FWD and AWD comparison and infoPosted by jesse-liebl on August 18, 2021 at 9:28 pm
In one of the company talks they mentioned possibly up to 10% less range with the AWD version of the vehicle. This could affect my choice on AWD vs 2wd. I have a few questions to help me decide my preference.
#1. will the AWD be selectable to 2wd to gain back some efficiency if desired?
#2. Is 2wd true 2wd as seen in a case such as a limited slip differential in a 2wd ICE car. or since it is hub motors the lack of a differential could allow for true 2wd or locker type rotation where if one were to peel out they would leave 2 track marks instead of 1 track mark as experienced in a conventional differential 2wd vehicle. If this was a true 2wd full time type of drive system I suspect many would opt for the 2wd versions to gain back efficiency. ???
- 91 Replies
- MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 9:28 pm
I’m used to thinking about all an AWD vehicle being more stable on snow/ice. Would a 3-wheeled, AWD vehicle be similar? I’d like to take my Aptera to the local ski hill (Colorado). I’ve read that the AWD version is faster but I don’t really care about that. I’d love to save a little and not spend for this particular upgrade but wondering if I’d regret it on snowy drives. I understand that Aptera is working with other countries to create something that is good for cold weather but one has to wonder how much innate winter knowledge comes from a manufacturer in San Diego. (No offense, I like beaches too.)
- MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 10:57 pm
Aptera will definitely handle better with all wheel drive on most icy conditions. Depending on how deep of snow you would also need the offroad package to give it the higher ground clearance/ stronger wheel covers. I’ve never driven a 3 wheel car befor and am concerned about the centered rear wheel not having much traction as it plows its own train in the center of the lane.
- MemberAugust 18, 2021 at 10:57 pm
My understanding is yes, AWD for a 3-wheeler will be better on snow/ice. Which is the reason I’m going with it. Took me a half-dozen tries last winter in my Prius getting up the hill on the unpaved snowy road that my fiancée lives at the end of. Also plan on using this to get to hiking trailheads; often those are at the end of really terrible roads.
- MemberSeptember 27, 2021 at 11:49 am
At only $2500, AWD is probably less expensive than replacing your fiancée…
- MemberOctober 1, 2021 at 4:58 pm
Between handling (safety) and making it into an inexpensive ~3.5 second sports car that out performs a jaguar F type as well as basically every other gas sport car under $200k, I cant imagine many not taking this $2500 option for all wheel drive. I feel Aptera is missing a potential marketing angle. Sports cars are a market that want to get noticed so the unique look of the aptera is a plus and being a 2 seater is completely normal.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 4:24 am
3 wheel drive should have better control. I too am wondering about that mound of snow that can build up in the centre of the lanes of rarely plowed side streets and country roads.
I like the low ride look of the Aptera, the off road option not as much. It may end up being my 8 month car and I’ll keep my ICE as a winter beater like I used to do with my Mustang convertible.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 7:25 am
On the highway will it be able to operate with the rear motor only? FWD is subject to torque steer, RWD has better handling characteristics. You don’t need a lot of power when cruising on a highway, the Aptera in particular shouldn’t need much because of it’s low CD. Using the rear motor only when you don’t need lightning acceleration or to get our of a snow back should give you better handling and potentially better energy efficiency.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 9:10 am
No torque steer. In-wheel motors means no drive shafts. Torque steer comes from unequal length driveshafts. Also, you can’t just “turn off” an electric motor, although you can reduce it’s impedance or something like that to minimize drag. Not sure exactly how that’s done or works.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 9:29 am
You can turn off an electric motor depending on it’s type, permanent magnet vs induction. Tesla does it.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 10:01 am
Aptera does have torque control. From the FAQ:
How does Aptera handle in the snow and cold weather?
With all-wheel-drive and vectorized torque control, Aptera handles beautifully in the snow and ice. We are designing specifically for a lot of the cold countries that love electric vehicles. The Aptera will have a full climate control system capable down to -20 and up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. With our sandwich core composites body offering great insulation and a nice heater, it’s very comfortable to drive in the winter.
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 9:59 am
Why didn’t Aptera come up with a one wheel drive option for the rear? Acceleration would likely have been less than 10 seconds anyways, and likely better mileage too. Just me thinking. Any ideas?
