- MemberAugust 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. ???
- 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.
- MemberSeptember 27, 2021 at 8:13 am
I’ve had this thought too. Say you’re driving on a long highway, you can choose to disable the motors on the screen so it just runs 1 motor (rear) or 2 front motors. To help get more miles out of the trip. when you need AWD you can enable it during weather suited for it.
- MemberOctober 1, 2021 at 8:53 pm
I am not sure why it would not work. It works very well on the Polaris Slingshot that has a 20 inch rear tire drive. I would be concerned about regen braking.
- ModeratorOctober 3, 2021 at 6:25 am
I can contribute my past experience with an electric three-wheeled vehicle I owned in early 2000’s. It was the Gizmo EV. Used Trojan lead-acid batteries and had an electric motor driving the single rear wheel. The major drawback of the single-wheel drive was losing traction in slippery conditions. In the dry, everything was fine, but with a bit of rain or light snow it was disconcerting to drive — I was always on high alert in those conditions. Couldn’t punch the accelerator if an emergency required it. Company still has a website. Not sure if they’re still producing these EV’s.
- 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.
- ModeratorOctober 7, 2021 at 4:40 pm
I doubt you will get an answer directly from Aptera in this forum although…. you never know!
Info@aptera.us might be more direct way to try
They are only at Alpha and cutting Beta vehicles
Unless you have an early reservation number… you have plenty of time to find out
I ordered everything, as I can change anytime “ on line” and do not have to commit until order time
- 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 20, 2021 at 9:22 am
Based on drag and motor output (50kw) they would reach equilibrium with rolling and air resistance at rather extreme speeds of 217 mph. The motors have plenty of power (50kw each) but cant switch fast enough. If they wanted to Elaphe could probably solve this but I don’t think it would be very useful beyond just another high marque spec. Technically the lower battery size vehicles could max out even higher but not by much (about 2 mph assuming the smaller battery can output at the max draw of the motors). The skin cooling could potentially also be unable to keep up with this for any sustained period.
Note: Many of these numbers are my estimates. Here is the chart if you want to make your own copy and play with the numbers. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Tuu7avKH2dS_JPk7aiP2av09a1f1WE0OvvNH6fdHpiQ/edit#gid=0
- MemberOctober 20, 2021 at 5:11 pm
If Elaphe did solve it, I suspect the Aptera could be a Cannonball run contender provided it had really good DC fast charging.
- MemberOctober 20, 2021 at 5:44 pm
Ya while I stand by my calculations related to range and the physics it looks like extrapolating top speed by powertrain kW is not an accurate approach. Applying the same logic to a model s plaid ends up with insane numbers – almost 300mph. I think the flaw is that any EV motor will drop off in power and efficiency at higher speed.
- MemberOctober 19, 2021 at 7:16 pm
Thank you Leonard. I could not find it.
- MemberOctober 20, 2021 at 5:39 pm
These figures are pretty much guesstimates until the production vehicle is tested…
- 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 7:57 am
Tesla ties the battery size to AWD, Aptera doesn’t. If you are buying a Tesla in Florida then you would want AWD just to get the bigger battery. With an Aptera the only advantage of AWD in Florida would be the extra acceleration but the hit to the range and the extra complexity (i.e. something else to go wrong) wouldn’t be worth it. I’m getting AWD because I live in Massachusetts and wouldn’t consider any car without it, AWD is the difference between having to put on snow tires or not.
- ModeratorNovember 28, 2021 at 6:15 pm
All these answers were right. Because I am in a different situation, I’ll try to add a little bit of why we chose AWD.
Looking at Teslas, it is hard to get an exact comparison between AWD and RWD, but Wikipedia indicates that in 2014 there were both AWD and RWD Model S with EPA ratings of 40 and 38 kWh/100mi, a 5% hit. Also, the current Model X has two configurations listed: two motor and three motor, with ranges of 348 miles and 333 miles, respectively. Again 4 to 5% penalty for the third motor. I’m guessing the Aptera estimate of a 10% hit will prove to be conservative.
I do like the acceleration of our Tesla Model Y, Performance. After one test drive, my wife would have it no other way. Do we use it much? Of course not, we’re 75 years old for crying out loud.
We live in a flat desert, but it’s not far from serious mountains and we want four-season, go any direction, transport. In a “multi-generational” car, it’s hard to project where all it will be driven.
Motor noise will be more with the internal rear drive, but less than any ICE vehicle we’ve ever had.
There probably is no right or wrong answer. Both configuration will have plenty of power, range, and stability. Listen to early owner comments when it comes time to finalize your order, if you have any doubts.
- MemberNovember 28, 2021 at 8:40 pm
The rear wheel motor will still be outside the body of the Aptera: It’s just shrouded, like the front wheels.
- 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.