MemberFebruary 1, 2022 at 4:56 pm
According to this The Driven article, published 2/1/2022, yes. The caveat (as is also the case for US availability) is that it could be earlier or later, they’ll know better as they get closer to production. But the article does confirm that “Aptera is looking at the regulations it would need to comply with to make the vehicle available to drivers in Australia.”
MemberFebruary 2, 2022 at 3:12 am
I have no doubt that Aptera is looking to expand to Australia. Their ambitions are to expand very rapidly based on the rapid proliferation of mini-assembly plants which hand assemble the Aptera and its variants world-wide.
Think about it. The mini-assembly plants can be placed in most warehouse locations … or even converted commercial retail as the need is a modest 50-100,000 sq. ft. You could almost equip the ‘assembly line’ with tools from Harbor Freight. While specific components may be complex, overall the component assembly nature of the car is intentionally simplified. Heck, the total capital equipment for an assembly plant including molds for the composite shell would likely fit in a single shipping container.
About the only specialized equipment would be what ever production assists they’ve engineered to assemble the battery packs (if they even do these on site/they may centralize and automate battery component production and ship the completed components to assembly plants.
The same goes for the monocoque fabrication. A new set of production molds that make the needed modifications for width or other regulation dictated changes would be part of Aptera’s “Australian” campaign. A single assembly plant of this design is intended to allow profitable operation with a production break-even at something like 1500 units/yr sold. The kicker is that this set up, with little additional capital investment, can be ramped up to produce 10,000 vehicles a year.
Since key components like the in-wheel motors and operating controllers are outsourced and products like seats, dash electronic displays and glass will likely be sourced from other nations, there are numerous logistical advantages to the distributed assembly minimizing import duties and all sorts of other trade loopholes. These moves are consistent with first principles because it will result in competitive prices in Australia. Transporting by ship, along with physical modifications, would otherwise involve some heafty final delivery charges.
Oh, and the PR from having a hand-assembled locally produced never charge EV that is so cool
How many ‘factories in a container’ (FIC) will they plan on making? Ten or fifty. That is going to depend on the interest (IPO price) Aptera gets when they do go public and the cost of the FIC.
The really cool thing would be that these FICs would be comparatively cheap <$400,000 for the equipment and the mini-assembly plant could be set up in two weeks.
Now this is just independent speculation based on the notions of first principles, lean engineering, and an understanding that amazing things are possible when the benefits of human scale are employed.
When you consider the totality of the Aptera, it promises to have at least hundreds of fewer parts bumper to bumper than anything in automotive history.
And while I have absolutely no inside information in making these speculations, remember among Steve’s prior businesses was putting a friggin farm in a shipping container.
That kind of challenge, btw, may be behind the pleas for engineers at Monro, whom we already know is an investor with a NDA whose lean engineering concepts will be showcased by Aptera.
What they’ve done is follow this logic. If you can equip a general warehouse facility of 60-100,000 sq. ft. into a vehicle assembly facility that can be profitable at a low annual output of 15% of capacity and can easily scale to produce 10,000 units annually for a capital investment in plant and equipment of under $2 million, is it not wiser to replicate this ‘hand-assembled’ approach considering enormous savings on shipping and transportation overall, than to go public planning some $400 million plant capable of producing 50,000 vehicles. It is kind of like, for half that $400 million assembly plant, you could set up 100 mini-assembly plants with a total potential production of 1 million vehicles … all over the world.
Aptera has already stated their adoption of the mini-assembly plant concept for growth with international operations among the considerations.
Whether they’ll engineer the equipment needs for the mini-factory into a container they could provision and ship and erect in Australia to start producing Aptera at the remote facility in a matter of weeks is more revolutionary than absurd.
Anyway, when Aptera comes to Australia is going to depend on the reaction Aptera ultimately gets in the market. Right now things like “how long is it going to take to build the first 1,000 or 5,000 units and will they be able to sell more?”
The folks at Aptera have ton of milestones to accomplish before they get into this stuff but I’m satisfied that what they’re proposing with the low-cap distributed mini-assembly plants represents a plausible way for Aptera to meet demand sooner than most anticipate.
The real challenge is selling more…. oh, and the supply chain.
MemberFebruary 2, 2022 at 8:09 am
Really interesting thoughts, George! They all make sense to me. If they pull off something like this, it could revolutionize the vehicle supply chain… worldwide. At best, I hope you’re second-guessing their vison and strategy accurately. Barring that, I hope they’re listening!
MemberFebruary 2, 2022 at 6:38 pm
The factory space isn’t the only need. Parking/storage space for the manufactured vehicles is needed. Even if they need secure space to hold 20-30 Apteras in a lower volumed situation that still is a needed consideration.
