ModeratorOctober 12, 2021 at 7:51 am
It occurred to me that one solution for range anxiety — ignoring for the moment the confidence to be gained from getting the 1,000 mile battery pack available for the Aptera — would be the option of carting around a small “portable solar generator” unit in the rear storage area under the floor of the Aptera. This would be our version of having a 1 gallon gas can in the trunk of an ICE vehicle. Yes, I know that’s NOT a safe practice although I have done it on occasion. Guilty as charged;)
Over the last 2-3 years, the marketplace has been crowded with a good number of companies offering varying sizes of portable units that incorporate a lithium battery pack, a 110v inverter, and a solar charge controller (allows varying numbers of solar PV panels to be connected to the unit to charge the battery pack). This type of product varies in energy capacity from 250wh (not enough power to do much for an Aptera) all the way up to 6,000wh or more. Rough estimates seem to indicate that optimistically one can get about 10 miles per 1,000wh of battery capacity from such a unit. So a 1,000wh solar generator (which is about 21 lbs) could conceivable give you another 8-10 miles of driving in a pinch. These units offer USB connections for cellphone charging plus standard 110V outlets. Admittedly, using one of these to charge an Aptera would be slow. Also, it wouldn’t be a cheaper option than simply getting one of the larger Aptera battery packs (i.e. 400, 600 or 1,000 mile sizes). Solar generators of 1,000wh capacity run around $600-$800.
I’m not saying everyone SHOULD get one of these. Only saying, one could. Obviously, the cost-benefit ratio would be weighed on a case by case basis. One of these units wouldn’t do much to emergency charge a Tesla Model 3, but the low energy appetite of the Aptera makes it a more viable option for an Aptera. How viable an option it is in your case is of course, up to you.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 11:28 am
HHmmm why not just use the 700w solar option built into the Aptera? Available 100% of the time where ever the vehicle is without taking up storage space and extra weight. No set up time or extra equipment to worry about losing or not working when needed. No embarrassment when other Aptera owners find out you did not plan your trip charging correctly.
ModeratorOctober 12, 2021 at 12:03 pm
Excellent point, John. I was thinking about a scenario where it’s raining that day or cloud cover would be preventing the vehicle from providing it’s own extra fuel. However, I do appreciate the engineering purity of avoiding toting along extra equipment.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 12:34 pm
If raining or cloud cover, the gas can solar would not work either
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 11:48 am
https://aptera.us/community/discussion/carbon-footprint-to-produce-vs-ice/ TFL on youtube tried your aftermarket generator idea. if aptera lets user pull the plugin wire out of its housing so it can sit in teh trunk connected to generator, it may work. waterproof seats and no cloth etc is also great for being able to hose away any liquid leaks, although youd have to be able to tilt car to dump the liquids. hopefully surfaces dont have small spaces where smal stuff get stuck in like food crumbs and whatever waste liek mud etc.
MemberOctober 13, 2021 at 11:00 am
AAA (and similar organizations in other areas) will use portable power packs which function like gas cans. This is really no different than every other EV so solutions exist and will be more common as the industry expands. Due to how the Aptera sips power it will work better with all of the solutions than less efficient EVs.
I dont see a lot of value in extra solar for emergencies because of two reasons:
– Most EVs (and even gas cars) have 120V output which can boost an Aptera for a few miles of range. A gas car would take longer than EV but 2 hours would easily get 5-10 miles “in the tank”. 100W output is more than 1 mile per hour (~2 if limping along at 20 mph)
– If it is light out you can take a nap and let the Aptera self charge; anything carried would be negligible unless you filled the entire back of the car with panels
If you want to carry an emergency battery in the frunk it would be enough to provide an emergency range. Devices like https://www.sparkcharge.io/ are probably overkill but a 500 WH jackery could give 5-10 miles especially if driving slow; depends how much power makes sense to carry.
ModeratorOctober 13, 2021 at 2:47 pm
I agree with you, Curtis. It doesn’t make much sense to me to carry around extra solar panels to provide extra charging power for an emergency — unless Aptera provides:
1) Input to connect MC4 or XT40 cables typical of portable and rooftop-sized solar panels
2) a solar charge controller capable of handling the extra juice of those panels, say 1,500 watts
Aptera has a solar charge controller as part of its standard electronics, but it is or will likely be sized to support only the full option of 700 watts we can order.
Having a power source like a Jackery or something similar with perhaps 2KWH+ capacity would allow you use a charging cable plugged into the 110V inverter of the Jackery and connect it to the standard grid charging port of the Aptera thereby charging the vehicle faster in an outlander scenario. That is, you could be getting charge from the built-in Aptera cells while you’re charging from your portable unit. I am assuming you might pack up the solar generator at home when it’s fully charged and take it along.
