Aptera Wheel Cover/Pants info and issuesPosted by RajGiandeep on October 22, 2021 at 1:21 pm
Just made a quick video to ease the minds of those worried about the wheel covers. Remember these are alpha builds
ModeratorOctober 22, 2021 at 2:56 pm
Raj, thanks for putting this video together. I myself wasn’t overly concerned with the shake rattle and roll of the wheel covers on the Alpha Aptera, but others were and this video is reassuring.
MemberOctober 22, 2021 at 10:26 pm
My friend who is a retired mechanical engineer, noted the amount of flex and wobble in what he called “wheel pants” said they were similar to the ones on his fathers jodell 11 plane , said that on takeoff and landing they did the same amount of flexing and eventually would explode and take out a fabric wing very easily.
Sure no fabric wings here. But damage to the body or another vehicle is possible.
I’m glad they are sorted out ????
ModeratorOctober 24, 2021 at 8:28 am
Thanks for this Raj!
Yes the Aptera team has answered this in the forum a few times. Basically:
????Only the Alpha
???? Front wheel covers ( aka pants, fairings, cowlings) fully supported yet
????Upcoming beta > development vehicle will see an inner liner that bolts to the wheel for added stability but…
Because of the physics of the design there will always be a slight shake
We haven’t seen the adjacent front arms aero covers yet, etc…
I had shared, in an old thread, a video of the old Chrysler Plymouth Prowler, a past roadster style vehicle which had exposed wheels with short fenders that covered just the top of those expose front wheels. They also had a slight shake in the production vehicles’ front wheel fenders
IMHO Development vehicles are “ Franken- vehicles”, until they get to “production intent”.
Although Sol is amazing good looking ,at the first ( Alpha) stage. I have see and been driven in the same one Jay drove.
They have to patch together a viable test vehicle , so people could see1) That Aptera’s renderings were amazingly close to the build 2) this unique car is safe enough, even at the alpha stage, to get real data with all these drives we witness.
Bring on gamma!???? Any color will do! ???? with more ???? bells and whistles?!
I digress a bit, but…
I can’t wait to see and hear from of the early reservation holders “ I have connected with” …. that are electrical engineers and EV owners… One in paticular, who is been in electrics for twenty years promoting EV, starting many EV clubs/ chapters…report his first hand experiences with his Aptera ( a Paradigm Edition) !
And being AZ based….Let the solar zone eight environment … “ Tell the Never Charge possibility”
He has been known to be the EV hyper-mile champ, exceeding many EPA EV ranges on EVs he has driven…so “ this should be interesting!
MemberOctober 28, 2021 at 4:10 pm
How much ground clearance will the wheel covers have ?
Again my friend noted his Honda fit has a chin spoiler that is 6” off the ground and he drags it on every driveway, crib etc, he thought the wheel covers would be nothing more than fancy curb feelers.
I’m more worried about 3” or snow leaving me high and dry/cold lol
I figure if need be I’ll put some chrome or sticky molding on them unless they are Kevlar. Lol
MemberOctober 28, 2021 at 4:31 pm
Obviously nothing is final but I believe they said 5 inches was normal and 7 inches with the offroad kit. The body was 9 inches but it might be slightly lower as im not sure if this number was alpha or beta and beta seems to have lowered this. Functionally because the lowest points are right at the wheels I wouldn’t expect much issue on hills or driveways. I live in BC and drive to the ski hill regularly and have no concerns (especially with AWD and software torque vectoring)
MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 6:59 am
Are such large wheel guards necessary? Are they more aerodynamic? They seem too low to the ground personally and too flared I’d rather have half size wheel guards or none at all. Could be a real problem off road or on country tracks. This should be a go anywhere vehicle IMO.
MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 7:25 am
Agreed – Yes they are more aerodynamic. Exposed wheels are aerodynamic suicide. That’s why airplanes often have wheel pants. I’m planning on getting the offroad skirts since I want this to go anywhere a Subaru would.
MemberApril 17, 2022 at 2:52 am
Thank you for posting this! Was this video posted on the interviewers UTube channel?
This is the kind of video and information us geek/gear heads/technical types want to see. There were so many more questions I wanted to yell at the screen that this interviewer did not ask. He comes across as a non wrench guy who seems a bit unprepared for his mission.
The engineer talks like all engineers do (lol) but he does give us loads of information. If I knew his name, I’d like to thank him for it.
