Front Wheel Drive vs All Wheel Drive

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Front Wheel Drive vs All Wheel Drive

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Front Wheel Drive vs All Wheel Drive

  • Front Wheel Drive vs All Wheel Drive

  • Benjamin Powell

    August 18, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    I’m used to thinking about all an AWD vehicle being more stable on snow/ice. Would a 3-wheeled, AWD vehicle be similar? I’d like to take my Aptera to the local ski hill (Colorado). I’ve read that the AWD version is faster but I don’t really care about that. I’d love to save a little and not spend for this particular upgrade but wondering if I’d regret it on snowy drives. I understand that Aptera is working with other countries to create something that is good for cold weather but one has to wonder how much innate winter knowledge comes from a manufacturer in San Diego. (No offense, I like beaches too.)

  • Riley ________________________________

    August 18, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Aptera will definitely handle better with all wheel drive on most icy conditions. Depending on how deep of snow you would also need the offroad package to give it the higher ground clearance/ stronger wheel covers. I’ve never driven a 3 wheel car befor and am concerned about the centered rear wheel not having much traction as it plows its own train in the center of the lane.

    • Julio ZEPEDA

      September 27, 2021 at 1:57 am

      I wonder if apetera will pass the “Moose Test”

      • George Hughes

        September 27, 2021 at 9:11 am

        If you know Aptera’s history, you know that was an issue with the early version in 2008 … and was one of the problems with the model from that era that sits in Jay Leno’s garage.

        Between torque vectoring of all three wheels and the magic Rousch Engineering brings to the party, I’d consider the moose test as good as passed.


        Because failure in that maneuver, while it is not uncommon in four-wheeled vehicles, will kill a three-wheeler that can’ pass it. They know and they’ve know since the moose test cost Aptera its chance way back then (some bureaucrat used its failure in this test to deny a needed energy efficiency development grant to the first iteration because of it.); incorporating the ability to pass the moose test was part of the basic design criteria.

        Hell, we know that almost every automotive journalist first, has access to video of the failure of the old 2008 prototype that failed. I suspect that out of the entire field of auto journalists, at least a few enjoy very close ties to the existing automotive industry. Indeed, someone could have an EV making company as a special friend and still take glee in wrecking that ‘three-wheeler’ that is making moves toward the mainstream.

        The point is, given Aptera’s history, designing the new version to beat that rap – win that test with bells and whistles – had to be a listed priority early in the process. For instance, I suspect the wide-track at the front axle may be due to more than just aerodynamics. And then why would you bring Rousch, which is known for its expertise in road racing, into the mix if you didn’t plan to ‘ace’ the moose test.

        • kerbe2705

          September 27, 2021 at 11:47 am

          If you view the X-prize video you’ll see that Aptera didn’t “fail the moose test”: What happened was that someone in the vehicle banged a knee against the release button and the door flew open – causing the driver to swerve, awkwardly, in reaction.

  • Michael May

    August 18, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    My understanding is yes, AWD for a 3-wheeler will be better on snow/ice. Which is the reason I’m going with it. Took me a half-dozen tries last winter in my Prius getting up the hill on the unpaved snowy road that my fiancée lives at the end of. Also plan on using this to get to hiking trailheads; often those are at the end of really terrible roads.

    • kerbe2705

      September 27, 2021 at 11:49 am

      At only $2500, AWD is probably less expensive than replacing your fiancée…

      • Curtis Cibinel

        October 1, 2021 at 4:58 pm

        Between handling (safety) and making it into an inexpensive ~3.5 second sports car that out performs a jaguar F type as well as basically every other gas sport car under $200k, I cant imagine many not taking this $2500 option for all wheel drive. I feel Aptera is missing a potential marketing angle. Sports cars are a market that want to get noticed so the unique look of the aptera is a plus and being a 2 seater is completely normal.

  • Randy J

    August 19, 2021 at 4:24 am

    3 wheel drive should have better control. I too am wondering about that mound of snow that can build up in the centre of the lanes of rarely plowed side streets and country roads.

