Battery swap versus structural integration.

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Battery swap versus structural integration.

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Battery swap versus structural integration.

  • Battery swap versus structural integration.

     Audra updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago 15 Members · 22 Posts
  • Ian Collister

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 12:36 am

    I think Tesla may have made a slight strategic error, shock horror. It seems battery technology is developing at pace, solid state, alternate cathode anode electrolyte. Therefore, having the battery as part of the structure is good for strength, manufacture cost, bad for flexibility, adaptability, future possibilities. I wasn’t a fan of battery swap until now, of course battery life has proved itself but Aptera bodies won’t rust so any glitch in battery is only possible problem. Most Tesla owners will probably just buy a new car, but for sustainability? Does Aptera have a fairly easy battery swap like Nio or Renault Zoe?

  • John Malcom

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Battery tech is certainly moving forward at light speed. The Aptera battery design is neither structural nor swappable in the first production version. The batteries are 2170s in a proprietary battery pack design which is less expensive and quicker to manufacture which is good for us!

    • Oz (It’s Oz, just Oz)

      Member
      February 5, 2022 at 6:05 am

      We should define swappable for this question. The Aptera Battery pack does not appear designed for a “Quick refueling change”, but the entire pack and body design appeared to me to be attached to a major body panel, that it could be removed and replaced/repaired as necessary.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      February 5, 2022 at 8:36 pm

      OZ Man makes a good point. The battery swapping I referred to in my post is the Nio EV concept where you drive to a battery swapping station and in five minutes with very little human intervention, drive out with a fully charged battery. Nio calls it Battery as a Service. It can be used in place of charging or to swap batteries of different capacities. Of course it depends on a network of expensive battery swapping stations. The Aptera design does not support this kind of battery swapping nor is the battery architecture modular where you can add battery packs/ modules to move to a higher battery capacity without other battery system changes.

      A person qualified to work with high voltage systems would be able to remove an Aptera battery with a given capacity and replace it with another batter of the same capacity. The replacement would not be a trivial task and I imagine it should not be performed by someone not trained to deal with high voltage systems or without the right battery and battery control testing equipment.

      A company called Ample has proof of concept charging stations in San Francisco and is working with Uber drivers to test the approach.

  • Elzo Stubbe

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 12:56 am

    Only members with inside information and technical knowledge can answer this question and I am neither of them. I can tell what I would prefer: modular battery pack swapping.

  • Riley ________________________________

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 12:59 am

    I do want an all stainless steel truck but if it’s e-wast after the battery is dead what’s the point. I really hope aptera makes it easy enough for the average joe to do a future battery upgrade in a driveway. Similar to an engine swap except you die if you touch the wrong part.

  • John Smith

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 6:12 am

    You won’t see battery swapping from any company that produces a significant number of EVs because it requires more than one battery per vehicle. Why build more batteries to swap when you can build and sell more cars? Tesla has tried it and found it wasn’t the way to go. Do you really want that abused battery swapped into your car to replace the one you’ve taken care of?

    • Nathan Hubbard

      Member
      February 7, 2022 at 7:39 pm

      Nio produces a significant number of EVs and they have had pretty good luck with battery swapping.

      However, I don’t think the Aptera is a good fit for this at all.

      • John Malcom

        Member
        February 7, 2022 at 9:20 pm

        Agreed. Nio sells chiefly in China. They have committed to constructing 4,000 swapping stations there. The Nio products (Vehicles and batteries) are designed for swapping, one of their discriminators. The Aptera is not designed to easily swap out batteries by untrained people (No high voltage training or experience)

        As pointed out in this thread, batteries most likely will last ten years if managed well. I think the question of swapping in some cases in this thread is focused on swapping out a lower kWh battery for a higher one as an upgrade. That is not possible with other work on battery controllers, suspension adjustment for increased battery weight etc.

        In ten years, battery technology will have progressed to the point that they will be much smaller, with much higher power density, and less weight. I am sure Aptera will leverage battery technology improvements and provide an upgrade path for us to take advantage of those improvements

  • Joel Smith

    Member
    February 5, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    Let’s not neglect that most all of the batteries being used in currently available EVs are liable to last 10 years or more, or maybe as much as 400,000 miles. That’s a pretty good run without a major overhaul for any vehicle.

    I’d suggest that much of the worry over needing to replace batteries comes from the early model Leaf which combined a small battery pack, piss poor thermal management, and a lot of drivers clueless about charging habits that might preserve and extend the life of those batteries. Now there are a bunch of disgruntled Leaf owners with half dead batteries clamoring for replacements.

    • George Hughes

      Member
      February 6, 2022 at 12:59 am

      In suggesting the ‘longevity’ of the batteries may be multiple hundreds of miles is one thought that means the lifetime of the battery might well be the lifetime of the car.

      This is in conflict with the multi-generational aspirations of Aptera coupled with, at least in my mind (as expressed elsewhere on the board), its ‘deserving’ to be the test-bed for open source EVs because of it commitment to right to repair.

