MemberMarch 22, 2022 at 3:52 pm
That’s a very good question. I played around with my model and considering the weight distribution I really think it will spin flat or bounce the tail most of the time in side or rear impacts. I actually think it could be very dangerous to hit an aptera from the side, side rear or rear since it would seem to want to lift above the hood of the impacting vehicle. A side rear collision on either side would easily have half the tail of the aptera going through the windshield of the oncoming vehicle.
Full Turtle: Given the weight distribution I would think it would be very rare for the vehicle to come to rest on its roof. If it did the forward weight bias should make the rear hatch the best option. Assuming the hatch isn’t an option, the jaws of life could remove the window bar to provide an exit. If the occupants are overweight this might not be large enough and the jaws of life would need to chew into the door enough to cur it free of the hinge<font – definitely would take some time. If the vehicle is in the position and the pack catches fire it would be a really bad situation if for any the hatch isn’t a viable way out.
Lifted Side: In a side impact with a heavy vehicle I would expect it to be more common for the opposite wheel pod to be crushed inward. A vehicle impacting the aptera could easily remain stuck under the Aptera with the belly pan pushing into the hood/windshield. This would leave the vehicle propped up at a 45-60 degree angle and the top door free to move; the bottom door could likely open enough to use the jaws to cut the hinge mechanism. This scenario is concerning for rescuers because it seems like the vehicle could correct and fall back to normal resting stance very easily from this position.
Over 90: A side impact could also cause the vehicle to roll ~110-120 degrees and rest on a crushed wheel pod, roof and tail. I suspect this would be the most common position the vehicle would roll into with a side impact assuming the impacting vehicle does not get trapped under it. In this scenario the upper door would provide easy access and the hatch could likely still open enough. This scenario is also dangerous because the vehicle could shift to full turtle as weight moves.
The rounded shapes makes Aptera very likely to be a danger the rescue teams since the vehicle could change positions as rescuers or occupants shift the weight and it is unstable in the “lifted side” or “over 90 positions” (unlike a car or suv which can rest on a side and be relatively stable). It seems plausible the vehicle could pose more danger to first responders that a traditional vehicle in an accident.
A related thing to consider is pedestrian safety in impacts; given EU rules this could be a big issue for them. If a person hit by an Apera were caught between the wheel pods and vehicle body it would not be pretty. The clearances seem enough that someone could be pinned far more easily than a traditional vehicle.
MemberMarch 23, 2022 at 9:54 am
Excellent and timely discussion as I was thinking just yesterday about post accident extraction with the doors opening up. An emergency hatch release on the inside could be useful. I was also thing about the Cessna 150 Aerobatic that had D-ring pins in the doors to jettison the door in the event it was necessary to exit (in flight with parachute). The single hinge on the Aptera door might be able to use something like that. Good discussion though!
MemberApril 3, 2022 at 12:38 pm
Just had an idea related to the doors as I was riding my bike, not in relation to a crash, but on sunny nice days would it be feasible to remove the doors and sit them in the garage, aka a three wheeled jeep? or some way to pop the huge none functioning windows off ( and the could pop off in case of some type of emergency) -not a big fan of the tiny side windows…
MemberApril 3, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Given there will be a manual to do things and the simplicity, yes I think you can do it. I think the drag coefficient will increase. You have to drive slowly I would think and I wonder if the stability of the vehicle is going to be impacted. If you remove the doors and boot it should be good so the air can flow and not circle inside the vehicle.
MemberApril 7, 2022 at 12:43 pm
I came across the “Tesla Crash Lab” video today : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KR2N_Q8ep8. I was curious if there was anything Aptera could learn from Tesla, in terms of their real world data collection of accidents. To better refine the types of crash tests Aptera hopes to validate before production.
I’m not even sure how accessible this raw data would be? But I wonder, if Tesla was asked, if they would work out some mutual sharing of this data, to make the world a safer place?
I believe Tesla is the necessary first phase for electrifying transportation. But as we progress in this sector, I’m hopeful that more companies would be interested in making transportation as efficient as possible. And hopefully Aptera will be a great example of what’s possible.
MemberApril 7, 2022 at 3:09 pm
Although I’m sure Tesla has loads of data about crash testing I don’t think most would apply to the Aperta. Besides the obvious bodies made of steel and the frame structure made of aluminum, about the only thing they would benefit from might be the forces applied on a body in a given crash scenario. (as shown in the above video)
Given that Apteria’s body is made of resin, carbon fiber, hemp and Kevlar the action/reaction is quite different. As stated by both Steve and Chris, their body flexes and rebounds when hit. If it had the best roof crush strength in the past and has since been improved I’d imagine they’re up there with Tecla’s 20,000 pound strength as well. The front has a crumple zone but has yet to show to what degree.
Given the high level of their engineers and their commitment to efficiency as well as safety, I believe the crash results should be impressive.
