Regen options and drive modesPosted by Fran on March 30, 2022 at 7:32 am
Does anyone know what the gear selection mechanism is on the Aptera, and what choices there are? I expect choices of at least: Park, Forward, Neutral, and Reverse, but personally I would design it so there would also be few choices of degrees of regenerative braking (none, mild, medium, hard) without having to go to the main screen and select it on some non-permanent screen selection. On my Prius I can select neutral (no regen), forward (mild regen), reverse, and braking (medium regen for going down mountains). On my Honda Insight I can touch the brakes easily and get extra regen braking power (when in any forward gear) and even more regen with greater light pressure. If Aptera is to be a true efficiency vehicle it needs to have a choice of regen options (including neutral for coasting) at your fingertips (at least the neutral option) or on the brake pedal. I did see on the steering yoke of the beta mock-up a couple buttons, one with < > and the other with – +. I hope the – + button is for regen braking power and not volume control for music. Another good option for regen braking power control is to have the brake pedal (the pedal with – on it) programmed to be slight regen braking power when touched easily with increasing regen power when increasing pressure, until finally hard braking engages the mechanical brakes, but still having neutral (no regen) option with no brakes applied.
- This discussion was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Francis Giroux.
MemberMarch 30, 2022 at 8:36 am
Tesla only has two regen levels, low and standard. I came from the Volt to the Tesla, the Volt had regen paddles which Tesla doesn’t. I thought I’d miss the paddles but I don’t, Tesla has stronger regen and true one pedal driving which is better. Tesla also has three stopping modes, creep, roll and hold. I use hold, the other modes are there to mimic the behavior of an ICE car but I don’t think they are necessary. I really like one pedal driving, when you are coming to a stop you just lift your foot up and the car slows down. If you give it enough distance it can come to a complete stop without having to use the brake pedal. What one pedal driving doesn’t do is sudden stops, for that you need the friction brakes. Regen braking also doesn’t work if the battery is cold. In my Tesla I always precondition the car before leaving in the winter. They said they might not have that feature at launch but it’s critically important that they have it before winter 2023 because that’s when there will be Aptera owners in Northern states. I expect that all of the deliveries this year will be to Southern California where preheating the battery isn’t important.
One more thing that the Volt had that Tesla doesn’t, blended braking. Chevy did a good job with blended braking, I never noticed a transition between regen and friction braking. I’ve seen a lot of reviews of other cars where they say that it doesn’t feel quite right. Tesla decided that simplicity was more important so the brake pedal is strictly friction braking. It’s hard to get blended braking to work well so I think Tesla made the right decision. If you have good one pedal braking then you shouldn’t need to touch the brake pedal except when you really have to and in that case you need the friction brakes anyway.
I want them to follow Tesla’s lead, just a couple of regen levels with the standard level being strong regen. Concentrate on making one pedal driving work well and then keep things simple with the brake pedal, i.e. have it just do friction braking and make it so that you hardly ever need to use it.
MemberMarch 30, 2022 at 11:10 am
I think they should follow Chevy’s lead on integrating the breaks with with regen. I would recommend the PRNDL standard with “D” being minimal regen and “L” being the default setting for ‘average’ regen. Adding paddles (+/- controls) and the integration of the regen brake pedal and the friction brakes that work in both the “D” and “L” setting.
The advantage the Aptera has in this comes from the more robust regen capability of the Elaphe in-motor wheels largely because of the large diameter motor design, I understand, generates addition torque on acceleration and regen on deceleration. We should also be aware that the Elaphe wheels can actively even reverse direction (counter-acceleration) in real time.
In understanding the dynamics of this mechanical contraption, recognize the essential mass of the moving parts of the electrical power train. Basically, all rotational momentum is concentrated on two circular ‘rotors’ that are attached only to the wheel and tire.
The point is the rotational momentum all power in Aptera is structurally different than in any other EV or ICE vehicle and considering the ‘comparative lack of mass’ changing directions is mathematically different for Aptera in terms of the forces acting upon it. There has never been a vehicle with theoretically more innate manueverability in the history of modern wheeled vehicles.
