Extreme conditions handling

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Extreme conditions handling

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Extreme conditions handling

  • Extreme conditions handling

    Posted by brian-yates on October 26, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    From my days as a motorcyclist (of the 2-wheel variety), I recall breaking down the “lane” into three “sub-lanes”: left, middle, and right. And that the middle sub-lane was the one to avoid on a (2-wheel) motorcycle, because ICE vehicles often deposited excess amounts of oil and antifreeze there. Slip-and-slide with just a light rain, was always a problem if we 2-wheerls rode in the middle of a lane—and that’s right where the third, back wheel of Aptera sits, drives, … and I’m worried, might spin-out a bit, thanks to ICEers’ unwelcome deposits. Any testing on this? I bet there has been… Ultimate solution is, of course, retire the ICE vehicles! But that’s going to take a few years of oil and antifreeze deposits…

    • This discussion was modified 12 months ago by  bbelcamino.
    • This discussion was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  bbelcamino.
    john-malcom replied 1 month ago 43 Members · 59 Replies
  • 59 Replies
  • Extreme conditions handling

    john-malcom updated 1 month ago 43 Members · 59 Replies
  • curtis-cibinel

    October 26, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    All version of the Aptera will still drive on the front wheels. Having a occasional bit of slip on the middle wheel on a paved road shouldn’t cause much of a issue. Each wheel is driven so they have a ton of potential for traction control with driving each separately. On a motorcycle this is a far bigger issue since it can impact both wheels but with 2/3rds of your drive wheels unaffected it shouldn’t be an issue.

  • len

    October 26, 2021 at 4:22 pm


    But wouldn’t all the Polaris Slingshot and Vanderhall owners be able share their experiences?

    Both three wheel tripod configured

    The old Aptera 2e in the Progressive X Prize runs was on a track, and there are many video to view on the internet. Of course that was not AWD

    The Std Aptera will have front wheel drive and only the AWD engages the rear center wheel

    That video of the original AWD Aptera “ Noir” that was test driven on the CA race track that had a heavy cover of residual-stuff and rubber seemed to be ok???

    I guess we will know in a few months?

  • ray-holan

    October 26, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Valid concern, Brian. I owned a three-wheel EV some years back and regularly drove it in winter. The drive wheel was the single back wheel, the other two in front were used for steering but were not driven (like every Aptera model). I lost drive traction to the single rear wheel in some situations, but not steering control. Overall, it inspired confidence. I’d anticipate that Aptera should be much better under the same conditions especially if you order the AWD version. Remember that Roush Engineering is consulting on the Aptera suspension so I trust the issue you are raising will be addressed in their testing and refinement process.

  • george-hughes

    October 26, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Motorcycles are inherently unstable. If you stop them, typically they will fall over so comparing them to three-wheeled vehicles falls into the ‘does not compute’ arena. But you are correct about the division of the roadway into three general paths … the two used by most four-wheeled vehicles and the center of the road which is only used by three-wheelers.

    If you were driving a Polaris Slingshot, you might have more legitimate concerns as that ‘autocycle’ uses the typical motorcycle power-train configuration of a chain-driven rear wheel that lacks the more sophisticated anti-slip/stability capabilities of the all-wheel electric drive Aptera. In other words, because the slingshot is not FWD, the only control vector involved is steering.

    The stability of the front-drive Aptera only has the rear wheel following so slipping on the so-called slippery center occurs only when stopping rapidly. Even in that case, the stability control over the independently powered front wheels, not to mention the 65/35 percent front/rear bias will keep such slippage under control.

    With the all-wheel drive, my understanding is that the electronic controls will limit wheel spin when accelerating and stability control at the rear will have a broader range of responses to maintain traction.

    If you want to approximate the ‘sensation’ take your 4-wheeled car and drive on the lip of the shoulder with your left-front in the center lane. Unless there are alert features … those reflective buttons or ribbed asphalt that says you’re too-close to the edge of the lane (on a 2-lane) you’ll note that even with the crap left by ICE vehicles, you’re probably okay unless your making a 15-mph hairpin at 45.

    Bottom line, you might experience some fishtailing on rapid acceleration in the rain in a slingshot but you’d be hardpressed to notice a difference between a four-wheeled car and Aptera in either 2-wheel and 3-wheel drive. If reality proves me wrong on this, I suspect that this would be a matter of tuning the computer’s power application.

  • kerbe2705

    October 27, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Consider, too, that you’re discussing liquids: Liquids don’t – as a rule – stay where they are put, especially when they’re splashed upon a flat or crowned surface. Liquids tend to migrate to the lowest available point which – on a well-traveled road – would be the “lane ruts”. They may leave residue on the less-traveled part of a road surface but I would venture that most paved roads have a relatively even coating.

