Found an interesting article that mentions a (new to me) type of solar panel that can unfold into what looks like wings above the car. Is this pure scy-fi or just too ineffective to be of any use? Would be awesome if our apteras can get “functional” wings.
“Solar Fabric”, “Solar in a Can”, “Solar (pick a name)” have been dreamed of or “experimented” with for decades. I doubt, however, there’s anything even remotely practical and cost effective within the visible horizon. Hopefully that changes. The applications would be endless.
None of the above should suggest, however, that Aptera, or any electric car, can’t have “functional wings” (deploy-able arrays(?)). Check out the following forum discussion that was had a couple weeks ago:
Looks a bit like the PV arrays on the new LUCY space probe (or older Phoenix Mars lander).
As finely tuned as the Aptera is for low Cd, It would be pretty tough to add anything to the exterior with a benefit not outweighed by the degraded aerodynamic performance. For a brick like what’s in the image, perhaps that won’t matter (or gain?) so much.
I’m still thinking PV stowed in the trunk-space to be pulled out and set up next to the vehicle when parked. I’ll be watching to see how much buffer capability they build into the electrical system for that. There are suggestions that there will be some.
The PV arrays for LUCY and Phoenix Mars Lander (and certainly other space arrays) are variations on the “UltraFlex” concept originally developed, I believe, by ATK (Alliant Techsystems). The solar cells generally used were/are Multi-Junction GaAs-based and bonded to a rather low weight flexible substrate which could be, sort of, folded for very low “stowed volume”. Here’s a video showing the typical unfurling of such an array. Note the apparatus hanging from the ceiling supporting the array. That wouldn’t, of course, be needed in space. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vjK9vGEw5Q