MemberApril 7, 2022 at 5:32 pm
Brand new statement about safety and crash tests in this interview from Aptera Owners Club with Chris Anthony after minute 23:50 here:
In a nutshell: contemporary approach to crash tests is doing Finite Element Model analysis that gets verified via crash tests, a refined and/or corrected FEM gets done and if necessary then again verified by more tests (which is actually how any serious FE analysis gets done since decades).
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Markus Schmid. Reason: adding missing half phrase
ModeratorJune 3, 2022 at 8:11 am
One technical point I have not seen discussed has been side-impact air bags, sometimes called air-bag curtains. The only mention I have seen so far about air bags has been a lap harness installation, similar to that used in small aircraft. Aircraft generally do not protect against side impact, so that would not seem to me to be the answer. Aptera’s passenger capsule is quite robust, not unlike certain race car configurations, but those race cars come with helmeted occupants. I’d like to be certain that head impact is not a problem in Aptera side-impact accidents. Discovering a problem in crash testing would be too late.
MemberJune 3, 2022 at 8:27 am
@John Trotter The purpose of crash testing is to determine if the mitigation strategies are functional and sufficient: If they need to be adjusted and/or improved a vehicle can be retested after the changes are made – so it’s not “too late”.
ModeratorJune 3, 2022 at 1:24 pm
I don’t believe any supplemental air bags have ever been promised – I wouldn’t expect anything but frontal ones.
MemberJune 8, 2022 at 9:12 am
Someone asked if side-impact air-bags might be retro-fitted.
I suspect, if the Aptera proves as popular as I hope, pressure will be put on Aptera for custom seats/trims. Seats are really key to the safety thing and, yes, you can incorporate side air bags into the seat structure. They will have as much to do about the Aptera’s safety in side-impacts as the air-bags.
I look forward to the day when two or three seat ‘options’ arrive including one, I’ll call the ‘cocoon’ which with its combination of belts, structure and strength of the seat, does the job almost as well as a seat designed specifically for racing (I.e. a full shoulder harness, superior head protection, etc.).
You could buy one of these and pay to have it installed but given the likelihood – or more properly the rarity of such collisions – extreme overkill I’d recommend you go with the ‘designed’ seat for the vehicle.
Different people have different fears and expectations. Me, well if you count the indiscretions of youth, I’ve probably stopped at 94 percent of all the stop signs I encountered and never was once T-boned, nor have I T-boned anyone.
Recalling a comment from Sandy Monro about side-impacts, he noted the ‘curvature’ of the body and suggested glancing blow even in a full-side impact. In terms of physics, this would suggest first that the rear of the Aptera will be the first design element to define the event as the vehicle will begin to lift and possibly roll over as it absorbs the impact.
If it doesn’t roll over, then the Aptera will come to rest headed toward the t-boning vehicle. If it rolls, it will ruin the finish and destroy some solar cells and possibly break some glass as it slides away from the point of impact.
I can’t imagine the Aptera emulating a ping-pong ball in this scenario although I do expect it to show greater ‘movement’ than a typical 2-ton vehicle in reaction. This additional movement is actually great as Aptera’s strong composite monocoque transfers more of the energy to movement than it does to crushing.
A greater concern regarding crashworthyness might be whether the doors will work after an accident … and whether the doors will work if the Aptera is topsy-turvy and how you could exit the vehicle if it were upside down?
Also, I’m curious if the mere strength of the Aptera cockpit might also require first responder training on use of the jaws of life – where to place it to whack open a wrecked Aptera to extricate a fellow Apterian.
MemberAugust 4, 2022 at 10:27 pm
I know it will never happen, since they will want to analyze the data and tell us how it is that the car got destroyed instead of the dummies who made it out unscathed. I for one would love to put on some popcorn and watch the crashes in real time even if we don’t get the results right away.
MemberAugust 5, 2022 at 12:49 am
I will be satisfied with seeing the results of the testing. I would like the testing done and the results soon!
MemberAugust 5, 2022 at 4:53 am
I remember seeing a video of them trying to destroy a first gen body shell, with a fork lift, that was done about 10 years ago. If the material now is similar, it is very tough.
They have mentioned that the new body shells parts may be made by more than one vendor to assure the numbers needed for full production can be assured. Currently we only have evidence that they have been able to produce about one shell per month on a proto type rate.
When they get to the point of making at least four Delta’s in a month, then crash testing can begin.
MemberAugust 5, 2022 at 8:05 am
Crash testing needs to be complete before retail sales and delivery begins so can’t wait until four Deltas are manufactured and tested or delivery will be delayed. Aptera will have a testing approach and schedule which will include all required testing. Aptera knows best how to conduct testing to complete it as expeditiously as possible.
We should wait until Aptera shares the testing plan. Let’s not speculate and start a rumor.
MemberAugust 6, 2022 at 11:55 pm
I am not so sure anyone should watch a test crash of the vehicle they drive in. Every such test looks ugly and will always be on our mind as we drive the vehicle.
