The Aptera Forum
Yes, both wheel covers are clearly visible to the driver while driving according to Aptera Motors FAQ.
FAQ answer #478:
"The wheels are wide at 88" but they are very visible to the driver and after some experience it is easy to track the wheels position. We will be making the bottoms of the wheel covers replaceable though. So damage is not costly."
(The link to the FAQ is in the pinned first post in Aptera Tech Queestions in this forum. You can search it using Ctrl-F. It gets updatd regularly.)
Very good information. Thanks.
BTW I search the FAQ for "fenders", "wheel covers", and "478". None found the post that you referenced.
@dhapp I found the answer by searching for "visible". Don't know why "wheel covers" didn't work.
@Harry Parker Maybe because the "official" ApteraSpeak for them is "pants"?
My point was that from the Aptera drivers' perspective, cyclists may frequently fail to give sufficient room to pass safely even when the math says there is space.
I was going to write "relatively" tiny wheel covers. They are HUGE compared to a leaf, or a squirrel, but a cyclist glancing in a mirror isn't usually concerned about being overtaken by one of them. The wheel covers are tiny compared to what the cyclist is checking for: Body width of approaching vehicles, nearly always well-defined by the headlights, even when off. Therefore they may be easily missed, leading the cyclist to leave the Aptera driver less room than needed.
Again -- spot on. Anyone who has spent considerable time/miles on a bicycle get's it. Cyclist are changing their focus many times and seeing the passing vehicle's body in a mirror triggers a response which is conditioned by the previous hundreds of similar mirror glimpses and may result in the cyclist making an inappropriate reaction, that could be fatal. It is the responsibility of the Aptera driver to give cyclist a wider berth than math alone prescribes.
I'm only 5'6" so if I can't see the top of the right wheel cover then it is going to take me much longer to learn how to estimate when it is safe to pass.
An added benefit to seeing the wheel-covers will be getting the vehicle through my single-car garage doorway. I think I will have about 4 inches to play with.
@dhapp I've placed a small yellow "x" in the center of the driver's seat headrest. The driver should be able to see the front wheel through both the windshield and the door window.
@Kerbe #12705 It seems like the left fender will be relatively easy to see, but not the right. I'm concerned about giving bicyclists proper space.
@dhapp Let me ask you this: When you drive your current vehicle, do you place yourself on the road by looking ahead at the road or by looking at the edges of the hood? I place myself in the middle of the lane by looking ahead and veer toward the center-line when passing cyclists.
US standard lane width is 12' - Aptera is about 7' wide. This leaves 5' for a cyclist, most of whom are less than 2' wide. That's 3 feet of clearance if the cyclist is riding along the edge of the lane, as is required.
I seriously doubt that you'll be any more likely to hit a cyclist with an Aptera than you would be with any other vehicle.
@Kerbe #12705 While your answer is mathematically correct, from the cyclist POV, a car passing within three feet is very scary. There will be some learning required to judge a nonthreatening distance when passing a cyclist, pedestrians, and parked vehicles.
@loswa Thank you. These pictures are great. There will be some learning involved in driving an Aptera.
As a long-time urban cyclist, it's unsafe to ride very close to parked cars since drivers rarely look before opening their door. Frequent quick glances in the mirror are required to monitor vehicles approaching from behind. That quick glance will reveal the narrow body of an Aptera, but many cyclists may miss the tiny wide wheels & decide it's safer to stay away from the parked cars, giving the Aptera driver less space to pass.
@kiteboarder "tiny"? Last I heard they were 16" rims and the "pants" are nearly a foot wide...
If I don't have room to pass a cyclist in my current vehicle, I simply don't pass and wait until conditions allow it.
As a recumbent rider I tend to ride very much on the offense: I'll often plant myself in the middle of the lane at intersections, just to be certain I've been seen, especially when turning.
I also notify drivers coming up behind me that I'm aware of their presence and invite them to pass me or advise them to stay behind me, if conditions warrant: Descriptive gestures do the trick. Admittedly, this works best in suburban and rural settings: Urban riding is mostly about praying to not die... 😆
Turning a mole hill into a mountain, in my opinion.
It was a pretty simple question. Really just a Yes/No answer. Obviously others wanted to chat about it. Isn't that what a forum is designed to do. Scroll on.
This will all be resolved once we each can sit in an Aptera ourselves.
In the meantime, the best we could have would be a photo or video of the view from the driver's seat.
https://www.aptera.us/forum/main/comment/606b6464ab40970015f86313 a quick fix and chassis alternatives that may also improve efficiency plus extras to expand market appeal
16” wheel with 23” diameter tire, so what used to be a medium size wheel/tire, but is now a bit on the smaller side
@Biff Prius runs on 15" rims - the base trim M3 on 18". 17" is the most common size on vehicles sold in the US. So I'm thinking it's not so small...