I know this gets a bit weird, but it is gratifying to have choices even if I myself might take a pass on actually using any of them;)
MemberJuly 24, 2022 at 4:42 am
With a gas can it is simple to transfer all the energy from the gas can to the vehicle’s gas tank. Transferring the power stored in an auxiliary battery pack to the Aptera for use may be the sticking point. I have not seen one of these packs with a fast DC transfer mode. And, if it could be connected to the Aptera’s electrical system then the Aptera controller would need to be able to recognize it and do the power transfer.
The current required for vehicle acceleration would likely overwhelm the internal wiring in most of these power units. But, I am not an electrical engineer and would like others with experience to provide info on whether my thinking is misguided.
MemberJuly 24, 2022 at 7:41 am
Just get a pack large enough for your needs and if you are planning a trip that exceeds your range do a little planning so that you can stop at a DC charger and top off a bit. Finally get AAA 200 mile towing.
I’ve had a Tesla for three years and most of my miles are road trips, I’ve never had range anxiety. The range of my Tesla is down to 250 miles @90% charge, so a practical range of 200 miles. We stop every 100 miles, which is about two hours of driving, to go to the bathroom. We plan those stops at Superchargers. We plug in, go to the bathroom, and then leave. We’ve hardly ever had to wait for the car, the amount of charge we get while we relieve ourselves is enough. I’ve ordered the 600 mile Aptera. I’m assuming a practical range of at least 400 miles, probably 450. With that amount of range almost all of our trips, maybe all of them, can be done without charging. We probably will take advantage of opportunistic charging until I get comfortable with the actual performance of the car.
MemberJuly 24, 2022 at 8:06 am
Interesting musings I think left over from legacy EV range anxiety.
Here is a point to consider. If Aptera goes with a Tesla connector these battery pack/EV gas can solutions may not be compatible or require an adapter of some kind as they appear to be configured with a non Tesla type of plug.
Where I live on the FL Space Coast nothing like the “Gas can” would be required. Beside they take up space and weigh a lot. Unless you use them infrequently, their weight will degrade performance (Acceleration and range) and diminish load capacity for other things/passengers. (Subtract from the 500lb limit for full performance)
I guess those of you that live in less sunny climes, reserve the small battery size Aptera, or go into the wilderness a lot, may have a use case for these solutions. Another possible use case would be those that live in condos or apartments where they can charge in their home then take out to their EV. Seems like a lot of work though😁
MemberJuly 25, 2022 at 8:14 am
Ray@ Their acceleration numbers are based on the 400 mile variant and they are more than quick enough. The FWD version is 5.5 seconds, the AWD version is 3.5 seconds (that’s the same as the Model Y Performance). Those numbers are neck snapping. I have a Model 3 AWD, 4.4 seconds. I floored it a couple of times after I bought it three years ago and haven’t done it since because it made me dizzy. If you are the kind of guy who drives a Honda Insight you probably aren’t the kind of guy who peels away from traffic lights and cares about every drop of acceleration, I know I only care that it’s good enough for me to merge onto a highway safely and anything that can do 0-60 in 8 seconds is good enough for that. Weight doesn’t have much effect on highway efficiency because you are traveling at steady speeds, it does have an effect on city efficiency but less so than in a gas car because of regen braking. In the case of the Aptera the efficiency is so high for the 400 mile version that the the slightly better efficiency for the 250 mile version won’t be noticeable.
In the long run the solution is good CCS charging, it’s kind of unbelievable how unreliable CCS chargers seem to be. I watch a lot of the EV YouTube channels and they almost always encounter broken chargers and when they do work it takes multiple attempts to get it to work. It doesn’t have to be that way, Tesla has proven that. I’ve been driving a Tesla for three years and I do road trips every weekend. In all that time I’ve only encountered one bad plug which had no effect on my ability to charge since there were seven good ones to choose from.
The short term solution is to get an Aptera with enough range that you’ll never have to rely on CCS chargers. I’ve ordered the 600 mile version for that very reason. I started to closely monitor the distance that we travel when I got a Volt. On our trips the absolute longest that we do in a day is 450 miles. The Volt was just barely able to do that without fueling, I’d get home with a bone dry tank and a couple of KWh in the battery. The Tesla needs a couple of Supercharger stops but we need those stops anyway and Supercharging is 99.999% reliable.
I’m convinced that I can do all of our trips with the 600 mile Aptera without having to charge. In a couple more years CCS should be good enough but in the meantime the safe solution is just to buy a car with enough range to handle 100% of your driving, not 95%. In your case that’s the 400 mile variant, the good new for you is that’s the one they are building first.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Joshua Rosen.