MemberFebruary 3, 2022 at 12:37 am
Absolutely Paul; I don’t think anyone imagines a mini-factory in Manhattan but there’s plenty of room in Connecticut … which conjures in my mind MG TDs and Morgans screaming around corners in pursuit of a Sunbeam Alpine, all on their way to a SCCA road race.
And that raises questions of how competitive Aptera will be in autosports like autocross, drag strip, rallying or even road racing.
On the latter, I’m wondering if in a ” 400 ” mile oval race limited to EVs, which would win, a Tesla Plaid or a 1000 mile Aptera which is practically limited to 115 mph. I’m sure the Tesla Plaid would run up quite a lead with its 170+ top speed, but given its higher Cd and the need to recharge multiple times, I’m figuring that race would resemble the ancient tale of the tortoise and the hare.
In any case I’m interested in seeing more of the track footage.
MemberFebruary 3, 2022 at 12:29 pm
Not sure why they decided on So-Cali for their first mini-factory, given the high relative costs. No autos that I know of build in Cali, except Tesla in Fremont. For them, it made sense; taking over the former NUMMI factory. New upstart vehicle factories are setting up in Arizona/Texas for the lower costs-. Lucid, Nikola, Electra-Meccanica, even Tesla with Austin.
MemberFebruary 3, 2022 at 11:36 am
Certainly Aptera has plans to expand to Australia, Canada (First I would think as a close neighbor, perhaps as a proof of concept) Europe, and other foreign countries. The production model is straightforward and relatively easy to implement. Supply chain no so much. And then there is design, engineering, testing, of a suitable compliant product, hiring, training of country specific personnel, licenses/taxes, facility procurement and space as described in this thread, development of the Kit described in the thread, shipping either of the kit or some interim vehicles or both.
What is missing from this bare bones list is capital. Aptera will not be able to expand overseas until they have a reliable stream of capital either from profitable US sales or an IPO. Unlikely to do an IPO without some pretty concrete proof of steady state increasing business. Neither are on the near horizon.
My guess though, is they are very perceptive and efficient and certainly have a long term plan to get there
MemberFebruary 3, 2022 at 1:20 pm
Okay Boomer. Your personal observations are not relevant. You are not the voice of Aptera.
MemberFebruary 4, 2022 at 12:21 am
Wow dude cool it. Not only are people entitled to their opinions but John is someone that knows what he is talking about. He works as a consultant in the EV industry and is an amazing brand Ambassador for Aptera. Wake the %$#! Up!
It will not be trivial to deliver Aptera as a usable vehicle outside the US in the early stages of production. All countries (and often states/provinces) have different rules and a wide 3 wheel enclosed EV is not exactly something the regulators see often. Safety, insurance, vehicle classifications etc will be a real mess since Aptera is a very unique vehicle.
As John said Canada is the natural extension for them since our regulations are very similar to the US and they can sell units without massive shipping costs to add to them or extra risk / business complexity of establishing international factories. I heard overseas shipping a car from the UK to north america is now over $6000 USD typically (way up since covid); I assume the reverse is similar.
- This reply was modified 5 months ago by Curtis Cibinel.
MemberFebruary 4, 2022 at 1:25 am
Look everyone a broke millennial let’s all point and laugh.
MemberFebruary 4, 2022 at 7:26 am
Jon Arryn… totally inappropriate. Chill. Personal observations (among other things) is EXACTLY what this forum is for. (I tried to “Report” your reply but that functionality apparently is not working.)
MemberFebruary 4, 2022 at 8:21 am
Pretty strong response to a mundane post!
One wrong and two coin flips. I am not a Boomer. I am from the generation preceding Boomers, The Silent Generation.
Whether or not my observations are relevant or not depends on the views of the reader. Some believe they are, some believe they are not. Both views are fine with me. I am not an employee of Aptera but I am an Ambassador. As such one of our responsibilities is to insure a correct understanding of all things Aptera, technology, business, market etc.
Since you find my posts offensive, I would recommend you “Follow” Curtis Cibinel. He is also an Ambassador and one of the most informed of the ambassador’s group. He has excellent knowledge of the technologies employed in the Aptera. He often tutors the rest of us on the Forum on these technologies thus raising the understanding of all forum members. He has a good grasp of the EV market, the impact of regulations, and the technology business. He is also very balanced in his posts.
I try to post with some knowledge of the auto industry, a relevant educational background, and some current experience with a automaker trying to make the transition to electric who also has to serve an overseas market. Curtis is not a US person so can properly address the overseas marketing perspective. Beneficial for you I would think.
The purpose of my post was to tactfully remind the forum members that getting to the point of Aptera sales in countries other than the US is not as Curtis says “Trivial” It will not happen overnight and not without major resources expenditures. I think this is just common sense if you think about it.