  • brian-yates

    October 27, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you all for your information, swift replies! Very reassuring … and I’m keeping my reservation for all (3) wheel drive for now.

  • randy-j

    November 1, 2021 at 11:37 am

    I’m having a conversation on line with someone who believes the Aptera will be unstable on the highway thanks to buffeting winds. I thought I had seen something on this site I could use to change his mind. Multiple search phrases brings up nothing. I may have seen it on FB or youtube. He was happy to send me this little video. Ha, looks like I’d have to buy a Hummer EV to not see that happen to my next vehicle. Can anyone provide a link I can use?

  • len

    November 1, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    At one tine on their >400 answers in their FAQ spreadsheet the original Aptera could withstand over 80mph to “ I think “100 mph side winds because unlike must everything else the sides are not flat but egg shaped

    Also an old Aptera reply:

    Our advanced aerodynamic shape and the vehicle’s ability to slip through the air has some REAL benefits! You barely feel semi trucks as you just slip through their turbulence; the vehicle does not generate lift at speed. For people concerned about stability at high speeds; Downforce on the rear of the vehicle is about 25 pounds at 65MPH.

    Not bad for this registered motorcycle!

  • george-hughes

    November 1, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    What happened to that car in the video is not nearly as likely to happen to an Aptera for some specific reasons, of which aerodynamics of the design are but one. Another is the center of gravity and another, its ‘stance’.

    First aerodynamics are such that over most of the body from the side, there is nothing for the air to catch. The idea of the design is the car is designed to be literally invisible to the wind… and Aptera delivers. But its stability is more than that.

    If you’re my age, you remember the pitch around Pontiac ‘handling’ because of its ‘wide-track’ design. The track – distance between the wheels – was marginally wider in the Pontiac and each increase in that dimension incrementally lowers the center of gravity. Anyway, Aptera has a ‘wide-track’ …

    But more than that, the center of gravity is even lower and at the outside of the ‘track’ … the in-wheel motors are by definition, suspended at the height of the lowest point of a car – the wheels.

    The remaining ‘large mass’ device is the battery which is at or below centerline of the wheel.

    Each of the wheels are about where you would tether the car if you were tying it to the ground like an parked private airplane parked on an apron … and it is at that point where the weight is concentrated.

    I peg the Aptera at least as resistant to strange and powerful winds as a Porsche 911; actually more.

  • richard-mcknight

    November 8, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    One of the lead engineers (I can’t remember his name, but he’s the one who lives up in Canada), did an hour long Q&A with an EV club in Colorado, and he answered this exact question. He said the Aptera is just as slippery to crosswinds, as it is to Head-on airflow. He said you will barely even notice crosswinds.

    The recording of this zoom meeting should still be on YouTube. (tho I don’t have the link handy)

  • dean-mcmanis

    November 8, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Yeah, many people think that heavy weight is the one key to crosswind stability, and the lighter the car, the worse that crosswinds affect it. But most big trucks and vans have huge , flat, sail-like surface areas and a relatively high center of gravity. I would feel much safer from crosswinds in an Aptera, which is relatively invisible to the wind compared to those giant sail-sided boxes.

  • steven-dempster

    March 3, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Hello, when a colleague heard that I pre-ordered an Aptera their first thought was, we have a huge bridge near us, 4630 feet long, 30 metres up, and I have to cross this bridge 6 times a week for work. The bridge often sees accidents, about every 3 weeks or so, due to trucks getting pushed over by the wind. He suggested that the tail of the Aptera would catch the wind and front-heavy design would see it overturn forwards. Are Aptera taking unusual driving conditions like these into account in their testing?

  • joshua-rosen

    March 3, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    They’ve talked about the effect for cross winds which is what you are worried about. They think that it will behave very well in cross winds because it’s so aerodynamic.

  • kimboly

    March 3, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Conceivably a tailwind strong enough, faster than your driving speed, could provide some lift. Avoid tornadoes and hurricanes. (-:

  • kerbe2705

    March 3, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    Due to the placement of the battery pack – the heaviest part of the vehicle – Aptera will have a very low center of gravity and an almost perfect weight distribution: It won’t be “nose heavy”.

  • steven-dempster

    March 4, 2022 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for helpful responses. To clarify, I know crosswinds have been discussed before, and I don’t have any doubts that the car can survive very strong crosswinds, it is tailwinds that I’m a little worried about. Wanted to raise it, to make sure it gets tested.

  • KayleighVenne

    March 4, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Hi Steven,

    Thank you for this question! I look forward to getting you a more in-depth answer from our Engineers. For now, I can let you know: Our advanced aerodynamic shape and the vehicle’s ability to slip through the air have some real benefits! You barely feel semi trucks as you just slip through their turbulence; the vehicle does not generate lift at speed. For people concerned about stability at high speeds; Downforce on the rear of the vehicle is about 25 pounds at 65MPH.