I think it might also help to distinguish the difference between dirt roads and rock climbing when they talk of Off Road capabilities. I personally don’t see the Aptera doing more than dirt roads with a few rocks but I drive a 4×4 Jeep Cherokee from 96.
I like the concept of removable front and rear pieces for the wheel Pants. I don’t deal with curbs down in Georgia but, I understand the concern coming from an ex-city boy. I think off roaders would simply remove the wheel pants for any off road adventures and avoid the possibilities of damage. I also appreciate his explanation of snow accumulation and the effects it either will or will not have on tire performance and its removal. The addition of the center hub aliment for the outer shirt/pant is also a clever idea for pant stability.
Not to keen on a no tool removal pins for the skirt as every car guy may know that for a avoidance of rattles a torqued fastener is best.
Keep up the good work Aptera!
Now if we could get one of our esteemed community engineers to interview these folks,…
MemberApril 17, 2022 at 8:41 am
The wheelpants have lights on the front and top of them.
I would like to have lights running down the back of them too.
I am frequently passed by people who do not get over completely into the other lane. I fear they will be busy looking at the rest of the vehicle, not notice the front wheel sticking out, and hit the front wheels.
At least have a bright LED light molded into the top light, facing backwards. It could be integrated into the present lights with no problem.
MemberApril 17, 2022 at 11:45 am
Great interview. So much good technical information.
I’m still unclear why the waste heat wont melt the snow easily. I calculated 150-300 watts of heat per wheel (90-95% efficiency) if driving at 60mph / 100 kph with the FWD (6000 watts total = 100 wh/mile). With how enclosed it is this should melt off the snow any time you stop. The wheel motor / wheel are heavy hunks of metal which will hold this heat. Maybe it wont overcome R losses at -40 C/F but at -5 to -10C (23-14F) it should be plenty
MemberApril 18, 2022 at 3:05 am
In the video the engineer mentions the wheel working “like a lathe” in that it will continue to carve out its space as any snow builds up in the inner portion of the wheel well/pant. What they don’t mention is the issue, albeit less common, of snow/ice building up on the inner cavity of the wheel itself. This can happen if snow sprays up into this cavity during driving. When you park it slides to the bottom of the inside wheel cavity, freezes, and leads to your wheel feeling grossly imbalanced when you subsequently go for a drive. When this has happened with our vehicles I have been able to break this free with some machinations. To remove this snow/ice on the Aptera I would think it would require the removal of the wheel pant…. something I would want to avoid in winter weather if possible. I wonder if Aptera has done any simulations for snow/ice build-up on the inner wheel cavity?
MemberApril 18, 2022 at 3:49 am
Good Morning Paul. If there’s that much snow on the ground I would think your speeds are low enough that you wouldn’t need the wheel pant on at all and avoid the issue since aerodynamics and efficiency isn’t an issue. I know some states have issue with un-fendered wheels so this may not be possible. If you look at the motor companies site you’ll see they’ve tested this issue pretty extensively. So I don’t think it’s an issue. Like Steve says in the video, clay is a bigger concern. I think mud could be easily removed with a hose attachment similar to a mower deck that allows for easy grass clean out. Besides these issues you speak of are the same for any wheel.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Steven G. Bueche.
MemberApril 18, 2022 at 10:06 am
Thank you…thank you… thank you!!! Steve did a fine job, as usual, with this interview. But Aptera did an even better job with their wobbly wheel pants solutions. I must say I was more than a little concerned after the Leno drive with this issue. I was in fear of them putting out something that seemed like a piece of you know what. I guess I should have known better! Way to go Aptera!!
MemberApril 20, 2022 at 9:34 am
Would love to have a Fender option like the Prowler. I know this will hurt the range exposing the tire, but honestly for my use that would be fine. Range isn’t an issue for us the car will never be driven more than say 30 miles from home, it will be a city commuter fun car. I am sure someone will design a fender aftermarket if and when these come to market.
MemberApril 21, 2022 at 5:26 pm
Why not a telescoping wheel skirt that can be manually raised and lowered at will dependent upon which if the owner wishes to take their Aptera off-roading. ;-D
MemberApril 24, 2022 at 4:08 pm
How about adding a set of mounting holes so you can mount the wheel pants in the standard position or the higher off-road position.
MemberMay 14, 2022 at 3:07 pm
MemberMay 16, 2022 at 9:47 am
Even though it will hurt the aerodynamics of the Aptera, I’d like to see the option of those Prowler type fenders on it.
