- MemberSeptember 24, 2021 at 6:24 pm
So I have a geographical location question. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska where we have daylight almost 24 hours a day in the summer and it can get to 90 degrees. But the Spring and Fall have less daylight and the temps can range from 10 above to 60 degrees.
Has there or will there be any research on how the vehicle would do in a colder climate?
Obviously it would not be driven in the winter which can range from 10 below down to 50 below here in Fairbanks, and a lot of snow.
Is reserving a vehicle practical for my area or will it be a financial mistake?
- ModeratorSeptember 24, 2021 at 6:50 pm
There website solar calculator will give you some insight for your solar zone
They haven’t announced their final battery choice but the FAQ on their website stated -20 F to +125 F
- MemberSeptember 24, 2021 at 7:23 pm
I’m not counting on any solar energy and I don’t think it matters. The car is supposed to use 100Wh per mile. Take a look at your electrical bill and divide the KWh cost by 9 to get the cost per mile (use 9 instead of 10 to account for charging loses). I’m paying 25 cents per KWh so I would expect to pay less than 3 cents per mile, that’s nothing. If the solar charging is important to you then find the solar energy that you get. When they say 40 miles a day they are talking about California which gets around 6 KW per square meter. I live in MA which only gets 3 KW per sq meter which is why I don’t think it will help me. Your 24 day in summer makes it harder to compare but it’s an interesting calculation to make. What you know for sure is that you won’t get any solar energy in the winter.
As for how it performs in the winter I’m taking a wait and see attitude. I have no intention of getting rid of my Tesla after I get an Aptera. I’ll want to go through one winter before making the decision as to whether it’s an all season car or just a summer car. You should make the same assumption, it will work fine in the summer how it handles snow and extreme cold is an open question that only time will answer.
- MemberSeptember 24, 2021 at 9:09 pm
I don’t understand why it would be obvious that you wouldn’t drive an Aptera in winter: EVs don’t stop working in extreme cold – it’s just that the electrochemical processes in their batteries slow down and they’re not able to store as much power when charging if they’re not warmed to an appropriate temperature. It’s really no different than having to use an engine block heater on an ICE vehicle.
Remember that – at this moment in time – Aptera has created 3 working prototype vehicles: Physical models of a vehicle that had only been a design in a computer up until a year ago. They are currently working on a refined version of the design for the next level of prototyping – and there are two more levels of prototype to go after that! We won’t see any serious testing until the design has matured to the point of manufacturability – otherwise the testing would be pointless.
Your $100 deposit (or $70 if you use someone’s referral code) really only reserves you a spot on line to actually make a reservation when production begins: You’re not making a purchase. Depending upon myriad considerations and variables, your deposit number means that you’ll most likely be able to buy your Aptera before those individuals you place a deposit at a later date than you. If you change your mind the deposit is fully refundable. If you decide to stick with it your deposit will be deducted from the cost of the vehicle.
- MemberSeptember 25, 2021 at 7:49 am
It’s the three wheels that I’m worrying about, not the battery. How will the car handle in a snow storm. Nobody can answer that yet. It might be fine but until there is some real world experience the safe assumption is that it’s a summer car. As I said in my previous response my plan is to take one through a winter before deciding if it can be an only car. People do have EVs in Alaska so in theory it should be able to handle the cold as long as they design the battery heater to be able to handle 50F below.
- MemberOctober 19, 2021 at 2:12 pm
I am also wondering how winter will treat the vehicle. I kick my car to have the ice built up in the hubs drop off. Will the tire covers get clogged with snow and Ice?
- MemberNovember 11, 2021 at 6:01 pm
I understand you hesitation but consider that snowmobiles, the kind with two steering skis and a central power output in the form of a third wheel with belt drive, were specifically designed for cold, winter weather. By having all wheel drive instead of a single drive, the Aptera should perform as well as a snow mobile.
Comparing Aptera to cars: It will all depend on how well they execute the torque-vectoring, the Aptera may be on par with an AWD SUV, or, much, much better especially on slippery surfaces if they do it right. I really don’t think everyday folks are aware of capabilities of torque-vectoring to maintain stability in a vehicle.