MemberJuly 25, 2022 at 8:43 am
Aptera enthusiasts are pretty astute and are more than capable of assessing their use cases and selecting the right battery option.
Everyone has a slightly different use case therefor their requirements are different. Fortunately, Aptera has a variety of battery/range options which will fit the different use cases/requirements of all potential buyers. On the basis of efficient use of resources alone, ($, unused battery capacity dead weight, etc.) selecting a battery that covers 95% of all driving requirements makes no sense and doesn’t justify the additional expense, especially if distance driving is infrequent and for shorter distances.
MemberJuly 25, 2022 at 7:13 pm
I hate to state the obvious, but if you haul a twenty to thirty pound battery pack with you, you’re probably costing yourself the same range you’d get back.
MemberJuly 26, 2022 at 8:21 am
I’m not sure the battery bank will do what you thunk it will do. First you are loosing range by adding it. Over time it will add up even if it’s less then a percent of range. An external battery pack is also nit 100 percent efficient and at best would be 90 percent so you have to factor that in. In regards to performance you are adding weight, even if not a lot to a higher center of gravity spot then just adding the 400 mile range and it will likely have a greater effect on handling then you would think. The 250 mile range also won’t likely accelerate as fast as the 400w anyway because the 400 W batteries can outputore power. The 25 kwh ish pack they are using will likely top out at 75KW peak based on the battery specs and the 41kwh pack will be more like 120KW which is more important then 150 pounds. Even if they let the BMS discharge the batteries faster for 10 seconds or so like tesla does, you will likely still be below max motor output on the 25 KWH version. To me the best back up would be a long extension cord if you have range anxiety as its likely that you could make it to somewhere with a outlet in your last miles. You will have to mess up pretty bad to even have an issue however as the computer will tell you Information on range and where you have to stop to charge up.
MemberJuly 26, 2022 at 10:57 am
Thanks Mathew but not exactly true for all of us. You may have a point with some 250 owners, depends a little in their situation, and absolutely about all the advantages. You missed the advantage for those who ordered last year in that it could mean getting the car sooner. However, I think most of us have ordered or upgraded their order to the 400 mile Battery for all the reasons mentioned. Loss of range is likely to be very minimal at less than 2% of the total vehicle + passenger + cargo weight. Weight distribution I think Aptera has accounted for more than 30 or 40 lbs of cargo weight, if they haven’t were all in trouble. Also unless they change the design there is a stowage compartment behind the seats in the 250 and 400 Mile versions (I think it’ll get used for internal battery in the 600 and 1000 mile versions). So that would lower it and actually the weight were they planned for it. I also believe most of us regardless of battery size would not bother with the can for local and known trips.
It’s true you’d have to sit and wait a long time for it to dump even 1 or 2 kwh into the car. But that’s better than stranded and yes that’s not far but could be far enough. Same is true for a gas can. A large EV can would be probably be impractical for sure.
My case: I could do about 95%+ of all my driving with the 250 Mile battery. Easily. But I have 1 drive that I make about every 6 weeks that’s 280 miles. There are two places to charge on that drive one in the middle and one about 20 miles from the destination. The one in the middle has a very low reliability rating. Lots of complaints. I thought about the a battery just to make this workable with a 250. But decided to upgrade my order to the 400. So now it’ll handle everything except the handful of long trips I plan make, probably less than 2% of my total driving over the life of the car. These trips are probably the only time I’ll carry the battery (I already have one I built that delivers just about 1k, might build one that has 2k if I deam it advantageous, we’ll see).
For people unwilling or unable to build one buying one for their car only the cost to benefit ratio may not work out. But a 2kwh emergency home battery would serve the dual purpose of powering your car OR your home (usually just a few essentials) in an emergency for either. The use cases are much greater than you think.
MemberSeptember 2, 2022 at 2:23 pm
I think the best solution to this problem is a couple of $20 bills and a good book in the glove compartment. If you are really close to running out of power pull into a gas station or farm or driveway and offer whoever comes out to see your aptera a 20 if you can charge on their 120V outlet long enough to get to the nearest Level 2 or 3 charger. You will get ~ 15 miles in an hour of charging. The book is to help you pass the time. Shame on you if you planned so poorly that you are more than 30 miles from a charger
MemberSeptember 2, 2022 at 2:58 pm
All well and good Larry except it’s not always as simple as you think. For instance my case which I mentioned. If I had stuck with the 250 mile which really should be enough for my needs I had a very good chance of getting stranded regardless of planning. As I also mentioned not all charge stations are reliable. Particularly the ones necessary for my trip I make about every 6 weeks or so. Took a bit of research to find out that I could not reliably make that trip without risking running out of power, because those two stations could not be depended on. It’d be very easy to plan out your trip only to find when you needed a station the most if was not usable. That’s where I first started considering e-cans and panels. In the end I decided I was best off to upgrade the car. With 400 the odds of getting stranded drop dramatically on long trips.