- MemberAugust 19, 2021 at 11:15 am
The obvious answer I would imagine is lack of stability with no torque vectored steering from the front wheels. I would not drive such a vehicle nor would such a vehicle pass safety testing
- MemberAugust 20, 2021 at 7:15 pm
when braking weight transfers to front of car giving front tires most of the grip vs rear tires, so rolling resistance is needed most at front so motors and their regen braking is there. it may still pay back to have rear wheel drive only assuming driver brakes slowly enough almost all the time, so front brake caliper is bigger for in case braking needs to happen quicker.
- MemberAugust 20, 2021 at 5:14 pm
I’m pretty concerned about winter highway driving on 3 wheels. Seems like a high probability of fishtailing in the inevitable mound of slush (or black ice), even with torque vectoring. But who knows, maybe torque vectoring is more effective than I expect??
The only 3-wheelers I see around here are weekend/3-season toys like Can Ams and Slingshots, whereas I’d want an Aptera specifically as a commuter. I suppose I could just work from home on those days….
- MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 1:18 pm
I wouldn’t be thinking the worst for winter driving.
For those in markets where snow fall is a likely issue – basically north of the Mason-Dixon line – snowy roads are often graded, eliminating the excess accumulation of snow and ice in the center of the lane.
In more southern climes, when it snows there is no grading and the roads typically have two quasi-snow free tire lanes with the accumulation of snow in the center of the roadway.
In the two-wheel drive Aptera, the rear wheel in this instance is in a space where the surface is covered with the original accumulation plus what ever re-frozen slush has been deposited there from the other wheel paths.
Because mush of the accumulation has been either packed down or removed, the two front wheels will face lower rolling resistance than the single rear wheel which must plow through the center accumulation.
That rolling drag is situated in the center of rear of the Aptera and acts like an anchor you drag. The vectors in the two-wheel and all wheel configurations obviously would default to this ‘stable’ center-rear dynamic.
Fishtailing in this context is actually more likely in a four-wheeled rear-drive car because the essence of fishtailing is the desire of the rear wheels to overtake the fronts which is more likely if the rolling resistance of the rear-wheels is less than that of the the fronts.
You might experience a little fish-tailing in the Aptera when turning out of the well-worn paths in the snow while making a lane change or left/right turn. This would occur when the front wheels engage the mounds in the center of the road and the rear is in the ice of the path. It is then that stability control and torque vectoring may be employed to keep the Aptera stable.
In any case, the Aptera ought to be more stable than a four-wheeled car with rear drive and with stability control and torque vectoring, it ought to out perform a typical FWD four-wheeled car.
The Aptera’s range will take a bigger hit in the snow, though, as the rear wheel’s rolling resistance when driving on the center of the lane accumulation, is simply higher, adding greater drag to the equation. It may also ride a little rougher, depending on the consistency of the slush.
Also, if you want to keep physics for your friend, you should drive slower because, regardless of the vehicle, slick roads are slick meaning that you should always take extra care when driving in ice and snow.
That said, I would be less concered about driving an Aptera in snow or ice than I would any rear-drive car or pickup ever made.
- MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 6:17 pm
As Elaphe is custom-designing the motors and controllers for Aptera, I’m guessing we won’t know the answers to these questions until they’ve received a prototype in Slovenia and can experiment with it.
- MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 7:16 pm
2wd is more efficient, awd is for extra quick acceleration and agility. i guess they will also maximize use of rear motor in a drama mode, another mode for efficiency and smoothness.
- MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 8:14 pm
Mr.(s) Norwalk and Bolinsky are quite right, too early to get an authoritative answer and not to worry because you have plenty of time to get the information you need to make your decision.
Engineering is complete for Betas and Beta build has started. There are two more prototype iterations before a production vehicle is ready. All of the prototypes will go through a refinement cycle and testing. The results of the testing will be made available and Aptera can then answer questions with real world testing data.
Also, let me remind you that Roush was working with Aptera on suspension design and Aptera has redesigned the rear suspension, so any data available prior to the redesign will no longer be valid.
Aptera is pretty open about their engineering so I am sure you can expect a satisfactory answer when the data is available from testing.
- MemberOctober 19, 2021 at 7:00 pm
I saw that the top end speed is 110. I assume it is for the awd. Or is that an limit on both?
Lets put it all in one spot
2wd 5.5 ?
