MemberMay 11, 2022 at 1:30 pm
Does anyone know about a showing near Santa Barbara May 12th?
MemberMay 11, 2022 at 4:07 pm
They haven’t said much about it. But if it’s anything like the one they did yesterday at UCLA ( I went to that), once they decide on a location on the UCSB campus they’ll post about in on instagram, probably only a few minutes before the designated start time. The car will be parked with one of the doors open so you can sit inside. And there will be a bunch of aptera employees there to answer questions.
MemberMay 11, 2022 at 7:43 pm
Was it just the Noir? That’s what they had at the Automotive Museum in San Diego. We were also unable to sit in it. Hopefully, you tried it out.
MemberMay 11, 2022 at 7:54 pm
If it was not the Noir, did you happen to notice how well the solar cells mounted with the curvature of the vehicle? They didn’t look quite ready for prime time on the Noir. I also noticed the seams of the back wheel skirt didn’t seem to match very well. It’s easy to get caught up in the parts that are good, but I am looking for the parts that still need work. Those are the things that disappoint me after a purchase. If I know about them before hand and still make a purchase, then it is a choice.
MemberMay 11, 2022 at 8:57 pm
Danny, I wouldn’t project any fit & finish quality issues based upon the alpha vehicles. The gamma vehicles will be a better indicator of quality because they will be much closer to production, including all of the design changes recommended by Roush. Also we just saw a video discussion of design changes that to the front wheel pants that is very encouraging.
MemberMay 12, 2022 at 8:49 pm
My original post in another thread repeatedly mentioned that what I saw was an alpha. It also mentioned that these things were just something to watch in future versions.
MemberMay 11, 2022 at 9:04 pm
It was Luna at UCLA, I did sit in it. The solar cells are cosmetic and not the actual cells, so it didn’t matter what the finish looked like. And I’ll second the fit and finish comment, this is a proof of concept vehicle and not anywhere close to the final product.
MemberMay 12, 2022 at 3:25 pm
While it is true that these are not real solar cells, it does matter how they look. They looked tacky on the Noir in San Diego and great on the Luna. Couldn’t sit in either though. Only one chance for a first impression, even if these are not production models.
MemberMay 12, 2022 at 9:56 pm
I hate to “yes, but…” but: Yes, but, do you want your first impression to be of an incomplete mock-up of a vehicle that has little in common with the finished product? It’s rather like going to try on a pair of jeans and having a sales associate wrap you in a length of denim cloth saying, “The jeans will be something like this!”
As we know from the most recent Aptera video, they are just now torture-testing all of their current ideas for how best to create Aptera’s solar panels – and they won’t know if they have a contender for another two months! Noir was created more than a year ago and its faux solar panels looked tacky because they were little more than plastic squares with resin poured over them – to give an impression of how a solar panel might, eventually, look.
MemberMay 13, 2022 at 5:36 am
OK, yes but…your analogy is apples to oranges. Wrap denim around a person compared to an alpha vehicle?????
Aptera has been working on the solar for more than a year and are currently constructing their first production version off the panels and will be operationally testing them on a beta vehicle. The torture testing is for the material that will cover the panels. And picking the best candidate is pretty important. The solar cells were select a long time ago and that selection has not changed.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 7:31 am
That was the POINT, John… I was responding to Glenn’s post about “first impressions”: The Alphas are “rolling mock-ups” designed to LOOK as if they are production vehicles – so most of what they present is either faux or non-functional.
The torture-testing is of several different cell-encapsulation methods to determine which (if any) will be appropriate to create Aptera’s solar panels.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 7:13 am
Quite frankly, if the solar panels are what’s holding back full production then that is the wrong way to go.
Those extra 40 miles are 10% of the 400 miles, less than 7% of the 600 miles and 4% of the 1000 miles vehicle. During the winter someone for example in Alaska wont get enough sun to even get that.
As nice as the solar feature is – I plan to order the full solar outfit – I would rather see a production car being delivered than spending an unreasonable amount of time on the solar panels and how to fit them on the Aptera.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 7:37 am
Aptera has more than 100 employees: They’re not taking turns working on one aspect of the vehicle at a time – it’s all happening simultaneously. We’ve seen video from many of the different teams currently working toward the Gamma phase of development: No single aspect of the development of the vehicle is “holding back full production”.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 8:11 am
100 employees isn’t that much when developing a new vehicle from the ground up.
You are still committing resources that may help speed up the process somewhere else.
Again, I am not against the solar option. But if adding that option later would get the production vehicle out the door faster I think that is worth to be thought about.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 8:50 am
I doubt the solar cells are the bottleneck, that’s a signature feature of the brand so I’m sure they’ve put in the effort. Personally I think they are a gimmick, the efficiency is the true killer feature. However from a marketing standpoint they’ve tied their identity to building a solar vehicle, if they come out with vehicle without solar in the first cars they’ll lose a fatal amount of credibility.
