Cold/winter weather issuesPosted by elisabeth-smart on September 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?
- 77 Replies
- 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 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.
- 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 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 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 8:31 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 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.
- 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.
- MemberNovember 12, 2021 at 9:00 am
Just remove the full wheel cover before terrible snowstorms and install a customized 1/2 cover over the wheel to catch the slush from flying around. I won’t have to do that because I just sit at home sipping coffee during inclement weather. Ah, retired life is the cat’s butt.
- MemberNovember 13, 2021 at 4:35 pm
Let’s not forget, without the fenders there is no forward running lights or turn signals, not a terribly safe condition.
- ModeratorNovember 14, 2021 at 7:39 am
Hello, Peter. Just in case you haven’t already done this, I looked for a winter tire in the 195/45 R16 size that is current best guess of the Aptera tire size. I found a Pirelli winter tire in that size that would cost about $360 US for 3 tires. I have used winter tires on several of my cars in the past and they do seem to give better adhesion in snow and ice in comparison to all-season tires. Here in Ohio our winter problem tends to more often be a case of compacted snow and ice on the roads rather than a deep snow condition.