I suspect the beta version(s) of Aptera will have extensive testing on locations like skid pads and test tracks to tune the elements in the in-wheel motors that can be tuned. Initially they’ll come up with sport, eco and normal but they may also have special settings for ice and snow, or even X-cross and drag.
- MemberSeptember 24, 2021 at 9:25 pm
As Ken Bolinsky pointed out, there are a lot of development iterations before a production vehicle is delivered. Specs and the results of testing will be announced for production vehicles. That would be the time to examine the performance envelope to determine suitability for your particular circumstances. Reserving now saves you a place in line should you decide to purchase. If you decided not to purchase you get your money back. Sounds like a no trainer to me.
- MemberSeptember 25, 2021 at 3:32 am
I live in Finland and I was thinking of getting the full solar package so that I won’t have to scrape the long rear window clean of ice and snow every time I leave from work – any other benefit the solar panels provide will be an additional bonus. I see EVs all the time driving around here.
- MemberSeptember 25, 2021 at 5:00 am
I live in Sweden. We get about 2000 h of sunlight each year, but only about 200 of those hours are during the winter. I typically drive about 10000 miles/year, and the solar calculator has me charging just a couple of times a years with full solar. It probably doesn’t take into account the uneven distribution of sunlight though. I will probably get more than I need during the summer and will need to plug in a couple of time a month in the winter.
I plan to get the full solar to make the most out of the sun we get. I also plan to get the 400 mile version to be able to store an extra week or two of range, even though I would probably get along just fine with the 250 mile version. I hope I can transfer any excess energy produced with full solar in summer to my wife’s regular EV using the built in AC-outlet and our granny cable.
- MemberSeptember 25, 2021 at 7:40 am
You’ll be fine. Iceland and Norway are selling mostly EVs now and they drive year round and it’s really cold.
Worst case you spend $100 on a reservation and cancel it if you don’t like the snow driving reviews.
- MemberSeptember 25, 2021 at 10:02 am
All great responses, Thanks! I do agree with not counting on too much solar power, especially in the Spring and Fall but the long battery range is impressive. Summer would be excellent for solar though.
I have “pre-reserved” an all wheel drive and either 400 or 600 KWh vehicle. This will be a late Spring thru late Fall (September lol) vehicle. I live up a 11% grade driveway and snow and that incline would be hellacious on a 3 wheel vehicle. AWD is beneficial even in Summer as all our roads are gravel, including the driveway. I have a 1924 Ford Model T and the driveway can be scary for that one.
Looking forward to production, and eventual delivery. This is exciting to have such a remarkable vehicle concept!
- ModeratorNovember 11, 2021 at 4:51 am
Welcome, Elisabeth. Let me add my voice to the others who have recommended that you make the $100 investment in a reservation spot. You have plenty of time to note the experience of early Apterae in cold climates. What a hoot it would be if you get a 2024 Aptera in your 11% grade driveway to span the 100 years between it and your model T!
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 5:49 am
While I realise the initial market is going to be in the south, particularly California, I’m in the north ( cottage country Ontario) and we get lots of winter.
I’ll itemise some of my concerns.
1. How is the car going to be heated? As well, that’s a big front window, is there adequate heated air available to keep it clear?
2. Is the rim for the tires a standard size? Will I be able to put a proper winter tire on? How do I change the rear tire and are the wheel covers easy to remove? How do I lift the rear of the car to get that tire off? Of the pictures I’ve seen so far of the Aptera the tires that are on the vehicle would not be adequate for my area.
3. Up here in the winter we get lots of slush and ice, sand and salt, on the roads. What happens is that this mixture accumulates in the wheel wells, so much so that blocks of dirty ice form to such an extent that it will rub against the tires and we have to kick it off. This dirty ice when really frozen is like concrete. With the current design of the Aptera that slushy ice is going to accumulate inside the wheel coverings and once frozen lock of the wheels. This isn’t about the motors freezing but an accumulation of ice between the wheel covers and the tires. I would much prefer to see a motorcycle type fender with an optional panel that can be easily removed or added on the outside when the weather is good.
As an aside, aesthetically I don’t like the current design of the front wheel covers. They don’t reflect the shape of the car.
It needs to be understood that the great aerodynamics of the vehicle that has been focused on is going to be compromised here in the winter with snow and ice accumulation on the body and suspension.
