosting will also be dehumidified, as in most modern vehicles.

    2. The rims are “standard” – Aptera currently rolls on 195/45 R16 rubber. The design of the front wheel pants and rear wheel skirt are still in development but we’ve been assured that wheel access will be quick and easy. We have not yet been told anything about jacking the vehicle although I’m sure they’ve not forgotten to consider it.

    3. Electric motors generate heat – I wonder if the in-wheel motors won’t generate enough heat to keep slush in the wheel-wells from hardening…

    4. Whether we find the shape “pleasing” or not, it will be determined by aerodynamics.

    5. I’m pretty certain that everyone understands that Aptera will benefit from its aerodynamic shape only when it is traveling forward and only at speeds over 45 mph (73 kph). Most people also understand that any form of precipitation will compromise the vehicle’s aerodynamic gains.

    6. I, too, can hardly wait for Aptera to reach the point where serious testing can begin and we have actual answers to all of our speculations and questions!

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 2, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Great reply, thanks. As to the motors generating enough heat, no not likely up here. Plus, while the slush may be soft while driving, consider leaving the car with the wheel wells full of slush over night to come out in the morning to solid blocks of ice πŸ™‚

      • GLENN ZAJIC

        Member
        October 2, 2021 at 10:46 am

        I am not an engineer, but I believe that the snow, ice and slush will not stick to the plastic wheel pants the same way they would stick to metal fenders. Remember that movie where the kid licks a flag pole and has his tongue stuck to it? Now think, if that was PVC would the same thing happen? I think not.

        • Peter Robbinson

          Member
          October 2, 2021 at 11:37 am

          The inside wheel well covers are generally plastic. Even with smooth surfaces the shape of the area will trap ice and snow.

          • Randy J 20820

            Member
            October 3, 2021 at 5:05 am

            That’s my experience as well – plastic wells. I’m in Brampton ON and as I’ve stated in another discussion I may end up keeping my current car as my winter beater and using the Aptera 8 or 9 months of the year. Looking forward to the drive up Airport road to enjoy the Wasaga beach area.

  • ELISABETH SMART

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Funny you mention snow. Fairbanks in my area just received 8 inches of snow today and it’s our second storm. My vehicle will be a 3 season. But snowbirding sounds tempting!

  • Philip Raymond

    Member
    October 2, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    I’m in Chicago here, at times in January colder than some parts of Alaska. I am concerned about the “wheel pants” ability to repel snow. I haven’t yet, but I probably will go with the off road option, just for the higher ground clearance and tougher wheel pants.

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 3, 2021 at 5:04 am

      I didn’t know about the off road option, I’ll need to look into that, thanks.

      • Bob Minor

        Member
        October 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

        FWIW, Im In Chicago as well and have opted for the “Off Road” option. Like you all up north, Chicago is a brutal place for a automobile. I get the feeling that most EV’s are essentially designed for heat concerns rather than cold. There is video out there of the Elaphe motor being bench tested in just about every condition possible including sub freezing conditions with high moisture content. At least we know the motor will be fine.

        The “wheel pants” will be sketchy in winter weather. In a Chicago winter, its quite common to have this 20lb block of frozen gray crud stuck to your wheel well after your drive into work. For a regular vehicle, you just kick it a couple of times and it falls off. There is reason for concern about the street slush freezing in the wheel skirting on the Aptera after your morning commute. I have no doubt that the wheel motor will break that bond, but I’m concerned about what else might give way when the wheel initially turns to break that ice bond. Im also concerned about frozen material rubbing on the tire causing wear.

        <font face=”inherit”>We will just have to see. If its easy enough to remove, </font><font face=”inherit”> I’ll try to clean out the wheel pants after the road soils them😊 . </font>

      • Curtis Cibinel

        Member
        October 5, 2021 at 4:03 pm

        They also mentioned in some meetings from may that you can also just take the wheel covers off. Probably lose quite a bit of aerodynamics but at off-road speed (generally under 40 mph) that isnt a big deal

        • Bob Minor

          Member
          October 5, 2021 at 4:31 pm

          I do vaguely recall that but I don’t recall the mechanism to remove it. Id really like to keep them on all the time and just remove them to clean out the frozen slush when necessary. Or perhaps, Ill just have to take them off on the really bad days and take the efficiency hit until the roads are dry again. That makes we wonder what kind of a mess that would make with a “free” wheel kicking up stuff while driving down the road with now ” mud flap “

          • Curtis Cibinel

            Member
            October 5, 2021 at 4:46 pm

            Looking at the tent design (trust me you don’t want to see it rain on that thing) I do have some concerns with offroad and winter conditions. clearly things are engineered in California. Personally I deal with fairly mild winters here in BC so not a huge concern. A tiny electric heater in the top of the covers could probably prevent things from sticking anyway.