The rotational momentum of the Aptera is limited to what 30kg for the spinning parts of the motor and wheel; a figure nearly equaled by the tires and wheels of the typical ICE or even EV. But on other vehicles, you’ve got to count every moving part from the engine’s flywheel to spinning internal reduction gears, driveshafts, motor rotors, etc. all of which conspire to keep you going in the same direction you were going.
When Aptera gets into the free world, free market, you’ll see someone develop a way – an app) to do a tank-turn U-ee at 50 mph … it will be a sight to see … and you probably will (in the movies). Yes, my prediction is that once Aptera gets rolling, it will increasingly be used in the movie business as a stunt-INSPIRING vehicle.
MemberMarch 30, 2022 at 8:37 am
At present it’s a stalk on the steering column, most likely analogous to the one found on the Model 3. As it’s simply a switch I hope it will end-up on-screen, like the Model S.
MemberMarch 30, 2022 at 12:07 pm
kerbe2705, thank you for a partial answer to my question. A stalk on the steering column. Right or left side? What selections are available? Most importantly is neutral/coasting without braking available?
Joshua, I know a few parts from Tesla are in the Alphas but I hope Aptera doesn’t follow the inefficient engineering of Tesla. So far Aptera has avoided wasteful drive trains and gears, radiators and big mirrors. But I hope they realize the energy wasting tech of “one pedal driving.” Sure it is better than accelerating and cruising with power and using mechanical brakes for slowing down and stopping.
But accelerating, cruising, and regen braking is only 75-90% efficient in converting battery potential energy into kenetic energy and back (each way), and as low at 56% efficient if you count both directions (battery to road speed and back to battery). Yeah cruising could be as good as 90% efficient. But coasting to a stop or at least coasting from cruise speed down to 20-30 mph approaching a turn or stop, can be 98% efficient at converting Kinetic energy into distance traveled (only wind resistance and rolling resistance are in play). If you are using regen “coasting” to capture that energy and put it back into the battery. You are down to that 75% efficiency.
If we don’t have a zero energy use or capture coasting ability, we are wasting energy. The most efficient part of a drive for most drivers is cruise (could be as high as 90% at the 30 mph). However the most efficient part of a drive for an efficient driver with the right equipment is the coasting (slow deceleration without brake or regen) and could be as high as 98%. If acceleration has the same efficiency as cruising (90% max) then the most efficient driving technique is acceleration and coasting (called pulse and glide by hypermilers).
And with an Aptera with excellent aerodynamics that barely slows you down while coasting, it is even more effective. Instead of cruising at 65mph on the Interstate, try accelerating to 70 mph and then coasting down to 60 mph before accelerating again, and especially try coasting to exits and sharp turns instead of using braking of any kind, and see how much better your efficiency gets. This is how I achieved 100 mpg on a Saturn SL1 and a Geo Metro. With the Aptera I expect to achieve 400 mile range with my 25 kwh battery and full solar.
Give Aptera the ability to coast with zero energy input or regen.
MemberMarch 30, 2022 at 1:45 pm
How to shift the Aptera.
I found it. In Chris’s video with Kirsten Dirksen
at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69_iKArvJBk&t=854s at 1:04 into the video Chris shows the “shifting” prindle with Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive as choices. But that was an Alpha with Tesla parts so whether that translates into the final version or not is still unknown. I also remember than there will be numerous setting for how aggressive the regen braking can be set, but that was done on the main screen. And I don’t know if that setting can be changed on the fly like I want it for greatest efficiency. Chris did say that the +- button can control “everything you can control on the center screen.” Sounds good as long as I can control the regen braking amount on the fly.
MemberSeptember 12, 2022 at 10:15 am
I did not find any gear selector mechanism on the steering column nor on the console.
But the screen has the letters P-R-N-D prominently in its upper left corner.
Is this how we select gears? By touch screen? It looks so to me.
(Does anyone have a good picture of this?
MemberSeptember 12, 2022 at 2:19 pm
Yes. The stalk on the left controls lights and turn signals. No right hand stalk.
MemberSeptember 21, 2022 at 3:54 am
That was my question, also. I would also like to know the locking method for the wheels when the vehicle is in “park” since there is no gear train to be locked.
