- 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.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 7:31 am
I’ll repeat here as well…how much are you really sacrificing w/o covers if going at low speed over rough terrain? 10%? 25%? Doubt it would be the latter. Regardless, may be worth it if alternative is ruining those covers! Hopefully easy enough to take off/put on as needed!
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 7:53 am
They have mentioned the wheel covers are easy to remove. so if you are going off road you could remove & throw in trunk I’d imagine. The off-road option haven’t been shown yet.
- MemberNovember 16, 2021 at 10:23 am
Low speed (below 25 mph) you’re not really losing anything.
Above 60 mph you’re probably cutting your range in half without wheel covers. Exposed wheels are aerodynamic suicide.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 1:06 pm
Somebody must have taught my wife that to park close to a curb is good and to park even closer just has to be even more gooder! We have a Fiat 500 and I still have replaced so many tires from her puncturing the sidewall somehow.
I’m hoping that there can be the equivalent of a back up sensor on the tire shrouds to let her know, no to shout at her, that she does not need to get any closer to the curb.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 5:48 pm
Many decades ago as a small child my Dad installed metal rods ( about 8″ long) that were wound like a spring and attach them onto the car body at the low
They made a noise when they made contact with the curb.
Vintage Classic Antique Car Truck Universal Spiral Chrome Curb Feelers
- ModeratorNovember 13, 2021 at 5:48 am
Paul, your wife and my wife must be sisters! Fortunately, she’s only the queen of curb rash, not punctured tires. Maybe it’s time to bring back those funky, short, flexible rods popular in the 60s mentioned by Bruce. Low tech, but effective prevention;)
- MemberNovember 13, 2021 at 7:05 am
Honestly hadn’t thought about how tough parking might be on wheel covers but do see that as a problem – if we’re truthful, who hasn’t occasionally suffered curb rash and wheel covers would be even more likely to get “rubbed”. Wondering if light coating of spray-on bed liner would be smart idea?
- MemberAugust 1, 2022 at 6:44 am
I messaged Aptera regarding our concerns about damaging the wheel pants one way or another. Audra’s reply:
“We are designing with this concern in mind, for Aptera to require very minimal repairs, and protect against outside damage as best as we can.
It is worth noting that the top of the wheel pant is at roughly the height of most passenger car headlights! On top of that, it has a light unit & reflector on it.”
- MemberNovember 13, 2021 at 8:54 am
I remember those “scrapers’ from my dad’s cars. I was obsessed over the appearance of my cars forever, and with my 20 year Audi (I just gave it away to my son-in-law to use as a track car)I may have scraped the rims 3-4 times in that period. Went out of my way not to get too close to a curb.
Yes, with those wheels hanging out like they do, they are ripe for a run in with all sorts of things. That wire scraper might be the ticket if they don’t have electronic warning chimes.
- MemberNovember 13, 2021 at 6:43 pm
I am hoping for some kind of sensor too. Those curb feelers worked well but they were attached to the lower edge of the body. The noise was transferred pretty well. I don’t know how effective that transfer will be from the wheel pants. Might have to hang a bell on it, or at least have the window down.
- MemberNovember 13, 2021 at 7:38 pm
All things considered, seems like sensors would be most practical – similar to fore and aft approach warning beeps
- MemberNovember 16, 2021 at 9:00 am
While we’ve all been concerned about damage to front wheel covers, just occurs to me that the low-hung skirt on back wheel may be at even greater risk of damage, given unavoidable potholes, road hazards, etc. Does anyone know if off-road package would also raising clearance of it as well?
- MemberNovember 16, 2021 at 9:09 am
Keep in mind while looking at the Alpha vehicles they sit lower than the production vehicles will. The final production Aptera, they have mentioned will have 5-6 inches of clearance all around. Off road kit height hasn’t been shown. I’ve heard 7 or 9 inch clearance.
- MemberNovember 16, 2021 at 9:59 am
Yes, aware of stated clearance increase from 5 to 7”, but was thinking that was just front wheel covers. Since back wheel skirt is part of body, increased clearance there would mean raising entire vehicle. Was wondering if that was understood as necessary feature of off-road package.
- 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 6:55 am
I actually feel Steve from Aptera Owner’s Club has been doing a great job with his interview videos he has posted recently. I don’t need to know details of “maybe designs”. I like the fact that Aptera was willing to show one aspect of their design process as a representative of what they are doing behind the scenes.