I’m certainly hoping to purchase an Aptera. It makes a great deal of sense to me, even up here in the great white north.
- ModeratorOctober 2, 2021 at 6:15 am
Hello, Peter. I appreciate your concerns. I am in Cleveland, Ohio and we get our fair share of snow and slush in the winter. I have seen a reference to the current size of the wheels and tires being the same as a Fiat 500. That would put them in the category of “standard” size wheel and tire although on our side of the Canadian border we see many more 19″-20″ wheels and tires. Of course, I assume nothing is finalized yet including what tire and wheel size will be used.
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 7:58 am
Yup, mostly bigger tires up here as well. There are lots of smaller vehicles like the Fiat that seem to do fine as well.
- ModeratorOctober 3, 2021 at 6:10 am
I should mention that paradoxically, narrow tires tend to do better in icy conditions than wider tires all other things being equal. Ignoring the different rubber compound formulation of winter tires to keep them more pliable and grippy in low temperatures, a narrower tires puts more pressure per square inch on the contact patch than a wider tire. I have had a number of different brands of winter tires on compact cars over the years and invariably the width of the winter tire that is recommended is narrower than the all-season or summer-only tire. One more example of common sense (i.e. wider tire is better and gives MORE traction) not being true in the real world.
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 8:45 am
To your concerns:
1. The current design uses resistance heating: The hope is to use a heat pump. The vehicle has AC so air used for defrosting will also be dehumidified, as in most modern vehicles.
2. The rims are “standard” – Aptera currently rolls on 195/45 R16 rubber. The design of the front wheel pants and rear wheel skirt are still in development but we’ve been assured that wheel access will be quick and easy. We have not yet been told anything about jacking the vehicle although I’m sure they’ve not forgotten to consider it.
3. Electric motors generate heat – I wonder if the in-wheel motors won’t generate enough heat to keep slush in the wheel-wells from hardening…
4. Whether we find the shape “pleasing” or not, it will be determined by aerodynamics.
5. I’m pretty certain that everyone understands that Aptera will benefit from its aerodynamic shape only when it is traveling forward and only at speeds over 45 mph (73 kph). Most people also understand that any form of precipitation will compromise the vehicle’s aerodynamic gains.
6. I, too, can hardly wait for Aptera to reach the point where serious testing can begin and we have actual answers to all of our speculations and questions!
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 8:53 am
Great reply, thanks. As to the motors generating enough heat, no not likely up here. Plus, while the slush may be soft while driving, consider leaving the car with the wheel wells full of slush over night to come out in the morning to solid blocks of ice 🙂
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 10:46 am
I am not an engineer, but I believe that the snow, ice and slush will not stick to the plastic wheel pants the same way they would stick to metal fenders. Remember that movie where the kid licks a flag pole and has his tongue stuck to it? Now think, if that was PVC would the same thing happen? I think not.
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 11:37 am
The inside wheel well covers are generally plastic. Even with smooth surfaces the shape of the area will trap ice and snow.
- MemberDecember 13, 2021 at 11:43 am
If they have A/C why can’t they just reverse the flow for heating? If that is not easy, hopefully they can design the early models like mine so when they get the heat pump working we can buy a retrofit kit and just drop the heat pump into the space where we remove the resistance heater.
- MemberDecember 13, 2021 at 3:42 pm
While heat pump style HVACs have come a long way over the years they still suffer from pretty steep efficiency losses as the temperature drops. House sized systems can now be used in negative temperatures and also can rival traditional heating systems in terms of efficiency but that’s house sized. (see https://rmi.org/heat-pumps-a-practical-solution-for-cold-climates/ ) Depending on the system and temperature, resistance heaters can be more electrically efficient. While I love heat pumps, I’m dubious if the engineers will be able to find/make one that will work in a vehicle the size of the Aptera by itself and not need a secondary heat system. By all means I would love to be wrong???? and for those living in warmer climates I’m sure you could just “accidently” remove the fuse or connector on the resistance heater and be just fine!
- MemberDecember 21, 2021 at 12:57 pm
If you are using cold air for the heat pump it does get inefficient, but perhaps we can extract heat from the motors and battery cooling in the winter instead of going to skin cooling.