MemberSeptember 21, 2022 at 10:33 am
I still want a physical PRNDL and the ability for it to shift into neutral even with a dead battery. Maybe a physical parking brake release would be nice as well.
As for Regen: Give me a meter that shows Regen range of the brake pedal and show where physical brakes take over. That way I can hypermill my braking.
MemberSeptember 21, 2022 at 11:11 am
Trevor…my understanding is that we will never have a neutral setting on the APTERA due to the inwheel motors. I love putting my i3 into neutral when I can gobble up what in my mind is free cruising. Then I put it in drive and try and stop (with out using brakes) at my designated point. Just a bit of a game I play…fyi regenerative braking level changes deceleration depending on how full your battery is. A fuller battery lengthens your stopping distance.
If they can somehow invent a neutral setting it would definitely make it easier for towing and or moving your vehicle if it ever runs out of electrons.
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 7:10 am
I only saw one lever on the gamma yoke, which I assume is for controlling the wipers and turn signal. Is there a second smaller one on the other side for shifting between park, drive, and reverse?
Please tell me you aren’t planning to have shifting controlled by the touch screen. That is one control that absolutely must be physical and have unambiguous states.
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 7:16 am
Not seen Clint Eastwood in “Firefox”. I am expecting thought control.
Joking aside. Would have thought a proper physical switch was a safe sensible way forward. Bad enough passengers gripping hand holds when scared, let alone changing the gear as I drive
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 7:29 am
Putting the shifter on the touchscreen is no worse then having a floor shifter. Controls that you use when in motion should be on the wheel but controls that you only use when stationary can be anywhere. Unless you are driving a manual transmission ICE car you don’t touch the shifter except when parking and unparking, this is especially true of an EV which has at most one reduction gear, the Aptera won’t even have that. Almost every ICE car I’ve ever owned had a floor shifter including the Chevy Volt. They put the gear shifter on the floor because it looks manly i.e. real men use stick shifts. All of these cars were automatics so the floor shifter was just a waste of space however it wasn’t a hazard because you don’t touch it when driving. I didn’t realize how stupid that floor shifter was until I got a Model 3 which has a column shifter which freed up the space that was normally wasted in an ICE car. I now realize that the shift stalk is actually unnecessary also because you never touch it while driving.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Joshua Rosen.
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 8:00 am
Except I don’t have to LOOK at the shifter as I go through the gears unlike having to go to a screen, find the icon for the gearing menu, and select the gear. My Prius had a simple knob on the dash: move it left to N, left and up for D, left and down for R, and right and down for low braking (never used it). Park was a button directly above it though just turning off the power would automatically put the Prius in park. Didn’t have to look at it, either.
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 2:39 pm
From Fully Charge Live videos, looked as though “gear” selection is default upper left on the screen, probably* located there no matter what other menu you are in. Hopefully in the near future Aptera will invite some Youtube channels for in depth showcases and test drives.
*I say probably, because I don’t have an in with Aptera nor was I able to attend FC Live and those fortunate enough to go weren’t allowed to touch nuffin. Now where is that pouty face emoji.
MemberSeptember 22, 2022 at 11:42 am
No gear shift stalk? Oh FFS.
I can overlook the blatant Tesla copying when Aptera is stealing decent design ideas from Tesla. But moving the shifting to the screen (like Tesla has done in the S/X) is an awful idea. All for what… to save a few dollars on a right-side stalk? Gimme a freaking break.
As for other comments about wanting a “neutral” gear, you can shift to “neutral” in a Model 3/Y by pushing the right stalk up halfway and holding it for 1-2 seconds, but I think only <1% of drivers actually use this on a regular basis. (I’m among the 1%.) And it doesn’t actual “shift” any physical “gears”. It just cuts power to the motors. So this may be possible with the Elaphe in-wheel motors, but idk enough about the motor type and how they’re controlled to know if it’s doable.