MemberMay 17, 2022 at 7:00 am
I agree with your sentiment here.
However, sometimes an honest answer and some good reason may give them the time needed to “perfect” that “signature feature”. That would be better than something requiring recalls and who knows what if those solar cells don’t work as advertised or don’t last as long as expected.
Recalls are a financial and a PR nightmare.
Me as someone who drives 200+ miles every day the solar panels are a nice idea/touch. However, I need to charge the vehicle every day (unless I have the 600 miles or 1000 miles version).
So the true real world practical value may be a little overrated.
Additionally, if I have solar panels to generate my own electricity for my house anyways the Aptera solar panels are not really of any cost saving benefit unless I am on a multiday road trip away from home. And even on that road trip I may stay at a hotel with a free destination charger and again the actual value would be in question.
I am certainly not against the solar panels. It is merely my personal opinion that I would rather see the first production ready vehicle sooner even if that would mean it would not feature the solar panels.
The true value of the vehicle IMHO is the incredible efficiency and the unmatched range (on the 600 miles and on the 1000 miles range versions).
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 9:36 am
Has anyone heard of the chemical makeup of the resin coating that will cover the solar cells?
How thick will it be? How will it effect the efficiency of the solar cell? Will the cell be less effective due to the coating/covering?
Is the coating UV proof or resistant enough to last for the initial warranty period?
I ask because we’ve all had those solar lawn lights that fog over after a short year or two.
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 9:59 am
All good questions.
I think they have several candidates and are testing them now based on the testing information released. I am sure they will pick the “Best value” one based on a realatively large set of criteria which will include, ease of production, efficiency/effectiveness, cost, and appearance. my vote would be emphasis on effectiveness!!
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 10:02 am
Personally I’d like to see them covered in glass even though it would add additional weight to the car. But with this being so slip streamed, I don’t think it would matter. It would seem the back hatch is to be glass so why not the front?
MemberMay 17, 2022 at 7:19 am
Q1. “Has anyone heard of the chemical makeup of the resin coating that will cover the solar cells?”
A1. Whatever it is, it isn’t likely to be just one material. Not unlike conventional solar panels, it likely will be at least two materials on top and two materials below. Here’s an example from top to bottom: ETFE film, EVA, solar cell circuit, EVA, PVF film. All of these materials can, easily, have 20+ years of life in the outdoor environment with minimal degradation. Only the EVA is really susceptible to UV induced “darkening”. Please note that Aptera, most likely, will not use that particular combination for a variety of reasons. It is most likely Aptera will use, for all but the rear hatch, some hard, clear, non-glass “top sheet” (in place of the ETFE) and adhere it to the solar cells with some relatively low temperature thermoset or thermoplastic adhesive/encapsulant. I say relatively low temperature because conventional terrestrial-based solar cell encapsulants typically require rather elevated temperatures to “process” properly. Think ~150 Deg C. Because of thermal exapansion/contraction concerns, the layers on the rear will likely be similar, if not identical, to what’s on the front albeit likely thinner.
Q2. “How thick will it be?”
A2. Given the “impact resistant” requirements, I’m guessing the overall thickness of the non-hatch panels to be on the order of 0.2 inch. Note that conventional glass panels are on that same order but because of the density of glass, notably higher in “areal” weight.
Q3/Q4. “How will it effect the efficiency of the solar cell? Will the cell be less effective due to the coating/covering?”
A3/A4. It will lower the efficiency and yes, it would follow that the cell becomes “less effective”as a result. None of this is abnormal with cells of the single crystal silicon variety. Because of optical losses and geometry, cell efficiency to panel efficiency drops are all but inevitable. I just did a quick calculation (again before 8 am so….) with Maxeon’s highest efficiency (last I looked) AR (anti-reflective) glass front panel that uses the nominal 5″ x 5” cells (like Aptera might be using) and the overall cell to module (panel) efficiency goes from 24.8% to 22.7% at STC (standard test conditions). To be fair, however, unlike conventional panels, Aptera won’t have a “frame” which would drag down the net efficiency (by increasing area) although it is likely Aptera won’t have an express AR “treatment” on the top surface like Maxeon panels have.
Q3. “Is the coating UV proof or resistant enough to last for the initial warranty period?”
A3. It better!
Finally, regarding your comment: “I ask because we’ve all had those solar lawn lights that fog over after a short year or two.”, solar lawn lights are typically not made with appropriate encapsulants. Everyone I’ve toyed with were made with cheap, clear epoxy. I’ve swapped mine out with, you guessed it, my own laminates!
(here’s hoping there are no errors in the above – it’s 7:19 AM as I hit the “post” button.)