      While the first reality is that battery will likely last at least ten years and will never be changed, I suspect that the appeal of Aptera to early adopters and experimenters in a range of fields from batteries to motors will choose to highlight their innovations on the Aptera. This is because adding or replacing things on the Aptera, given it is the efficiency benchmark will say a lot about the ‘impact’ of your innovation.

      Success will be real if your new tire design makes the 1000 mile Aptera go 1,200 miles.

      I certainly have not heard of any ‘standards’ for interchangeability or other open-source standards for EV component inter-operability but if such an open standards effort or software solution could be fostered by the application of Aptera’s IP (on Aptera’s terms of course) the market will be appreciative.

  • David Marlow

    Member
    February 6, 2022 at 1:35 am

    Aptera has made it clear that the battery pack is not upgradeable and that repair of high voltage system (of witch the battery is part of) by unqualified personal, will not be recommended. However I believe that to comply with the right to repair policy it should be designed to be a modular system, allowing for modular replacement. This would require access to a HV cut off switch as part of the battery module, also the solar charging system should be able to be shut down in some way (maybe automatically if connection to the battery is lost). Don’t all BEV’s have recommended ways for first responders to shut down the HV system to be safe?

    • Joshua Rosen

      Member
      February 6, 2022 at 6:14 am

      There is always a fireman’s switch to cut off the power, I think it’s required by law.

      Of course repairing the high voltage system by unqualified person’s isn’t recommended, any company that suggests that anyone but professionals work on a 400V system is opening themselves up to massive legal liability.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Joshua Rosen.
  • Elzo Stubbe

    Member
    February 6, 2022 at 6:16 am

    In the future highly specialized battery pack replacement companies will provide us with the latest and greatest after market packs. You can trade in your old pack and get some money back and happily drive on for another million miles…..

    • Elzo Stubbe

      Member
      February 6, 2022 at 6:20 am

      On second thought I think my theory is wrong: Battery packs in the near future will be highly efficient and sustainable. So replacement becomes totally unnecessary

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Elzo Stubbe. Reason: wrong conclusion
  • seth feldman

    Member
    February 6, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    I’m pretty sure chris anthony batteries would be replaceable/ upgradeable(biggest reason I decided to preorder). The whole body was also supposedly going to be replaceable. As long as you can find/build the same voltage/shape battery it shouldn’t matter how much storage it has other than range estimations would require reprogramming. Also having standard cells should make it easy to rebuild batteries in the old case assuming you can dismantle nondestructively

    • John Malcom

      Member
      February 6, 2022 at 9:56 pm

      Yes, you could replace the battery with the same exact battery kWh/configuration. The voltage of all battery configurations is the same. Aptera is a 350/400 volt system regardless of the kWh rating of the battery packs. You can not upgrade to a higher kWh rated battery configuration (more packs) by simply pulling out the old battery and replacing it with the number of packs for a higher kWh rating.

      We know that Aptera will use 2170 batteries in the Aptera battery modules/ packs with a proprietary pack configuration providing faster and cheaper assembly. I have not seen anything that suggests that Aptera will use Chris Anthony provided 2170 batteries in the production Aptere. If you have such a reference please post it on the Forum so all can have it documented.

      • kerbe2705

        Member
        February 6, 2022 at 10:16 pm

        I’ve been pondering the interface of rectilinear battery modules and the curved “chiller plate” belly of the Aptera. One of the points FOR structural battery packs is thermal efficiency: The cells shed heat directly into a chiller plate and not into channels of circulating fluid. Another point is weight reduction: Module frames, braces and other packaging are done away with.

      • seth feldman

        Member
        February 7, 2022 at 4:42 pm

        Why couldn’t you upgrade the KWH rating? Obviously you’d have to get/fabricate the special shaped batteries which actually fit in the compartment, unless they’re building special compartments for each battery which would likely slow down production with extra lines for each size, not to mention unnecessarily limiting upgrade options. Now it may not be a good idea to mismatch old dying battery pack with new batteries for safety/warranty reasons, which would mean replacing the entire battery and not simply upgrading with an extra pack… As far as links check youtube as I don’t feel like re-watching every interview. At this point I take everything as wishful thinking to maybe/probably at best. We won’t know unless sandy does a teardown video of the finished product.

  • Bruce Jankowitz

    Member
    February 7, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Not sure here, but might have something to do with the BMS. There may be a specific one depending on the battery size and technology of the pack. This is a question for someone close to the battery install.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      February 7, 2022 at 7:14 pm

      Quite correct Bruce. A different BMS is needed for each battery configuration and the suspension needs to be be adjusted for the weight difference as well. Each battery configuration has a different compartment configuration. EV batteries need to be balanced which precludes mixing old packs with new just as the cells in the modules/ packs need to be balanced.

  • Audra

    Administrator
    February 8, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Hi Ian,

    Great question! While we gain some structural benefits with the battery bolted to the body, our pack is not considered structural. Battery swaps will be possible as the pack can be removed without compromising the integrity of the vehicle body. 🙂

    Driving solar mobility forward,

    Audra

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