MemberSeptember 24, 2022 at 2:51 pm
Yes, Chris said the gear shift will be on screen and that they only left a few critical things (ie. Mandatory items) for switches such as door operation, hazard lights, etc. He said they are counting user feedback to iterate on over air updates vs. being locked into design flubs at startup. I took this to mean he anticipates suboptimal design without driver feedback studies and the more he puts on the UI, then he has the degrees of freedom to fix things on the go. And, I am sure this is much cheaper too.
MemberSeptember 24, 2022 at 5:19 pm
Jeffrey May – “…So this may be possible with the Elaphe in-wheel motors, but idk enough about the motor type and how they’re controlled to know if it’s doable.”
I wonder too.
I wish someone with electric motor knowledge would chime in with an opinion or nugget of wisdom of such matters.
Just with my limited street smarts, I understand that an electric motor will spin when supplied with electric current and will generate electric current when spun. I understand that there is some resistant magnetic field force while being spun which produces the regenerative braking.
I don’t understand how the regenerative braking is increased beyond the nominal amount from just “coasting” an electric motor. Also, what happens if you coast with a fully charged battery? Does it still create the resistant force and the electricity generated is shunted off somewhere, or would the motor coast freely with no resistance other than tire friction on the road surface?
Just one of the many things that make me go, hmmm?
- This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Kevin Bradbury.
MemberSeptember 25, 2022 at 12:17 pm
Two other vehicles also use Elaphe wheel motors and they both have free wheeling capability. One is a pickup and the other is the Lightyear Zero. When the lightyear zero was shown of to some of their reservation holders, they were astounded at how good the Zero coasted with no drag/regen/braking. Its on video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxUM16tskXk
MemberSeptember 25, 2022 at 1:23 pm
Looking at this, surely APTERA must need to offer. Neutral is another gear I don’t want to loose in my driving experience.
MemberOctober 21, 2022 at 7:26 pm
Hello, I was wondering what is the transmission that the aptera will be using?
ModeratorOctober 21, 2022 at 8:24 pm
No transmission exists in the Aptera. So it has no mechanical clutch either. The motors are inside the wheels and directly coupled to the wheels. When the motor makes one revolution, the wheel and tire make one revolution. Nothing could be simpler or have lower drag. This is one the sources of their extreme efficiency: No gear friction! Control is achieved by electronic circuits of the motor controller precisely activating the multiple electromagnets of the motor around the rim in the proper order and timing to control direction, torque and speed. “Neutral” is acheived by opening (disconnecting) the wires of the electromagnets.
MemberOctober 21, 2022 at 8:51 pm
As Harry said, Aptera will have direct drive hub motors – not only does it not have a transmission, it doesn’t even really have axles. However, since the motors are of the permanent magnet variety, “Neutral” will probably not be as simple as disconnecting the power.
Some more “old fashioned” EVs have push to start, but I wouldn’t expect it in Aptera since they’ve been pretty minimalist with physical controls so far. “Starting” the car will probably just involve unlocking it and putting it in drive (which since it doesn’t have a transmission is just software releasing the parking brake and telling the motors it’s okay to move forwards). I don’t know if this has been officially confirmed though.
MemberOctober 21, 2022 at 9:35 pm
In general EVs do not need to be started. The concept of starting is related to internal combustion engines which use an electric motor (starter) to turn the engine over (force compression in the cylinders and sparks from the plugs until the firing of the engine has enough momentum to continue. Thus, the more accurate term ignition.
All electric vehicles need is activation. It could be manual like flipping on a light switch, but it is generally electronic.
Like others have said, no transmission, nothing burning, no ignition, just direct electric drive by an electrical circuit.
MemberOctober 21, 2022 at 9:43 pm
I guess my next question is would be easy for someone like me to operate who has never drove a manual before? Is this still worth getting?
MemberOctober 21, 2022 at 10:31 pm
You’ll find it easier to drive than any car that has a transmission or a selection lever. Instead of shifting from park or neutral to reverse or drive, you’ll tap a letter on the touch screen (P, R, N, or D). If it’s R or D, press the accelerator pedal to go and the brake pedal to stop. Simple enough?
