By Siobhan Doyle
A San Diego-based motoring start-up has created a solar electric three-wheeled car that doesn’t require any charging.
Developed by Aptera Motors, the futuristic solar electric vehicle (sEV), which has an almost Jetsons flying-car-like aesthetic, features more than 3m2 of solar panels that are integrated into the body. This set-up allows the driver to travel up to 45 miles (72km) a day and up to 11,000 miles per year entirely on energy harnessed from the Sun “in most regions”, according to the company.
The car can also be plugged in like any other electric car and its fast-charging technology can offer a top model charge rate of up to 500 miles of range per hour.
“With Aptera’s ‘Never Charge’ technology, you are driven by the power of the Sun,” says co-founder Chris Anthony. “Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go.”
The company says the sleek, lightweight two-person vehicle is made of lightweight composites that are many times stronger than steel, allowing its unique body shape to slip through the air “with an unheard-of drag coefficient of 0.13”.
Optional ‘add-ons’ include enhanced audio, SafetyPilot (level 2 autonomy drive assistant), safety divider for pets, integrated tent and rear awning for camping, off-road kit, custom interior, and exterior options.
The firm also says that adding panels to the hood and hatch can add another 24 miles of range.
Aptera is available to pre-order, with first deliveries due from the end of 2021.
From 0-60mph: 3.5s
Top speed: 110mph
Miles of range per day on solar alone: 45
Miles per year on energy harnessed from the Sun: 11,000
Efficient solar cells designed into the body structure: 180
Overall area of integrated solar panels: 3m2
Battery pack range, depending on model: 25-100kWh
Weight of Aptera: 800kg with 60kWh battery pack