Is wrapping a viable option?Posted by carl-ferreira on January 7, 2022 at 11:21 am
I am very concerned about the indication that Aptera will be doing a vinyl wrap on all their cars.
First of all, I was under the impression that they would color the composite materials directly. This would provide a body color that would literally last the life of the body, as it would be integrated into the body materials. This sounded like an admirable approach consistent with Aptera’s mission of efficiency and ecological compatibility.
If they are now planning on providing exterior colors via a vinyl wrap, this significantly impacts the idea of a vehicle that is designed for a lifetime of low-maintenance, environmentally friendly use. Automotive wraps only last a couple of years, even with a ‘sealer’, such as a ceramic coating. The best manufacturers won’t warranty their wraps at all in desert states such as California, and have life estimates as short as two years. There are problems with washing the car without damaging the finish. And keeping the car outdoors in the sun (isn’t this exactly what Aptera is supposed to do best?) can degrade the vinyl coating and shorten the wrap’s lifespan.
If Aptera were to only provide their exterior colors in the form of a wrap, then I would prefer that they offer the option to have no wrap at all, in which case I would have a professional detail shop put a high quality paint and clear coat that would last decades.
This seems to me to be setting up Aptera for a bad reputation as maintaining a beautiful appearance of such a unique and well-engineered vehicle should be a major goal, rather than a cheap afterthought. Think how people view cheap manufacturing from China – it affects how they view all Chinese products and, in a like manner, a high-maintenance exterior appearance will likely have a detrimental effect on how Aptera is viewed as a car and as a company.
This may in fact be a deal breaker for some people. I know that I’m having second thoughts.
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 11:41 am
I agree with you. I’d prefer not to have a wrap, if the naked composite is only available in one color then so be it, I’ll take that color. If they want to provide wraps as an extra cost option then that’s fine, wraps seem to be popular in certain parts of the country but not in mine. I want maximum durability and minimum maintenance costs.
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 11:42 am
When I saw Elon reveil the cybertruck I was relieved. Finally someone who thought sustainability was far more important than the color. And now Vinyl wrap??? If they do that for real I will cancel the order. It is bad for the environment. It damages real easy.. I see no advantages to vinyl wrap whatsoever. In addition to above I will ask them to not wrap it. That will be sufficient for me.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Elzo Stubbe. Reason: extra info
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 11:51 am
Agreed, Carl. As you may have read in my similar Facebook group responses, this current approach puts near term manufacturing convenience over making a quality product built for the long term. It increases lifecycle cost and ownership inconvenience, and it greenwashes the supposed upfront environmental advantage by ignoring that the initial process has to be repeated multiple times in the future (each time adding a new environmental cost). I am strongly hoping that Aptera comes up with a better infused option or long-lasting paint option. Otherwise, it is short term, throwaway-part thinking for the owners, brand, and vehicle appeal.
Imagine someone comes up to a few year old Aptera and is interested in it though asks the owner why the “paint” looks the way it does. When the owner says “yeah, you have to “re-paint” (wrap) an Aptera every 3-5 years”, I believe most people are going to say “you have got to be kidding”. Very few vehicles in the world put that burden on their owners. After Aptera burns through us early adopter, new-tech-oriented customers, this kind of thing is going to be an issue for public reaction and company longevity. Or, they have the opportunity to proactively fix the foreseeable problem now.
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 11:56 am
I heard 10 year life for the Aptera wraps.
If you don’t like it, ask for an unwrapped aptera discount and get it painted yourself.
Or… Wait until they’re on the road to raise a big stink about all the little “deal breakers.”. If its a problem, there may be a painted option too. I’m going to trust these guys for the time being to make smart choices.
We don’t even know what kind of tire options will be available yet for sure – if the size changes or something.
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Add my name to the list…I’ll take mine unwrapped even w/o discounted price!
ModeratorJanuary 7, 2022 at 12:24 pm
Using paint in their CA facility was never in the cards…
Well their FAQ states:
UV will impact all surfaces over time. But we make all the panels replaceable and upgradable and you can always re-wrap the exterior to any color you’d like later down the road if the weathering is a concern. Our 3M wraps have a 10yr lifespan though.
