Aptera › Community › Aptera Discussions › Aptera exterior finish info
Aptera exterior finish infoPosted by Phil on November 6, 2021 at 11:46 pm
After searching the forum, this does not appear to have been discussed before. It’s a discussion that is probably best served by community members and not Aptera, if only because they have enough on their plate at the moment, but if they want to contribute, great! Detailing (aka-car washing and polishing) is something I believe I’m not alone in my interest. Since Aptera’s are composite material bodies using wraps instead of paint for color, what is the best way to keep Aptera’s looking their best? Does anyone here on the forums have experience in detailing wraps? Just a guess on my part, but the traditional car wash and/or polishing are probably not a good idea, but maybe they are, let’s talk!curtis-cibinel replied 3 weeks ago 48 Members · 74 Replies
Aptera exterior finish infocurtis-cibinel updated 3 weeks ago 48 Members · 74 Replies
lenModeratorNovember 7, 2021 at 3:06 am
Aptera hasn’t published the wrap they will use for production but Chris once mentioned in a video clip a 10M a ten year wrap…so I would suggest reading 3M’s 1080 wrap cleaning and care, which speaks to tour question.
I personally avoided car washed with all my painted cars, I would never consider “ my” Aptera for a car wash, even brushless but that is just “me”
I has a medium power 1200 psi pressure washer which I have been washing my two painted cars, for six years with great success. I don’t let them “get ahead of me with dirt build up and I apply a protectant two to four times a years and my painted finishes are great. One white the other a champagne like color
Both cars are garage kept.
I have a friend that had her Tesla vinyl wrapped and it is garage kept, but she used a dusting wand to remove light dust off her car and it always looked great. But she didn’t drive much????
JRWileyMemberNovember 9, 2021 at 6:48 am
I’m under the impression that highway driving deposits an oily film on the car that is picked up from oil that gets leaked onto the surface and builds up over time. I can speculate that this dirty oil film gets kicked up when the road surface is wet enough. I have always thought that this dirty oily film left on the surface of the car would require some kind of mild soap in the water bucket and a sponge or rag to get it cleaned off of the car. Not true? Maybe I’m learning of a new and better way to clean my car.
john-trotterModeratorNovember 7, 2021 at 7:05 am
After decades of using car wash places, I returned to hand washing with my Tesla, mostly because of the reputation of their paint. I also had the car wrapped. It’s way too early to say how things will stand up, just that I find I enjoy hand washing again. Reminds me of helping my dad wash the family cars back when paint was paint. Of course the Tesla is much smaller than our 1961 Impala and the Aptera will be even easier.
PhilMemberNovember 7, 2021 at 8:24 pm
Thanks Leonard for the suggestion about 3 M’s 1080 wrap info. I found it, here’s the part about maintenance and cleaning…….
Maintenance: Care must be taken to avoid scratching the film. Avoid
using harsh chemicals and brushes when cleaning your vehicle and avoid
parking near shrubs and trees or any other items than could scratch the
It may be possible to reduce the appearance of fine scratches by heating
with a heat gun/hair dryer to approx. 50ºC often makes them disappear.
Keep the heat gun moving across the film in a circular motion, do not aim
the heat at a single spot for a long time.
Cleaning: Use a cleaner designed for high-quality painted surfaces. The
cleaner must be wet, non-abrasive, without strong solvents and have a pH
value between 3 and 11 (neither strongly acidic, nor strongly alkaline).
Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a clean, soft cloth or soft
rubber squeegee to avoid water spots.
Do not apply waxes or polishes to these films.
greg-mirichMemberNovember 9, 2021 at 7:24 pm
I work for Adam’s Premium car care products and am on the official detail team for Barrett Jackson Auctions. Adam’s has a ceramic coating that works very well on wraps. It is a DIY coating that lasts from 6 months to one year for under $50.00. I use it on my XPEL paint protection film which is self healing like the 3M wrap films.
Dr.DMemberDecember 7, 2021 at 12:54 pm
I apologize if this is covered in a FAQ.
Will one be able to take an Aptera vehicle through a car wash?
curtis-cibinelMemberDecember 7, 2021 at 1:22 pm
Shouldn’t be an issue overall. Some automatic car washes that guide the tires could be an issue due to width.
lenModeratorDecember 7, 2021 at 3:55 pm
3M vinyl wrap has care instructions on their website
Besides the caution for tacking for the center tire and height on the wheel covers, surely the old brush type car washes would not be a place I go.
I power wash all my vehicle with no more than 1100psi, wide spray and never closer than six inches
The Aptera is such a manageable size to quickly wash at home “if you can”!