Awd 3.5 110
These may be old, incorrect, or imprecise values that have changed with design updates
- ModeratorOctober 19, 2021 at 7:13 pm
My understanding is “as stated in their FAQ spreadsheet:”
But FWD and AWD 110 mph (rpm limited)
Yes 0-60 mph
FWD 5.5 sec
AWD 3.5 sec
- MemberOctober 23, 2021 at 6:33 pm
Living in Canada, and knowing that the ratio of 65-35 is the weight set up for the Aptera, I don’t expect an issue with fwd vs awd. I also have an 84 Trihawk and it is FWD and corners like a Lamborghini. Some one mentioned having just the rear wheel being powered, (similar to a slingshot). I feel I can out corner a sling shot in my Trihawk any day better set up with the weight distribution.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 1:37 pm
I drive sometimes 6-8 hours a day for work, my main reason with interest with these. AWD seems best option but how much power with you lose/ miles lost.
Example, with 600 range. What would it be with AWD? Like 450?
- ModeratorNovember 12, 2021 at 1:50 pm
I have only heard/ read.. figure about 10% range loss for AWD… There will be some over air updates. What exactly?
There will be cameras that are for side and rear view , but why not or other things
The rest TBD. I am hoping the upcoming six to twelve vehicles, now that we are into beta builds will show many of these unknowns
I personally put everything in my cart ????as you don’t have to to commit until order time.
Lots of personal choices
- MemberNovember 27, 2021 at 7:23 pm
Can someone weigh in on the advisability of AWD in flat and snow-free Florida? I’m thinking that the extra mileage may make it worth getting the AWD. Also we can get some frog-strangler rain storms where it may be helpful, but I’m not entirely sure. We need to do monthly trips of about 200/250 miles round trip, mostly on Interstate highways with insane drivers that routinely do 70+ mph and tailgate. Thanks.
- MemberNovember 27, 2021 at 7:56 pm
You may have that backwards. The FWD will likely go some bit further than the AWD on a charge. Seems the only reasons to consider AWD in Florida is if you think that you need the extra acceleration and perhaps superior torque vectoring to better cope with water on the road and maybe escape from those manic brodozers.
- MemberNovember 27, 2021 at 8:45 pm
If range is on your radar, then FWD makes more sense. This car will be peppy enough without AWD. I can only think of 2 main reasons to go with AWD; you are a speed demon and want to blow sport cars away at red lights, or if you have serious weather concerns like snow. I’m in New England and I’m not considering AWD because I’m not willing to give up the range. Aptera’s design is too hard fought for efficiency and I want the range freedom I currently do not feel with my EV.
- ModeratorNovember 28, 2021 at 4:45 am
Good comments from the others!
The FAQ state about a 10% hit on range with AWD.
I am doing 60kwh for my hopeful occasional cross country trip, and for that slight AWD hit.
Off Road kit hit unknown ( weight/aero change ) “If Any Loss?”
I have 4 miles of primitive roads, where only about two months during monsoon I like AWD.
Rarely see snow here
I don’t need the 0-60 in 3.5 sec with AWD. The FWD’s 5.5 sec is more than I ever had!
Maybe you can rent, test drive a fast EV and assess that for yourself? Have an EV friend or go to and EV event where some give rides. I test drove a Tesla and Mach-e at dealerships or shows.
I drove my friend’s Tesla X ( AWD) for a few hundred mile interstate road trip mainly, with joy! Granted it was sunny and dry
Unlike ICE, pure torque, no hesitation when you accelerate !
Just know the vehicle acceleration rate you are test driving for full understanding
I had a ride in the Sol. Fast! and only a FWD alpha Aptera
- MemberNovember 28, 2021 at 6:20 pm
I had the same question as I live in Florida too. With the Aptera being so light, I am wondering about adding the third motor to avoid hydroplaning on seriously wet roads. Does anyone know if any test drives have been done with the Aptera in heavy rain? I am curious to know how the FWD and AWD will perform on wet roads. Thanks, I am new to the community so apologies if this has been discussed.
- MemberNovember 28, 2021 at 9:26 pm
As they start shipping stay tuned on YouTube (assuming you’re not in the first 500). Awd is the safer bet for winter but i hadn’t considered hydroplaining. For $2500 it’s also performance mode. I’ll also be offroad with that package.