- MemberOctober 2, 2021 at 11:50 pm
I’m in Chicago here, at times in January colder than some parts of Alaska. I am concerned about the “wheel pants” ability to repel snow. I haven’t yet, but I probably will go with the off road option, just for the higher ground clearance and tougher wheel pants.
- MemberOctober 5, 2021 at 8:01 pm
The electric motors in the wheels generate a considerable amount of heat to the point they have to be actively cooled. This heat should be more than sufficiant to melt and dissapate the accumulation. Aptera employs an innovative liquid cooling system to keep the wheels at the temperature for optimum performance. Aptera will go through cold, snowy conditions testing. That would be the time to ask this kind of question.
I can see this as a possible problem for two wheel drive Apteras in such conditions as they would not have a hot motor to melt the accumulation.
- MemberOctober 6, 2021 at 4:33 am
The time to ask a question is, as early as possible, to draw attention to potential issues as well as making Aptera aware of concerns that customers may have. Tires in general generate heat from friction and in city conditions from frequent braking, perhaps not as intense as the motors but still well above freezing. The inverse square law for in heat works just as well in a wheel well as anywhere else. Keep in mind that up here in Ontario we use salt on our roads and ice accumulation is still a problem.
- MemberOctober 5, 2021 at 8:31 pm
Another fact about the wheel pants I found out recently, is unlike any other car or truck where the wheels bounce up and down with each road bump within the wheel well, the front wheel pants move up and down with the wheel over every road bump. I think this would help to minimize the snow/ice crud build up that Bob mentioned. I also think taking the pants off when the snow is a foot or more would probably work out better than forking over $1000 for the off road package that will only raise ground clearance by about 4 inches.
- MemberOctober 6, 2021 at 4:42 pm
For me, I see every additional inch in height equals another day the Aptera may be useful in severe winter conditions. 5 inches is great for snowless climates. Another 4″ is totally worth the extra cash in my opinion. It seems an average “snowy” day will give you a snow rut of 2 to 4 inches. Main roads are always cleared first. Secondary roads during a major snow event may not be cleared for up to 10 days. This is key. A residential street may have ruts over 5 inches for over a week, but the main road is bone dry. Heck, we had ruts up to 9″ for a week last winter. It just is what it is. Even a freak downpour can put 5″ of water on I290 for over an hour. I plan on driving the heck out of my Aptera. Im pretty confident it will do fine and with a little extra height, even better. I have backup plans as well.
As for crud in the skirt? I doubt the heat in the wheel motor will have much impact on the slushy mess we get, but who knows. Lets imagine a January day in chitown after an 8′ snow fall. Its zero degrees F outside and the windchill is – 8. The city has poured a bunch of thawing agents aka salt turning most of the slush to hard ice ruts. This is where the extra height comes in. Now lets say its 10 degrees F and the windchill is 0F. Now we have 2″ of liquid slush. On the secondary streets you drive slow and begin to pack slush in the wheel skirt. Then you pull into an unplowed lot and pack fresh show pack into the wheel skirt. You park and head into work. Perhaps that fresh snow pack begins to melt some with the motor heat but that -8 windchill is quickly cooling the Aptera down. So now, whatever heat you had melted some snow into a liquid that is now rapidly freezing again. This happens quite often on my car. Doors get frozen shut due to vehicle warmed snow thawing and refreezing when you stop.
My plan? See how it goes. Maybe worst case get something brush out the wheel pants as best I can before heading in. From photos, it looks like there will be some access on the inside of the skirt/pant. Like I said, It is what it is and I don’t plan on letting some cruddy weather stopping me from using the Aptera. If more people do, maybe the weather will go back to being less radicle.
- MemberFebruary 23, 2022 at 7:23 am
I’m going to be reluctant to kick these fenders to knock the snow and ice out, not the same as kicking the ice on an open wheel well. Also, driving with open wheels (wheel covers removed) is illegal in most states. I would line to see a tool less quick release fender, perhaps a lever lock. Another option might be a Winter wheel faring that is open enough to allow cleaning the ice out (with of course an aerodynamic penalty) that we could put on for the winter months. I for one plan to have a 2nd set of rims with SERIOUS winter tires, just like I have for my current vehicles. Also, wondering how we will handle ice in the rear wheel enclosure?