    • kimboly

      March 4, 2022 at 6:20 pm

      I figure that 25 down force is on top of the actual weight of the vehicle on the rear wheel.

  • Angela Lee

    April 26, 2022 at 11:20 am

    I just recently ordered mine, but I do not see anything on testing the vehicles in extreme weather conditions. With how the world is going weather is not going to get better so what about hydroplaning on the highway. Light cars tend to lose control more in my opinion and experience and I’m so worried about bad weather because it can change so quickly and unexpectedly. Would they put the vehicle though extreme weather testing?

    • This reply was modified 12 months ago by  bbelcamino.
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by  Gabriel Kemeny.
  • john-young

    April 26, 2022 at 11:49 am

    Hi Angela, they only have the 4 prototypes right now and no, they have not done any weather testing with them. That will come later in the year, no earlier than November, when they have some pre-production units they can test. However I think it will handle rain and water as well as any modern 2,000 lbs car with appropriate tires.

  • Fran

    April 26, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    A couple of us still drive an original version Honda Insight. I drive mine with very little tread (better rolling resistance), in snow, sleet, rain, fog, whatever. A little common sense and adjustment to the conditions and its no problem (slow down). The Honda Insight weighs less that most Aptera models. I’m getting the lightest one (25 kWh battery).

  • jacob-armstrong

    April 26, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t have much experience in this area so please take this with a grain of salt, but I’d think that a three-wheeled vehicle would have a reduced hydroplaning risk compared with a four-wheeled vehicle. In a three-wheeled vehicle, the weight is distributed across fewer points so there’s 33% more weight per tire compared with a four-wheeled vehicle. This should help to offset the hydroplaning risks introduced by the Aptera’s lighter weight. But again, I don’t know much about cars and this is all guesswork on my end.

  • rashid-clark

    April 28, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    I agree, weather testing would be very helpful.

    There is some partial information out there. At about the 25-second mark in this video: https://youtu.be/bDMqEmUGxX4?t=24

    He mentions that the wheel motors (though not the Aptera) have been tested in mud, snow, ice, and sand.

    There was some other video where they mentioned that the vehicle is also aerodynamic from the sides, so that gales blowing in from any direction should be safe on the car.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Rashid Clark.

  • sylver-dibobe

    August 21, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    I saw a video on how the aerodynamic of the car make windshield wipers not necessary, but what about the rain, rain on the windshield ?

    • OZ.

      August 21, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Aptera will have a standard wiper (Or 2) mounted at the bottom of the window as on a standard vehicle. (Likely this will also be the ventilation air intake area.)

  • owen-harding

    August 22, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    Good topic to bring up.

    I was thinking…. snow ruts/tracks. I know changing lanes in the winter with a 4 wheeled car can be “fun” somethimes, so I wonder how the 3rd wheel in the centre will behave. Hopefully I don’t have to deal with it often, but I am sure it will be semi-regular occurrence in the winter. (worse if you live in Buffalo,NY)😯

    • Greek

      August 22, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      It was actually brought up last winter. Following the tracks of the vehicle in front of you is great for the fronts but the rear will be being pulled (front drive) through the snow. Front drive is much better than rear drive in the snow, but all wheel drive would be best. My i3 struggles to make lane changes when there is more snow on the road. The front wheels generally slide into the ruts and when the rears catch up, theres sometimes an oversteer correction that needs to be made. Most of the time it’s fun, but it can be scary at highway speeds.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  John Voules.
      • paul-brand

        August 23, 2022 at 4:58 pm

        Having driven other cars, trucks, and motorcycles in all kinds of adverse weather including rain, ice and snow (the motorcycle only in rain), the aptera autocycle should do well in most situations. In deep snow, the rear wheel could be a problem as it plows a new track, but in my experience, waiting for the snow plows to clear the deep snow makes for a safer trip and usually may only delay your trip for an hour or two after a big snow. Clearance in the wheel pants in snowy situations where sticky snow accumulates may be more of a concern.

        My practice with new (to me) cars and trucks in snowy situations is to get to know the vehicle handling by testing turns, starting, and stopping in a large vacant parking lot after a snow. Then you can gauge how the vehicle will respond to your input and determine how much distance you need for stopping and how long it takes to start from a slippery surface in a controlled environment before you take it out on the open roads.

  • ola-friis

    August 24, 2022 at 5:02 am

    This is how it looks for me some weeks every year. Not sunny California really, but more 3 wheeled cars would make a difference. Someone has to lead the way, I guess it will be me in my future Aptera.

    Love to hear some first hand experiences, as they come! Any videos from Aptera about this?

    Regards from the Nordics.

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