          • Peter Robbinson

            Member
            October 5, 2021 at 8:08 pm

            What I think I’d like to see is the wheel cover being two pieces essentially. A motorcycle type fender with a nice fitting outside panel that can be secured with two or three flush mounted latches and can easily be removed for access to the wheel assembly.

  • John Malcom

    Member
    October 5, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    The electric motors in the wheels generate a considerable amount of heat to the point they have to be actively cooled. This heat should be more than sufficiant to melt and dissapate the accumulation. Aptera employs an innovative liquid cooling system to keep the wheels at the temperature for optimum performance. Aptera will go through cold, snowy conditions testing. That would be the time to ask this kind of question.

    I can see this as a possible problem for two wheel drive Apteras in such conditions as they would not have a hot motor to melt the accumulation.

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 6, 2021 at 4:33 am

      The time to ask a question is, as early as possible, to draw attention to potential issues as well as making Aptera aware of concerns that customers may have. Tires in general generate heat from friction and in city conditions from frequent braking, perhaps not as intense as the motors but still well above freezing. The inverse square law for in heat works just as well in a wheel well as anywhere else. Keep in mind that up here in Ontario we use salt on our roads and ice accumulation is still a problem.

  • Philip Raymond

    Member
    October 5, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Another fact about the wheel pants I found out recently, is unlike any other car or truck where the wheels bounce up and down with each road bump within the wheel well, the front wheel pants move up and down with the wheel over every road bump. I think this would help to minimize the snow/ice crud build up that Bob mentioned. I also think taking the pants off when the snow is a foot or more would probably work out better than forking over $1000 for the off road package that will only raise ground clearance by about 4 inches.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      October 5, 2021 at 10:08 pm

      Good, practical, recommendation

    • Bob Minor

      Member
      October 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      For me, I see every additional inch in height equals another day the Aptera may be useful in severe winter conditions. 5 inches is great for snowless climates. Another 4″ is totally worth the extra cash in my opinion. It seems an average “snowy” day will give you a snow rut of 2 to 4 inches. Main roads are always cleared first. Secondary roads during a major snow event may not be cleared for up to 10 days. This is key. A residential street may have ruts over 5 inches for over a week, but the main road is bone dry. Heck, we had ruts up to 9″ for a week last winter. It just is what it is. Even a freak downpour can put 5″ of water on I290 for over an hour. I plan on driving the heck out of my Aptera. Im pretty confident it will do fine and with a little extra height, even better. I have backup plans as well.

      As for crud in the skirt? I doubt the heat in the wheel motor will have much impact on the slushy mess we get, but who knows. Lets imagine a January day in chitown after an 8′ snow fall. Its zero degrees F outside and the windchill is – 8. The city has poured a bunch of thawing agents aka salt turning most of the slush to hard ice ruts. This is where the extra height comes in. Now lets say its 10 degrees F and the windchill is 0F. Now we have 2″ of liquid slush. On the secondary streets you drive slow and begin to pack slush in the wheel skirt. Then you pull into an unplowed lot and pack fresh show pack into the wheel skirt. You park and head into work. Perhaps that fresh snow pack begins to melt some with the motor heat but that -8 windchill is quickly cooling the Aptera down. So now, whatever heat you had melted some snow into a liquid that is now rapidly freezing again. This happens quite often on my car. Doors get frozen shut due to vehicle warmed snow thawing and refreezing when you stop.

      My plan? See how it goes. Maybe worst case get something brush out the wheel pants as best I can before heading in. From photos, it looks like there will be some access on the inside of the skirt/pant. Like I said, It is what it is and I don’t plan on letting some cruddy weather stopping me from using the Aptera. If more people do, maybe the weather will go back to being less radicle.

      • Peter Robbinson

        Member
        October 6, 2021 at 5:50 pm

        Yup, pretty much the scenario I can see in the winter.

  • Joshua Rosen

    Member
    October 6, 2021 at 7:48 am

    Is the off road package variable height or is it just a fixed extra four inches? Raising the car will make it less efficient on the highway so it’s not something you would want to do most of the time but being able to do it selectively could be helpful. Several years ago, i.e. before covid, we went to PEI in my Volt. As soon as we crossed over from Maine to New Brunswick the car started to scrape bottom. The roads in New Brunswick are terrible, they don’t look bad to the eye but my Volt certainly didn’t enjoy them. When encountering roads like that it would be nice to increase the ground clearance a few inches.

    • Peter Robbinson

      Member
      October 6, 2021 at 9:06 am

      I would think on the Aptera the height difference would just be the wheel covers not the whole vehicle, it has plenty of clearance.

    • John Trotter

      Member
      October 6, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Not obvious why the off-road version would change aerodynamic drag significantly. In any event, I assume they will model it. I am reserving an off-road version, not for rock climbing but for getting over the crest in my driveway. Tapping the bottom is something to avoid.

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