But I never owned a vinyl wrap vehicle and living in the SW , where only steel and rock seem to survive…I plan to use a protectant on the wrap and resin elements regularly on this manageable size vehicle
I never owned resin ( foam ) filled , sandwich-core ( insulated) body either🤞 that somehow this helps.
(In the SW you can repaint a home ever several years
Five years ago I switched to a colored sprayed on coating, which also has an R value. No color change that I notice to date.The surface is cooler to the touch and people think it was just applied ( not a choice for cars though )
I never use automatic car washes
So not too concerned but I have nothing else to do but take better care of my vehicle
The few people i spoke to at EV events that had their Teslas wrapped used the vinyl coating and love it so far (?)
They went vinyl for the lower cost compared to repainting their Tesla and like the wrap color and finish choices. Their old color is just below the vinyl!
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 2:03 pm
I live in Nevada, have PPF ( a viny product make by XPEL) on all my vehicles, one of them stays outside all year long. I use a ceramic coating on the PPF and it is holding up great. When you use a ceramic coating it is putting a layer of glass on top of the vinyl that has a 9H hardness. Depending on the company that sells the ceramic coating it can last from one year to several years and provide protection to the vinyl as well as a deeper shine, easier to clean and repeals water better.
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 7:41 pm
Production Aptere from the San Diego manufacturing facility produced in 2022 and for any foreseeable future will come with wraps. Those interested in an Aptera for the many, many, reasons the car has value have a decision to make. If a wrapped vehicle is a show stopper, don’t buy an Aptera. If the value proposition of Aptera is appealing, buy a wrapped Aptera and manage the wrap feature. (paint, rewrap when needed, or just let it degrade)
If you trust Aptera engineering, then you have to trust that they put the same amount of thought into the decision to wrap the vehicle that they did for every other feature. That decision based on whatever set of criteria will result in faster manufacturing set up (Quicker to market) and a less expensive vehicle.
If I go into a Chevrolet dealer and want to buy a new corvette but don’t like fiberglass bodies, I either buy it with a fiberglass body or walk out of the dealership without a car. I would buy it with a fiberglass body😊
MemberJanuary 7, 2022 at 10:10 pm
I like the potential to change the color of my vehicle every few years.
It can be solid color, multi color, or maybe I can even add that sinister shark smile at the front!
MemberJanuary 8, 2022 at 6:37 am
For Most of My Career, I was a “Maintenance Engineer” – Paint is/Was mostly chosen for Protection of the Material Beneath in the Beginning (“Any Color, so long as it is Black”)
Counterpoint: I have worked on Lancair 320 and a Few of Burt Rutan’s designed Aircraft: Their Fuselages are of Composite construction. Painted. Aircraft are a bit less likely to have impact damage than Ground Pounders, but Do get repainted at a rate far below Autos.
My concern is that cumulative damage from Sanding to get a Nice PaintJob will compromise the Structural Integrity of the Composites. Corvettes’ Fiberglass is Not as Structurally Needed/Loaded as I believe the Composite “Fuselage” of the APTERA, I Think. I want the Structure around Me in a Ground Vehicle to remain as Stout as Possible!
Spending Less (as in Near Zero) on Paint Care, along with the Option to Change/Freshen The Appearance of the APTERA using Wraps appeals to Me. $500.00 per Three to Five Years is not too much of a Burden to My Thinking.
I am encouraged to Adopt the “Wrap” method included on My APTERA. (Thinking of Asking RED BULL for permission to Put their Livery on My APTERA -“…Gives You Wings” HAR!)
Every Bride/Groom Comes with Faults – I am certain that there are going to be things that I dislike about the APTERA I Purchase amongst all the Thousands of Decisions/Choices Made by the Team/Designers. I am Hoping that the Wrap is Not one of the “Minuses” of Ownership. Hopefully, I am going to find out, One way or the Other.