    I like the low ride look of the Aptera, the off road option not as much. It may end up being my 8 month car and I’ll keep my ICE as a winter beater like I used to do with my Mustang convertible.


  • Joshua Rosen

    August 19, 2021 at 7:25 am

    On the highway will it be able to operate with the rear motor only? FWD is subject to torque steer, RWD has better handling characteristics. You don’t need a lot of power when cruising on a highway, the Aptera in particular shouldn’t need much because of it’s low CD. Using the rear motor only when you don’t need lightning acceleration or to get our of a snow back should give you better handling and potentially better energy efficiency.

    • Peter Jorgensen

      August 19, 2021 at 9:10 am

      No torque steer. In-wheel motors means no drive shafts. Torque steer comes from unequal length driveshafts. Also, you can’t just “turn off” an electric motor, although you can reduce it’s impedance or something like that to minimize drag. Not sure exactly how that’s done or works.

      • Joshua Rosen

        August 19, 2021 at 9:29 am

        You can turn off an electric motor depending on it’s type, permanent magnet vs induction. Tesla does it.

      • Michael May

        August 19, 2021 at 10:01 am

        Aptera does have torque control. From the FAQ:

        How does Aptera handle in the snow and cold weather?

        With all-wheel-drive and vectorized torque control, Aptera handles beautifully in the snow and ice. We are designing specifically for a lot of the cold countries that love electric vehicles. The Aptera will have a full climate control system capable down to -20 and up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. With our sandwich core composites body offering great insulation and a nice heater, it’s very comfortable to drive in the winter.

  • Fanfare 100

    August 19, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Why didn’t Aptera come up with a one wheel drive option for the rear? Acceleration would likely have been less than 10 seconds anyways, and likely better mileage too. Just me thinking. Any ideas?

    • John Malcom

      August 19, 2021 at 11:15 am

      The obvious answer I would imagine is lack of stability with no torque vectored steering from the front wheels. I would not drive such a vehicle nor would such a vehicle pass safety testing

    • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

      August 20, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      when braking weight transfers to front of car giving front tires most of the grip vs rear tires, so rolling resistance is needed most at front so motors and their regen braking is there. it may still pay back to have rear wheel drive only assuming driver brakes slowly enough almost all the time, so front brake caliper is bigger for in case braking needs to happen quicker.

    • Raj Giandeep

      September 27, 2021 at 8:13 am

      I’ve had this thought too. Say you’re driving on a long highway, you can choose to disable the motors on the screen so it just runs 1 motor (rear) or 2 front motors. To help get more miles out of the trip. when you need AWD you can enable it during weather suited for it.

    • Carl Knapp Knapp

      October 1, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      I am not sure why it would not work. It works very well on the Polaris Slingshot that has a 20 inch rear tire drive. I would be concerned about regen braking.

    • Ray Holan

      October 3, 2021 at 6:25 am

      I can contribute my past experience with an electric three-wheeled vehicle I owned in early 2000’s. It was the Gizmo EV. Used Trojan lead-acid batteries and had an electric motor driving the single rear wheel. The major drawback of the single-wheel drive was losing traction in slippery conditions. In the dry, everything was fine, but with a bit of rain or light snow it was disconcerting to drive — I was always on high alert in those conditions. Couldn’t punch the accelerator if an emergency required it. Company still has a website. Not sure if they’re still producing these EV’s.

  • G N

    August 20, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    I’m pretty concerned about winter highway driving on 3 wheels. Seems like a high probability of fishtailing in the inevitable mound of slush (or black ice), even with torque vectoring. But who knows, maybe torque vectoring is more effective than I expect??

    The only 3-wheelers I see around here are weekend/3-season toys like Can Ams and Slingshots, whereas I’d want an Aptera specifically as a commuter. I suppose I could just work from home on those days….