APTERA, if your listening, you are not that far from the Sierra Nevada mountains. You need to send an engineer with one of the current vehicles up there for a few days to play in the snow and see what happens. I’m -4 and snow right now, actually too cold to get much ice accumulation.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 8:47 am
For anyone in the north that deals with the ice/slush/crud buildup in wheel wells, this lack of movement of wheels in the wheel wells would seem to exacerbate the buildup problem not alleviate it. I definitely want an Aptera but, I want to drive it 12 months a year. I’m OK with having it sit for a few days in the worst of weather, I do have a Tacoma that will go just about anywhere, but I don’t want to store a $34000 vehicle 6 months a year either. All wheel drive and the off road package will go a long way, but I still need to see the winter performance tests. There is so much that Aptera is way ahead of the curve on, I just hope the winter driving issues can be dealt with in as efficient a manner.
- MemberOctober 6, 2021 at 7:48 am
Is the off road package variable height or is it just a fixed extra four inches? Raising the car will make it less efficient on the highway so it’s not something you would want to do most of the time but being able to do it selectively could be helpful. Several years ago, i.e. before covid, we went to PEI in my Volt. As soon as we crossed over from Maine to New Brunswick the car started to scrape bottom. The roads in New Brunswick are terrible, they don’t look bad to the eye but my Volt certainly didn’t enjoy them. When encountering roads like that it would be nice to increase the ground clearance a few inches.
- MemberOctober 6, 2021 at 9:06 am
I would think on the Aptera the height difference would just be the wheel covers not the whole vehicle, it has plenty of clearance.
- ModeratorOctober 6, 2021 at 2:01 pm
Not obvious why the off-road version would change aerodynamic drag significantly. In any event, I assume they will model it. I am reserving an off-road version, not for rock climbing but for getting over the crest in my driveway. Tapping the bottom is something to avoid.
- MemberJanuary 26, 2022 at 7:06 am
I just reserved the offroad package because i have an uneven gravel driveway with some pretty large divets. From the pictures, it looks like the wheel covers are about only an inch off the ground in the front, and about 1.5 to 2 inches off the ground in the back. This could be a pretty big problem on uneven surfaces.
- MemberJanuary 26, 2022 at 1:26 pm
We’ve been told that’s just on the alpha vehicles, and to expect 5″ on production vehicles. 7″ with the offroad kit for wheel skirt clearance. That may change a little but that’s what to expect roughly.
- MemberOctober 19, 2021 at 3:12 pm
Regarding the summer and solar in alaska you might need to park on a ramp to optimize the angle. Solar cells definitely still work in general. I would be concerned about FWD in cold conditions – AWD will help a ton in your climate.
- MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 12:03 am
In talking to people that live in snowy icy climates with no garage they tell me if you do not have a cover over the charging port you may run into issues removing the plug after an ice storm. Have others ever run into this issue? I wonder how Aptera will address this issue if the plugs are located upfront. Will they offer a boot as one of my friends bought for her Chevy Bolt?
- MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 3:09 am
Hi Carl, It would be an easy thing to design and 3d print in TPU rubber …. if it did not come as an option from Aptera right away.
- MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 3:19 am
This is a good point! I have a cover for my Chevy Volt’s charging port for this concern. It is a sleeve that goes over the J1772 connector and after making a connection has a magnetic rim that seals the sleeve against the body. Since the Aptera body is not steel they would need to devise a method for making a similar seal. This type of sealing cover is a popular strategy for keeping the connector from icing stuck and should be considered by Aptera.
- ModeratorNovember 1, 2021 at 5:19 am
I have seen Noir and Sol. Noir, Sol and Luna have their charge port under the rear motorcycle-size license plate which flips up, so that offers “some protection”
We will have to follow is the beta /future production intent vehicle changes
- MemberNovember 1, 2021 at 6:14 am
I keep my car under a car cover. I’ve cut a flap for the charging port, the fabric from the flap covers the top of the charging cable. That’s worked fine for me. On Tesla’s the bigger problem is the windows which have to roll down to open the doors, I use a silicone/teflon spray on the gaskets as well as around the charge door to keep them from freezing shut. Aptera doors work in a completely different manner than Tesla’s so that won’t be a problem. I also preheat my car before getting in, you can do that with the Tesla App, that’s a feature that Aptera should absolutely copy.