I never owned a wrapped car
greg-mirichMemberDecember 12, 2021 at 8:45 pm
There is no need to go to a car wash with the APTERA. There are waterless wash products on the market that will clean the vinyl wrap without scratching the finish. I am an official detailer for Barrett Jackson Auctions and all the vehicles that we wipe down reguardless of the dirt, we use waterless wash and it does not hurt the finish, even wrapped vehicles. We use ADAM’s waterless wash.
PhilMemberFebruary 24, 2022 at 11:53 pm
I’m posting this in the hopes of Aptera management reading this and perhaps changing the custom color price. Simply said, it’s much higher than it needs to be in my opinion and most like me, will not pay it, even though we would prefer another color. If the price were $500 extra, instead of $1500, I truly believe more buyers would opt for a different color, I know I would. More people paying $500 would likely make more money for Aptera by increased volume of those choosing this option. I look forward to more input on this from other reservation holders.
steven-g-buecheMemberFebruary 25, 2022 at 3:55 am
Hi Philip, I can only offer these as possible reasons as to the pricing difference;
Cost of material – If Aptera orders large quantities of the said stock three colors it cost less. Having the wrap company order any one bolt of vinyl cost more as they have to purchase the entire bolt for one car and hope someone else will buy/want the rest. If not they’re stuck with the remainder. Therefor you pay the cost. All custom things cost more.
Production Line – If the company that does the wrapping has a dedicated line or area for a production run they may have to change things up to fit your car in and this slows things down and adds additional cost even though it may be only labor. Labor is in some cases the most expensive cost factor in business. In fact wraps are very labor intensive.
It may also help to investigate the cost of wrapping a car. I paid almost $1,500 just to wrap the front end of my Tesla 3 for paint protection (clear and thicker) Whole cars can range from $2,500 – $5,000 depending on the cars complexity. It seems pricy for some plastic but if you’ve ever watched a car being wrapped it’s pretty time consuming. My wife and I used our sentry mode to watch the guys wrap ours from the house. Just my front wrap took over three hours and the M3 is pretty smooth compared to some of the more faceted car bodies.
I personally am getting the Sol (white) but the more I look at the shiny silver Luna I’m thinking I might wait for the wrap to age and then Paint mine.
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Steven G. Bueche. Reason: Edit for spelling errors
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Gabriel Kemeny.
joshua-rosenMemberFebruary 25, 2022 at 6:24 am
They are offering three standard colors, that seems like enough, Tesla only has one free color (white) and everything else is $1-2K extra and it’s a very small set of extra choices. For those that want something special Aptera is offering a wide variety of custom wraps. This is an opportunity for them to make an extra profit, they should price it so that they maximize their profit. A custom wrap isn’t something anyone needs, it’s just a discretionary expenditure and by offering a very wide selection they might attract a lot of people who like that sort of thing. Steve puts the price for a wrap at a custom shop at $2.5-5K, that makes Aptera’s price a bargain, maybe too much of a bargain.
I’m going with a standard color, I don’t remember which one I specified but I suspect I’ll revisit the choice when it’s time to actually buy the car. All of the standard choices look fine to me, I don’t see any reason to pay extra for a custom color. Driver’s assist, premium sound and a bigger battery all have tangible benefits so I’m willing to pay for those but not for a custom wrap unless they offer a more durable wrap as an option. But those are my priorities.
LCDMemberMarch 17, 2022 at 3:49 pm
Hypothetical Question here: Would you be willing to pay extra for a factory paint job?
I would, depending on how much is involved. But $1,500 seems like a real bargain.
- This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by John Trotter. Reason: Title expanded for search clarity
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Gabriel Kemeny.
LCDMemberMarch 17, 2022 at 4:04 pm
If all willing purchasers chip in a little cash, the cost of a paint booth can be amortized over many people. This would make financing such an operation more lucrative.
kerbe2705MemberMarch 17, 2022 at 10:35 pm
At 10,000 units per year, we’re not talking that “one-car-at-a-time” paint booth that your local body shop has installed – we’re talking a multi-million dollar robotic line. Plus there’s no guarantee that the composite body will even accept paint without being reformulated to do so.
ScottMemberMarch 17, 2022 at 4:36 pm
I am very willing to pay extra for a paint or gel coat option, even though in my opinion it is better for Aptera long term to have a baseline higher quality (i.e., non-vinyl wrap) finish so as to just get rid of all the controversy, eliminate the longevity/maintenance/accumulating cost questions for current and future on-the-fence customers, and support Aptera’s brand integrity long term.
Regarding cost of creating a paint shop: Agreed that the extra cost of an Aptera-specific paint shop could be amortized over increased revenue from the option that many people appear to be interested in receiving. I hope they do the math and make it profitable. Increased profit can be derived from each individual associated option sale as well as from higher overall volume sales since the controversial vinyl wraps decision gets removed as a potential show-stopper for some customers.