Anyway, That is “My Oar in the Waters”
MemberJanuary 8, 2022 at 11:36 am
Nice to see this discussion and I will reply in the hope it becomes “sticky” and gets the attention of the Aptera team, because I too hate the idea of a wrap. I would much prefer whatever the default color of the resin is used to make the panels, sealed in some protective coating. Seems like a much better idea and more consistent with Aptera’s ethic/approach to the vehicle. So add me to “the list” of those who would prefer an unwrapped option when it comes to the final order. Maybe Aptera is listening/reading and will take this into consideration.
MemberJanuary 8, 2022 at 12:22 pm
Leaver – thanks for reiterating my initial vote for going with composite color thereby sidestepping paint vs wrap dichotomy. I believe neither is as durable/ecologically sustainable as “built-in” permanent color of composite itself (either natural or color added at time of molding). Until I hear from someone why this third option isn’t viable, I remain convinced it should be seriously considered by Team Aptera.
MemberJanuary 8, 2022 at 12:54 pm
I think, of course, pigmented resins would be best or natural resin, waxed and buffed would last the longest. There is no escaping the detrimental effects of the sun’s rays when left out. But I could be totally wrong
MemberJanuary 8, 2022 at 3:05 pm
I just canceled my full solar package and will be parking my Aptera in my garage.
MemberJanuary 9, 2022 at 11:25 am
People seem to be making points with little to no actual data to make decisions!
What is the area to be covered? What is the Cost? Life expectancy?
I would think area and there for cost is less than most other cars. If it is half that of the average car, one would think the cost would be more than half less. So, until we have more information, everyone is just tossing spitballs.
It would be nice if the Aptera personnel, at some point, jump in and give us a “best at this time guess”, some actual feedback and Facts to form opinions. We know the damage Alternate Facts create.
Personally, if I can afford it, paint it or embed the colors, and wrap it. The wrap protects the paint. It may not even have to be a high-quality paint. Maybe just a white base color, so that 500M paint shop not required. Ideally, the color in the composite. My vast experience in this area adds up to Zero + a Google search. Obviously, I am an expert.
If Cal prevents quality paint, paint parts in Detroit and ship it to Cal for assembly. There was already some talk about some such thing.
When those bouncing rocks have chipped the front, and you know they will, it may be time for a new Frunk wrap. Or that long scratch someone mentioned, OK, a couple of hundred to wrap a side.
If … it’s going to cost me 3K every 3 years for a new wrap, that is a different story. I think I would pass on that.
A last word! I do agree. Do NOT deliver a deficient product else you may be producing a new version of the Ford Pinto.
Reputation is earned. Rarely is it repaired.
MemberJanuary 9, 2022 at 1:34 pm
The more research I do into wraps, the less I like the idea. If I’m putting down $48k for a car, I would expect it to look good for more than 3-5 years. We have been saving up for a new car since 2017, when Hurricane Irma destroyed my 2001 Honda CRV (which still had good paint). That left us with a 2002 F150 (which still has good paint). For us, the appeal of Aptera is the ability to go totally solar, which is why we are going for the big battery pack, and reduce our cost of travel; and secondarily to reduce our personal carbon footprint. Having to lay out $2-3k for a new wrap every 3-5 years going forward is not a small expense for us and seriously changes the economics. We were planning to leave it out in the sun all the time for maximum charging. In South Florida, the UV will really eat up a wrap. I’m not sure why a colored resin with UV inhibitors and/or a clear coat is not a possibility. Right now, my husband is thinking it’s a deal breaker for us.
MemberJanuary 9, 2022 at 6:21 pm
Would everyone here be comfortable if their Aptera came with a 10 year vinyl wrap warranty, basically ensuring a free re-wrap for everybody who buys an Aptera?
That way you save money, can change the color for free which incentivizes their wrap over paint, and Aptera gets the chance to upsell you on something extra. That seems the only viable way to sell these cars with wraps, to have a shared contribution down the line instead of their customers having to shoulder the entire weight of all wrap replacements throughout a 20+ year ownership.
Most people get rid of their cars in less than 10 years, some in less than 5 years, but for those Aptera for life people we need that warranty.