- MemberNovember 10, 2021 at 1:45 pm
I think this is a great question, particularly for those who have never owned a plug-in vehicle.
My 2-cents. I live in Montana, I’ve had a Volt for years. It was a concern initially but to be perfectly honest, the biggest problem I’ve ever faced was snow & ice accumulation that prevented me from closing the charging port door. If what Leonard saw makes it to production, I think the Aptera will be better protected from the weather than what Chevy provided me.
In either case, whether it is snow clogging up the whole port or ice freezing the handle in place the aftermarket folks have always made options or if you’re cheap like me you can cut out a little cardboard nook for your handle.???? I did that until I was happy with a design then just bought a sheet of coroplast and did the same. $5 fix.
- MemberNovember 10, 2021 at 2:19 pm
Folks in Montana love to laugh at our Prius for it’s “lack” of winter handling. We have a 4×4 (farm use mostly) but in all honesty, snow tires do the trick just fine. Since I’m sure winter has set in for AK, it has for MT, just watch the ditches and see who lost control. I’ve never seen a Prius or other Eco car in the ditch, but I see plenty of Winter Warrior vehicles there every year. And in the rare case that the roads are so bad that the Prius or Volt (our other car) can’t handle it, everything is delayed or closed while the plows do their work.
The one winter concern I do have, because it happens to my Volt every year, can I lower the torque setting when traveling below 25mph? Electric motors can be a pain in the *** to go from a stop sign when the roads are icy.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 7:13 am
I agree, I think the wheels should be freer, apart from ground clearance there’s so much opportunity for mud or ice to get stuck in the wheel arches. I’d like to see less cover on front and rear wheels personally.
- MemberDecember 23, 2021 at 8:56 am
Two piece wheel covers either standard or as an option would solve many winter and off road issues. My biggest concern with functionality of the Aptera is the slush/snow/ice buildup in the winter. And as mentioned, when you park that slush turns to a solid block of ice. Around here that slush will build up and fill the wheelwell of an F-150. I live in the Adirondack mountains of upstate Ney York less than 50 miles from the Canadian border. It is 10 degrees F. right now with 4-5 inches of snow in my driveway and the snow plow went by and left a bank of snow at the crest of that driveway. I don’t want to have to go shovel the front of the driveway everytime I want to get out all winter long. The off road option with 2 piece wheel covers would make this vehicle practicle year round. I plan to drive this vehicle a Lot in all year and in all weather and conditions. Our first snow was Nov 2’nd this year and we typically still have some snow mid May. I have an MR-2 Spyder that I only have on the road 7 months a year, I don’t need another vehicle I store all winter. I believe those that don’t live in real winter weather don’t underastand the issues faced in this climate.
And on another note, those rear facing cameras to replace rear view mirrors, though more aerodynamic, will have issues if they work like typical back up cameras, my fellow winter drivers know what I’m talking about. I wipe that camera lens off every time I approach my vehicle this time of year and 15 minutes down the road if you need to back up you can’t see a thing.That said, if they are mounted high and forward that should help, and if you could roll down the window just a bit to clear the camera off that would help too. Heck, send me a test vehicle next winter and I’ll test the heck out of it.
I hope, when my Aptera is finaly available, to fly out to the factory and drive it back home. I’m 71 years old, driving cross country was a right of passage when I was young, would like to do it again and the Aptera would be the perfect platform.
- MemberDecember 23, 2021 at 9:33 am
John, I too grew up in the North and like yourself and many others, the concern about snow/ice buildup inside the wheel covers is genuine. As elsewhere noted in this thread, the problem with removing the covers altogether or going to half-fenders is that it will probably render the Aptera illegal either because of the tires spewing snow/ice or because you’ll lack the turn signals currently on the covers. My hope is that the Aptera management will test Beta thoroughly under all conditions and climates, including the likes of which you’re experiencing in upstate NY and address such an issue accordingly. That’s what all other EV manufacturers do, especially in terms of battery performance. Otherwise, they may have to include a warning on the sun-visor, “Hazardous to drive in winter weather conditions!”