MemberMay 30, 2022 at 3:27 am
I was just watching the video about the improved wheel pants, lol. I live in the Hudson Valley NY, and our snow accumulation isn’t Buffalo standard, but is still pretty hefty. As I looked at the wheel pants, I wondered about snow and ice build up inside of them. The fenders on my Passat wagon would get pretty full during the 90 round trip taking my kid to school, so this concerns me a bit. What are everyone’s thoughts? I’m sorry if this has been answered. I searched, but most of the questions have been about handling.
MemberMay 30, 2022 at 12:56 pm
John, I live in Hudson Falls, NY and I am not concerned about snow build up. First of all any day that the snow is coming down faster than the plows can keep it under six inches, is quite rare. If it gets to the point that there is build up inside the wheel pants, go over a few bumps and it might break it loose. If not, just stop and use the handle of your scrapper and dig it out. Or go to the car wash and use the hot water self serve pressure wash to clean it out. The only problem I would expect is if you drive to work and don’t clean out the build-up under the pants, and during the day it melts enough to fall down onto the tire and then freezes to the tire. That would be a learning experience, to teach you to clean out the build-up before going in to work. I would expect this to happen about once every ten years.
MemberMay 30, 2022 at 8:22 pm
I’m just north of Chicago and I’m not concerned either. To add to what Francis said, the motors in each of the wheel hubs do generate some heat and that could work to minimize snow and ice build up. If you do get a Buffalo type snow fall, you could also snap the wheel pants off, but this is definitely a last resort idea. Only if it’s say over 2 feet deep and your roads haven’t been plowed yet and you need to get somewhere. Just keep it under 30 mph and efficiency shouldn’t be impacted too much. Since the Aptera is legally considered to be a motorcycle, it should be legal to drive without wheel pants (aka-fenders) in most places. Many 2 wheel motorcycles already are driven without fenders.
MemberMay 31, 2022 at 12:06 am
@John Reeder – This video? If you look at 7:57 you’ll see that there’s precious little space between the tire and the liner so there’s almost nowhere for show or ice to accumulate. Remember that, unlike an automobile’s wheels, Aptera’s wheels don’t steer or travel vertically within the wheel pants: The wheel pants are attached to the wheel so there’s no need for extra space to allow for wheel movement inside a traditional “wheel well”. https://youtu.be/WgRF_O4ilhM
MemberJune 25, 2022 at 8:30 pm
I wonder why the wheelpants/spats don’t have the same profile as the car body. Since the car body is close to the ideal aero shape, accounting for ground effects turbulence, why then aren’t the pants/spats the same shape?
MemberJune 25, 2022 at 9:48 pm
@Kimberly Wilson – because they serve a different purpose and because they interact with the airflow around the body. If the shapes were identical they’d generate a great deal of turbulence.
MemberJuly 2, 2022 at 4:38 am
We all know that someone always can end up leaning against their vehicle when standing next to it and talking to a friend. This got me to thinking. Sometimes people have hopped up and sat on the hood or trunk of a car as a place to sit. Sometimes this could even lead to a dent from the weight.
So, it made me wonder… How well will the wheel covers handle leaning and/or sitting from a person? They are at the right height to be tempting for someone to put their full weight onto them. Has Aptera mentioned anything in this area??
MemberJuly 2, 2022 at 5:12 am
Lately they have spoken of the Aptera- specific Elaphe motors having a stationary shaft extending beyond the outer edge of the hub from which they can support and stabilize the outboard shell of the wheel pants. This should make them fairly sturdy.
The lighting on the wheel pants also seems to have a fairly pronounce ridge to it, so hopefully it won’t look like such a comfortable place to sit.
MemberAugust 16, 2022 at 7:52 am
I am curious about the aerodynamic efficiency of the wheel covers. Their design seems basic and unrefined compared compared to the fuselage. Perhaps there are constraints I haven’t considered, but given the phenomenal aerodynamics of the fuselage I would expect the profile of the covers to look similar to that of the main body (would probably look great too). Maybe they’re narrow enough that it doesn’t matter, perhaps the law of diminishing returns kicked in…
MemberAugust 16, 2022 at 7:58 am
Just some random thoughts… Maybe the high pressure air from the nose of the fuselage makes a difference on the shape of the pants. Also the amount of wetted area needs to be considered. And ease of access to the cabin could limit the trailing side of the pants.