- MemberNovember 29, 2021 at 2:45 pm
Thanks to everyone for the great information. Right now we are leaning toward the AWD for heavy rain conditions and the 1000 mile battery so it doesn’t matter if we lose a bit of range. I’m kind of hoping to see some beta testing on really wet roads/downpour situations before making a decision, but don’t know how long I should wait before ordering if there is going to be a price bounce in the near future.
John Trotter: Got a chuckle out of the 75 years old remark. I’m pushing 70, but my husband is turning 91 next month and he STILL likes the idea of going fast. (I do the driving!)
Richard Greete: We are in the Keys, so the rain here is less than on the mainland, but we do get into some really heavy storms when we have to go to Homestead/Miami. Lucky for us, too much rain is a valid excuse in the Keys for just not getting on the road, particularly if you are having fun right where you are. LOL
- MemberMarch 16, 2022 at 1:52 pm
I am curious as to AWD and FWD miles per charge in the city and on the highway? I know which is faster, but does it use more energy in all circumstances? or is there a time when the AWD is more efficient than the FWD?
- ModeratorMarch 16, 2022 at 1:58 pm
Search in this forum for the FAQ Spreadsheet as it has over 400 answers and you can search through those answers, direct from Aptera
When this was answered a long time ago they said to figure about 10% range lost.Again everything has to be validation as they head to production.
I hope that helps
- MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 10:46 am
New to the discussions, so not sure where to post my question, but this seems as good a place as any: I’m deciding on AWD vs FWD and interested in the pros and cons. Pro for the AWD is it’s faster, and gets better traction, Con is it’s more expensive and apparently results in some range degradation. Any others? I live in snowless California, so is the traction issue an issue? Thanks for any feedback.
- MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 11:14 am
I’ve reserved an AWD version but I live in New England and would never consider a 2WD car if AWD was available. If I lived in California like you I’d pick the FWD variant. The FWD is more than quick enough and you’ll get better range.
- MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 12:24 pm
I see Aptera as my midlife crisis sports car so the AWD option is basically just for the fun factor; useful in winter but I could get by without. I really feel they are ignoring the roadster / sports car marketing angle. Cost to performance ratio is amazing.
- MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 1:34 pm
Curtis, that’s exactly my point of view for choosing the AWD. The upgrade cost from FWD to AWD is minimal taking in consideration the performance gain. I live in NJ, and I am completely fine with my FWD car, but the performance gain for the Aptera’s AWD is great, and the upgrade cost is not very big. I’m also fine with losing 10% of the range, since my daily commute is about 6 miles, the solar charge would take care of that. Having a 3.5 second car (to 60 mph) for this price is amazing.
- MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 1:53 pm
What’s your idea of what a sports car or a roadster is supposed to be? For me it’s nimble handling, I want it to be fun driving on mountain roads in Vermont. Speed and acceleration is irrelevant in that application, on the mountain I won’t be going faster than 40MPH. I’m getting AWD because I don’t want to get stuck in the snow and I want to be able to use all season tires all year long because changing tires is a pain. I don’t care about the extra acceleration, I get dizzy if I floor my AWD Tesla and that’s a second slower than the AWD Aptera, I drive with a very light foot.
This isn’t a race car, it’s top speed is only 110MPH so I doubt anyone will be taking them to a dragstrip. But classic roadsters were never about speed, they were always about handling.
- MemberMarch 20, 2022 at 11:21 pm
Like everyone here I am excited to get my Aptera, and we have heard their outlined plans/goals for production. With the initial Paradigm reservations (400 mile, FWD) likely to be the first models built and delivered to those lucky customers, hopefully by the end of this year. Then in 2023 Aptera’s production should ramp up to deliver more EVs to those of us who reserved them at the initial company introduction. And after the initial run of 400 mile, FWD models are built, other configurations will be produced with smaller and larger batteries. But in the announced/rumored production plans I didn’t really see the AWD option mentioned. I expect that Aptera will build a few fully loaded, special press vehicles early in production that will feature different battery sizes, AWD, full solar, off-road, and maybe Safety Pilot packages to show off the Aptera’s full capabilities. I’ve ordered the 40kWh/400 mile battery (which should help) and I’ve also chosen full solar and Safety Pilot. But of all of the options, I really don’t want to give up the added acceleration and traction of AWD just to get mine earlier. And I am wondering where in the Aptera production timeline plans that the AWD motor option fits in.