Your idea of paying someone to use their 110, also won’t work if there are no homes in the area. That’s covers quite a bit of that regular trip.
I think I probably plan more than most these days, hence my digging into reliability of important stations. But part of that planning means considering that there may be things you can’t plan for. Planning for possible outages at charge stations is just one of them. Even reliable stations can go down. You also can’t plan for unknown forced detours which can add considerable mileage between stops. There’s also terrain issues which can lower mileage. Unexpected weather which can effect mileage and more, probably stuff I haven’t even considered. You can only plan absolutes just so far, and for now the infrastructure isn’t up to snuff except in some cities.
Planning properly on longer trips MUST include planning for things you haven’t foreseen. If you’re only plan is a book to pass the hours waiting for a solar charge on a cloudy day… well then shame on YOU 😉.
MemberSeptember 3, 2022 at 7:25 pm
I’m already using a ‘solar generator’ regularly for keeping my devices and flashlights and such charged up while at work or wherever. I usually pull out my foldable solar panel to top it off whenever I get a sunny day, so upgrading to a bigger battery wouldn’t be a big deal for me. I’m definitely considering upgrading to one of the larger units some time soon so that I can run a 12v car cooler.
MemberSeptember 3, 2022 at 8:24 pm
If my math is right, the aptera batteries scale at around $25 per mile. (This was calculated by graphing the battery prices and mile estimates and then finding the corresponding linear equation.) That’s around $250 per kilowatt hour of storage. That’s 2-4 times cheaper than what I could find in portable power stations like those from Ecoflow or Jackery. You’d have to really be planning on maxing out your solar collection for these to make a whole lot of sense financially.
MemberSeptember 5, 2022 at 2:05 am
On long trips I will bring my bluetti and 900 W foldable solar panels…to be even more independent. I use this bluetti also in my house to collect solar and use it when I need it(small heater) since Vlad will cut all Gazprom deliveries one has to take sustainable action…..
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Elzo Stubbe.
MemberDecember 9, 2022 at 11:03 am
Now that it’s been confirmed that Aptera’s will use the Supercharger network there is no reason worry about charging. Tesla drivers don’t have range anxiety, the Supercharger network is wide spread and absolutely reliable. Hopefully Aptera will integrate Supercharger status into their navigation the way Tesla has, they should be getting access to that info as part of their agreement with Tesla. In a Tesla you can see the status of any Supercharger, it tells you the power level, the number of chargers, the number of chargers that are free/busy and if there is a problem. In my three years of driving a Tesla and probably a hundred Supercharger visits I’ve never not been able to charge.
The 400 mile Aptera has more range than the Model 3/Y and they have two choices with much more range so planning will be easier. The way to avoid any nervousness is to know where the Superchargers are and if you are doing a trip that might require charging you should do a little planning before hand so that you can combine your pee stops with charging stops. There is no need to carry extra solar panels although purchasing the Tesla to CCS adapter would be a wise decision. You probably won’t need it but it’s cheap enough that you can just get one and throw it in the car just in case.
MemberDecember 12, 2022 at 2:50 pm
Just bring a good tow rope and a thumb.
MemberDecember 13, 2022 at 3:52 am
That was an interesting video! I’ve tow-charged my EV a couple times and it seemed like it got about 3 miles of range per 1 mile of tow. If I heard the guys in the video correctly the Model 3 was closer to 5:1? Impresssive!
MemberDecember 13, 2022 at 12:07 pm
Every manufacturer will do their best to dissuade EV drivers from tow-charging at every turn.
This flat-out prohibition never made much sense to me because what is the difference between gravity pulling you down a 5,000 ft. mountain road and being pulled 25mph on in a flat parking lot.
I do know that in the case of my early Spark EV with nothing but a 3.3kw charger on board (no DCFC) … that was a $750 option that also included a 6.6kw level 2 in addition to the 50kw. Notably, under braking, I can regen up to 60kw.
Anyway, I’m assuming the reason that manufacturers are horrified by tow-charging regimes is that they represent sustained high-rate charging that is both inefficient (tow vehicles energy consumption) and continuous; both being responsible for inordinate generation of heat in the system.
Still, the video showing that the Raptor is more efficient as a charging source for the Model 3 which can cover more ground after being charged by a towing Raptor than the Raptor is capable of when traversing a distance on its own power. To me, this is hilarious.