- MemberApril 17, 2022 at 4:47 am
Even though I am a social worker, I really can appreciate the way Aptera shares all this highly technical inside information with everybody. Back in the days all this was highly confidential and never shared with anybody… A completely different way of thinking and sharing which, in my opinion, is a very positive development.
- This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Elzo Stubbe.
- 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 11:41 am
Do other drivers frequently move into your lane and side-swipe your vehicle? There’s so much FUD about Aptera’s front wheels: When you view the vehicle from above you can see that the wheels don’t protrude an extravagant distance from the widest portion of the body.
Having lights on the rear of the wheel pants would place them in full view of the driver: I’m guessing that having moving lights in my field of vision (remember, these lights would bounce and turn with the wheels, not with the body of the vehicle) would be somewhat distracting…
- MemberApril 17, 2022 at 11:56 am
While no one has side-swiped my vehicle yet, they do frequently pass with part of their vehicle still in my lane. The smaller the vehicle, the less they move over completely into the other lane. Just ask motorcycle riders.
I fear they will judge the width of the vehicle by the most obvious part which is the body. I fear they will not notice the less obvious parts, they wheelpants.
- 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 10:47 am
I, too, am worried about snow buildup in the wheelpants. Especially the rear. With all the wind passing through the wheel motors and the active liquid cooling while traveling down the road, I’m guessing the motors won’t be much above ambient. However, when parked in a garage while charging, it would be easy to heat the wheels up enough to melt adjacent ice. The two methods I can think of are routing warm coolant into the wheel motors or phasing the wheel inverters to run current through the wheel motors to produce heat in the motors yet keep the rotors stationary. I’m sure the wheel motors already have temperature sensors built in to monitor thaw mode temps.
- 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 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Steven G. Bueche.
- MemberApril 18, 2022 at 5:27 pm
The issue of eccentric ice build-up on the inside wheel cavity may be common to all wheels but when I have dealt with the issue I have had access to the inner wheel without removing a wheel pant. This is something I don’t want to do in the bitter cold of an upper midwest winter.
- MemberApril 18, 2022 at 7:16 am
Great question. There isn’t much clearance between the hub motor and the wheel rim – probably 1/2″ at most. So it could build up in there but probably not a lot. But I know it doesn’t take much. I had a subaru in a previous life that would collect snow in between the spokes on my winter tires (but not the summer tires ironically) and get grossly imbalanced. It was only an issue when I was in deep heavy concrete snow then got on the highway after without cleaning out the spokes.
- 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 20, 2022 at 9:47 am
I cant imagine many people wanting to go that far. Opening the wheels for style reasons would probably only appeal to a very small number of pople. A am also unsure about legalities in different areas of having the wheels that open.
At the end of the day the Aptera is your vehicle and making custom wheel pants would certainly be possible once the original design is fully understood. Right to repair. CAD + 3d printing.
- MemberApril 20, 2022 at 10:18 am
Correct. Wheels Without some type of fender are not legal in some jurisdictions in the U.S. Only a personal opinion, but an Aptera without the wheel pants looks unappealing. Also I would not want the spray from the front tires during inclement weather on my Aptera, into the front body of the vehicle, nor would cars passing by appreciate it on their vehicles.
- MemberApril 22, 2022 at 5:44 am
- 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 22, 2022 at 11:50 am
That is a nice solution. A button and a few solonoids per wheel pant. Essentially the factory wheel pant could be butchered for its mounting hardware and the active one added ontop (probably higher above the wheel by default). Seems like a fun project that could be done with minimal materials and a week for those with experience with solidworks (or similar) and programming; hopefully enough room for an extra small wire in the aerodynamic suspension covers. It would definitely be hard to make it not wobble but hopefully not like the alpha wheel pants. Might add some width.
I’m not the best at structural cad or embedded control myself but if I damaged my wheel pants and someone else already had built it (and shared the designs) I could see taking on as a project in a few years.
- 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.
- ModeratorMay 11, 2022 at 9:21 am
Thanks, Ron. Those are very close to the general shape of Aptera’s. Let’s not forget the short-lived Plymouth Prowler’s wheel pants — a bit more recent;)
- MemberMay 14, 2022 at 3:07 pm
- MemberMay 15, 2022 at 4:39 pm
I absolutely want an Aptera spec pair of these. Maybe for winter, maybe for ‘off road’ and maybe just for fun. Yes, I know there’s a range penalty, I’m fine with that. Where I live I’ll rarely go over 45.
- 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.