Alternatively, paint can also be outsourced to an existing paint shop. Then, Aptera does not need to invest in creating a paint shop and a different company gets to make some income off of their existing paint shop capital expense investment, all funded by the paint (or gel coat) “upsell” optional cost that a number of reservation owners appear willing to pay for a better quality ownership experience. There are already many examples of Aptera’s components and design that are being outsourced.
boz-oclownMemberApril 20, 2022 at 9:09 pm
I’ve never had a composite vehicle before. I know there are composite boats and airplanes. But they go through water and clean air. This car will be subjected to road grit, dirt, muddy water, etc. I wonder how well the surface of the body will wear in this environment. I’d guess most wear will be in the areas of the face, leading edges on the wheel skirts (especially the rear wheel) and the under belly. Maybe just proper cleaning and waxing will be enough. Also, it seems you won’t be taking your Aptera through your local car wash. So buy yourself a creeper to crawl under your car to give it a proper scrubbing. Any thoughts?
jonathan-reniMemberApril 20, 2022 at 9:35 pm
My understanding is that the composite body will be wrapped in something like a 3M vehicle wrap. Therefore, you would want to follow the wrap manufacturer guidelines for that product. I believe that they frown on automated washes with roller brushes due to potential scratching or peeling. I’m thinking hand washing with mild soap. My biggest concern is how long will the wraps last if constantly left outdoors. I’m guessing at least 3 yrs with proper care.
ScottMemberApril 20, 2022 at 9:45 pm
I would wait until Aptera decides on the vinyl wrap / gelcoat / paint controversy. That key answer will likely be the primary driver for answering your question regarding maintenance, likely even more so than comparing underlying composite to steel or such. Whatever the final surface finish ends up being, I personally don’t envision the Aptera being more difficult to maintain or wash than other vehicles within the realm of that same kind of finish. The only unusual aspect will be cleaning the entire bottom side of the vehicle, which is not usually done for most cars on the road. The smooth flowing aerodynamics will likely cause less buildup of gunk compared to “barn doors on wheels cars”. Every vehicle has leading edges of some kind, so nothing unusual or of concern there. TBD on suitability for automated car wash facilities, though that will likely be fine since many car wash track systems can hold onto front wheels (which Aptera has just like regular cars).
PhilMemberApril 20, 2022 at 11:49 pm
If they decide to stick with wraps, forget automated car washes. Hand wash in your driveway or wherever will be the only option (per 3M). If it’s paint, gelcoat or colored body resin (my preference), I believe most any automated or hand car wash will work. The point is, it has nothing to do with the composite body, but rather what coats that composite body. By the way, love your forum name!
kerbe2705MemberApril 21, 2022 at 6:23 am
Note that the belly will be aluminum, but we don’t know if it will be anodized, painted or powder-coated…
kevin-watkinsMemberApril 22, 2022 at 8:03 pm
Having recently endured some pretty significant hail storms and dealing with hail damage to the hood and roof of my full sized steel truck, I began wondering about what hail would do to the complete solar package I chose for my Aptera?
kerbe2705MemberApril 22, 2022 at 8:16 pm
We don’t yet know about the resin in which the solar cells will be embedded, nor do we know the substrate upon which they will be mounted – but we DO know that the cells, themselves have a measure of flexibility. As hail tends to bounce off of composites, I guess the best we can hope for is that it will bounce off of Aptera’s solar body panels, as well!
tim-jorgensonMemberMay 8, 2022 at 10:50 am
How has Aptera design addressed the concern of UV damage to the body of the vehicle?
I know fiberglass requires special protection or it will BLOOM and disintegrate over time due to UV exposure. I learned about this the hard way with a fiberglass ladder that was left out in the sun too much and eventually you couldn’t touch it without gloves or you would feel like you touched a porcupine from the ladder shedding fibers.
- This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by Norman Roberts.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Gabriel Kemeny.
curtis-cibinelMemberMay 8, 2022 at 11:15 am
Aptera is wrapped, likely in 3M vinyl. Does that not block the UV from hitting the body? The wrap itself can benefit from sprays and coatings to extend its life due to UV. A spray product (applied every few weeks) was suggested in a youtube video comment ~6 months ago and I linked it in a forum thread but I’m not gonna try to dig it up right now.
sethMemberJune 29, 2022 at 4:08 pm
Obviously I’d prefer a factory paint job. Since that’s not happening I’d rather not wait until the wrap either starts disintegrating. Other issue with waiting too long to rewrap is the wrap that sticks to the car and often is removed with solvents. So will the solvents react/damage the composite materials?
Obviously it should only be an option for people who want to get a paintjob elsewhere, since aptera won’t be doing that.
RussellMemberJuly 1, 2022 at 6:38 am
At 9:25 in this video they discuss different vehicle finishing methods, paint is not one of them. To me it looks like Chris is leaning towards a wrap.