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 4:32 am
I was thinking that it would be nice to have different driving modes for the all wheel drive vehicles. Sports mode for all wheel drive, all wheel regeneration. Economy mode where only the front wheels drive, but all wheels regenerate. Then super economy mode where only the rear wheel drives, and all three wheels regenerate. What are your thoughts about could this be done? Would it make an impact on the range? Would it possibly cause problems with the drive systems? If it would work, how many people would be interested in these different modes?
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 4:39 am
I’m not sure that turning off drive on particular wheels would help without adding a clutch. I.e., I think you experience the friction of the motor whether it is being driven or not?
If there was a clutch, then you could free-wheel on those particular wheels, but adding a clutch is costly and adds to the unsprung weight.
I am absolutely not an expert on electric motors though. If someone could confirm / refute my assumption that the friction of the motor is the main reason why there is an efficiency hit from the 3rd driven wheel, that would be great.
ModeratorDecember 7, 2022 at 5:54 am
I guess the only two upcoming EV to use in wheel Elaphe motors are Lordstown and Lightyear 0.
I can only speak from my ownership with a KIA EV6 Gt- line
It has three levels of regen and even the strongest level…a one pedal option, which I love! My wife uses the level 3 just below that setting.
So “for us” it’s all about the power put back to the battery ( range ) and brake life as you don’t have to apply your brakes “at times” or fully on this ~4300# vehicle.
We didn’t go for the EV6’s AWD, a ~300# motor addition and all of that “ drive “ reducing the range ( best case ) 310 to 274 miles)
And with 0-60mph in *7.2 ( FWD ) vs 5.1 ( AWD) sec. another no brainer. ( They are now offering a lower range “GT” , but delivering ~3.5 sec!)
So *faster than any ICE we owned in over fifty years
We “keep her” in Eco, never found a need to click to Normal or Sport other than to “ try” and watch the visual engaging(?) dash color change.
Again “ All about the range “ . We don’t need more weight and hardware.
If you haven’t driven an EV… They have amazing instant torque!
On our two miles of primitive roads… “gunning it” would just spin the wheels. Instead we are getting instant power, which is smooth “ with our vehicle’s weight distribution.
If you haven’t owned a fast vehicle… your tires wear faster!
Applying this to my Aptera Reservations:
40 kWh FWD Full solar ( we live in the amazing sunny SW )
60kWh AWD Full Solar ( for future cross country treks with unknown weather and changing solar) But if the 1st FWD proves to be adequate… I would change the 2nd to FWD. I never had AWD with three “in wheel motors” and torque vectoring… That could be interesting!
We all have our personal present and future needs to factor in.
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 6:59 am
the design of the inwheel motors does not allow for turning them off and on. This has been discussed in other threads on the forum so it is not possible to do what you propose. Additionally, I think the added time and expense to implement this capability resulting in a higher price and delay in delivery for the limited market that would be interested in this capability would not be justified.
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 8:13 am
Computer controlled power switching relays might work but that would also introduce failure points.
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 11:52 am
Relays disconnecting the motor would likely not be a good idea. An un-powered spinning permanent magnet motor is still a generator and would be producing significant voltage at the terminals. This could cause arcing, particularly when the relays are closed to engage the motor – never a good thing in electronics.
One way to “disengage” one or more motors would be to drive them to zero or a very low torque value. It still takes power to drive an electric motor with no load (primarily driven by Io) so this would not be a no-loss operation. Still, it may be more efficient in cruising to do this than to split the load evenly between motors. Most electric motors that I know have a peak efficiency at about 30% of their maximum load. Cruising about 60MPH would seem to require about 6KW (100 WH/Mi * 60MPH). Putting that 6KW load on one motor plus a parasitic load on the other two may be more efficient than putting a 2KW load on all three motors. Plenty of speculation here based on years of hobby experience.
MemberDecember 7, 2022 at 8:11 am
With the right to repair, if you can find out how to do so, your Aptera can do so. The right to repair or modify as we see fit is part of the companies promise. My advice would be to accept what the smart engineers from the company have given you. The type of modifications of which you speak are more complex than most. The torque vectoring would be rendered useless, and safety might be lessened as a result. Not sure getting more regen will change much in way of range for the battery pack. It might be an experiment for you, but I would worry about that modification, and would not preform that on my Aptera.