    • George Hughes

      August 21, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      I wouldn’t be thinking the worst for winter driving.

      For those in markets where snow fall is a likely issue – basically north of the Mason-Dixon line – snowy roads are often graded, eliminating the excess accumulation of snow and ice in the center of the lane.

      In more southern climes, when it snows there is no grading and the roads typically have two quasi-snow free tire lanes with the accumulation of snow in the center of the roadway.

      In the two-wheel drive Aptera, the rear wheel in this instance is in a space where the surface is covered with the original accumulation plus what ever re-frozen slush has been deposited there from the other wheel paths.

      Because mush of the accumulation has been either packed down or removed, the two front wheels will face lower rolling resistance than the single rear wheel which must plow through the center accumulation.

      That rolling drag is situated in the center of rear of the Aptera and acts like an anchor you drag. The vectors in the two-wheel and all wheel configurations obviously would default to this ‘stable’ center-rear dynamic.

      Fishtailing in this context is actually more likely in a four-wheeled rear-drive car because the essence of fishtailing is the desire of the rear wheels to overtake the fronts which is more likely if the rolling resistance of the rear-wheels is less than that of the the fronts.

      You might experience a little fish-tailing in the Aptera when turning out of the well-worn paths in the snow while making a lane change or left/right turn. This would occur when the front wheels engage the mounds in the center of the road and the rear is in the ice of the path. It is then that stability control and torque vectoring may be employed to keep the Aptera stable.

      In any case, the Aptera ought to be more stable than a four-wheeled car with rear drive and with stability control and torque vectoring, it ought to out perform a typical FWD four-wheeled car.

      The Aptera’s range will take a bigger hit in the snow, though, as the rear wheel’s rolling resistance when driving on the center of the lane accumulation, is simply higher, adding greater drag to the equation. It may also ride a little rougher, depending on the consistency of the slush.

      Also, if you want to keep physics for your friend, you should drive slower because, regardless of the vehicle, slick roads are slick meaning that you should always take extra care when driving in ice and snow.

      That said, I would be less concered about driving an Aptera in snow or ice than I would any rear-drive car or pickup ever made.

      • kerbe2705

        September 27, 2021 at 11:55 am

        I’ll never forget driving through my first Mississippi snow storm – and seeing a MDOT pickup truck with two workers standing in the bed, broadcasting sand with shovels as it drove down the interstate… There are no plows here so the melting slush refreezes as the temps drop after sunset.

  • Philip Raymond

    October 1, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Northern states do a much better job in general of plowing snow and using road salt for icy roads, because they need to. There are no thaws to look forward to in a few days to melt it. As such, the rear wheel of the Aptera should not encounter any more snow than the front wheels on main roads. The side streets that are more narrow with people parked on both sides are the last to get plowed, so that might be the only possible problem if neither a plow or other cars have traveled down it. Usually, that’s only a problem for the first 6 hours after a major (over a foot) snow storm. Good driving in the snow skills help too, which only comes with experience.

  • Brian LeBlanc

    October 23, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Living in Canada, and knowing that the ratio of 65-35 is the weight set up for the Aptera, I don’t expect an issue with fwd vs awd. I also have an 84 Trihawk and it is FWD and corners like a Lamborghini. Some one mentioned having just the rear wheel being powered, (similar to a slingshot). I feel I can out corner a sling shot in my Trihawk any day better set up with the weight distribution.

    • Paul Schultz

      October 24, 2021 at 6:21 am

      Had to look up the Trihawk. Very interesting. I bet that is a fun driving experience!

      • Brian LeBlanc

        October 24, 2021 at 6:19 pm

        Yes it is, although it has an air cooled Citroen engine 1299 cc with only about 68 hp. They were looking at Subaru engines at the time, but Subaru did not have an interest in supplying engines. Too bad they didn’t use a VW type 1 then I would have more options to increase HP.

Viewing 1 - 9 of 9 replies

or to reply.

Original Post
0 of 0 posts June 2018