MemberOctober 12, 2022 at 12:28 pm
Aptera is about 200 pounds lighter than a smart-for-two. Watching this Smart and Mercedes C-class headon video (below) has me thinking that we really want a side impact airbag for Aptera, because it will be pushed backward and thrown around in any direction in a real world crash.
MemberOctober 12, 2022 at 2:07 pm
The Aptera is not a Smart for two or a Mercedes C-class. Certainly not made out of the same materials.
My thinking, we wait until official crash testing to government standards is complete to determine what would happen to an Aptera in all of the testing scenarios. I believe it is premature to speculate without real world testing data How the Aptera would respond.
MemberNovember 23, 2022 at 11:41 pm
I am hoping that Aptera will “do the right thing” in the end, and build in side-impact airbags into the final design. If they don’t, then I’m sorry to say that I’ll probably cancel my reservation because of this. Side-impact airbags are really a standard safety feature on modern cars – not providing them will be a significant black mark against Aptera, IMHO. Just go look at any old IIHS test images for cars with just front airbags, and you will see how sickeningly often the dummy’s head impacts the side of the car. It just doesn’t make sense to buy a new car without this important safety feature, IMHO.
Another poster above wondered whether the Aptera would come off as badly as the small car in the linked IIHS video, given the much different construction of the Aptera. Well, there is maybe a precedent which sheds some light on this – the BMW i3, which also has a relatively light body, since it’s made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). I was looking into buying an i3 several years ago, so I tried to find any information about how they fared in crashes. It was hard to find many specifics, but anecdotal reports in i3 forums, etc., seemed to suggest that (1) the CFRP frame was extremely strong and protective, and (2) the i3 got pushed around a lot in crashes, due to the same laws of physics described in the IIHS video – the heavier car tends to “win”. This gives me pause with the even-lighter Aptera. I am confident that the carbon-fiber structure of its cabin will protect well against external intrusion and crushing, but I am very concerned about the likelihood of head impacts against the cabin wall during any crash that has a lateral component. I shall watch and wait with hope for any announcement from the company that they have decided to put airbags into the seat sides or (less likely?) the doors.
MemberJanuary 1, 2023 at 1:04 pm
From the NHTSA website (https://www.nhtsa.gov/importing-vehicle/importation-and-certification-faqs-0):
“NHTSA defines the term “motorcycle,” for the purpose of the statute and regulations it administers, as “a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with ground” (49 CFR 571.3).”
Hence, Aptera is a motorcycle. So what? Well, neither NHTSA, nor any other regulating body in the world, has crash testing standards for motorcycles. None. NHTSA will not issue a safety rating for Aptera because NHTSA does not have safety standards for motorcycles.
NHTSA does have regulations governing motorcycles. Things like lumens the headlight(s) must not exceed, warning stickers, how the VIN is created, etc.
My guess is that Aptera Co. will crash test the vehicle and publish the results to reduce anxiety of potential buyers. This is a good thing. But not the same as a safety rating from NHTSA.
MemberJanuary 1, 2023 at 1:18 pm
I believe you are right. Aptera will crash test to auto standards I think using an crash testing independent contractor. I believe they will submitt the results to the government for a review. For sure they will publish the results, goverment reviewed/approved or not and that they will show the vehicle is very safe based on bassing auto safety standards, a level above what is required for a motor cycle.
A note on classification. You quoted the federal definition for a motor cycle. Some states have classifed the aptera configuration as an autocycle with specific requirements for that category. Apteera’s design satisfies all state requirements for registration and licensing.
MemberMarch 18, 2023 at 8:52 pm
Is it going to be possible to switch off the passenger side airbag? It would be nice if, for example, dad could pick up junior after school/sports/whatever without running afoul of safety regulations.
MemberMarch 18, 2023 at 10:11 pm
MemberMarch 19, 2023 at 5:36 am
I too would like this feature. Many single row trucks have an airbag disable switch; where you use the physical key to turn the passenger airbag off
MemberMarch 30, 2023 at 5:14 pm
Will the launch edition meet all NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requirements?
MemberMarch 30, 2023 at 5:21 pm
Technically speaking no requirements exist since Aptera is a motorcycle; not a car
Aptera has said the vehicle will be crash tested & results will be published.
MemberMarch 30, 2023 at 6:50 pm
I found this. “Yes, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) requirements apply to motorcycles. The NHTSA regulates the safety of motor vehicles and related equipment<sup>1</sup>. The NHTSA has defined a motorcycle as a motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the rider designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground<sup>2</sup>.” Logically, autocycles would also be covered.
MemberMarch 30, 2023 at 7:37 pm
Doug, yes that is true. But the standards and requirements for a M/C are very different and less complex than for a car, and in that sense are not comparable. Aptera states however that it will test Aptera against regular automobile standards..