Otherwise Aptera needs to change tactics and clear coat the pigmented composite, which is likely the most cost effective option for both them and us.
MemberJanuary 10, 2022 at 1:06 am
Like John, I am surprised at so many people (very vocal now) who did not know that ALL Apteras will be wrapped. In the dozens of videos and talks, and the FAQ it is clearly stated. I will say that the only misleading point (which NEEDS to be changed) is in the Aptera configurator is clearly states to choose your “paint” color. Which was a web page mistake originally, but now really has to be fixed. One point that nobody seems to have mentioned is that the top of the Aptera (hood, roof) which would get the brunt of the sun (except the solar panels) looks like it will be painted black on all models. So except for the tops of the wheel pants most of the wrap material will not be getting full sun, or rain. So it is likely to last longer. I do also remember Aptera saying that the body color under the wrap would be silver, white, or black depending on the model, with the body color of custom wrapped colors being the closest of those 3 choices to the custom color. I am not sure if Aptera’s plan is to paint the top black, but it looks like it. If they had color infused resin, or a gel coat, I think that most people objecting now would be fine with either of those solutions.
MemberJanuary 10, 2022 at 10:08 am
Yeah, it’s true that as an Aptera Ambassador I do a lot of research so that I can address questions on Facebook, YouTube and other media outlets. So I have seen many interviews and videos, and Aptera’s own FAQ, which shows that the only factory option is a wrap. But we agree that Aptera needs to change their online configurator to show “Wrap”, and not “Paint” for the vehicle colors. To avoid confusion. I do understand the misunderstanding, but even though most all automakers paint their cars, the Aptera uses different technology in MANY areas. Sometimes for better efficiency, sometimes to reduce the cost, or time to bring the Aptera to market. Having 3 wheels, and 2 seats are the obvious changes, but foregoing the heat pump, adding a rear-view mirror, and simplifying various engineering and design choices as they develop and refine the Aptera within a constrained supply environment, with tightening government controls is a balancing act. This flare up about the use of wrap is understandable, and it would be good if Aptera makes an effort to clarify the point in their media announcements, website, Facebook page, and here. They have not said anything about painting the top of the Aptera, but it wouldn’t make sense to have a wrap under the solar panels. It may well be that they plan to paint every car (as they hinted at earlier) and it would also make sense to paint the whole Aptera because the wrap would adhere to it better, and the finish of the wrap would be smoother than on bare composite material. It could be that they plan a to put simple coat of paint on each vehicle, which might not look flawless. But with the wraps, the Aptera would look like a top tier paint job, at least for several years. If the wrap deteriorated, then the owner could re-wrap, or remove it to reveal the basic paint job underneath. But this is just guessing on my part, and Aptera themselves will have to clarify this point before it becomes a big issue.
AdministratorJanuary 11, 2022 at 2:09 pm
Thank you for starting this discussion and to all who contributed! It’s amazing to read so many valuable insights and suggestions from our supporters in this space. We welcome the feedback, appreciate an honest critic, and are fortunate for the encouraging words of support. The suggestions and concerns presented in this dialogue will be shared with our engineering team for their review and consideration as we continue on the path to product launch.
The plan is to wrap the vehicle. We hope people find it easier to repair damages or switch out colors of their choosing. We expect our 3M wraps to have a 10-year lifespan. However, we are continuing to explore different options for the exterior finish of the Aptera. I would encourage you to stay tuned for more updates to come through our e-newsletter, website, and social channels. We appreciate your patience at this time. We will keep you posted!
Thanks again Carl and the Aptera community,
Audra & The Aptera Team
MemberJanuary 11, 2022 at 3:55 pm
Thank you Audra, for letting us know that the engineering team will be made aware of our concerns. Not only are you saving me time by not having to write an individual email, but it will save someone on your end from having to answer me. Win, win!
I realize that the wrap decision will be made with many considerations that we are not privy to but it’s reassuring to know that some of what we are saying is getting heard by those making the decisions. I, for one, really want Aptera to be successful in the long run with average customers, not another throw-away, disposable, consumable that will cause buyers to regret their investment, resale value to plummet, and shareholders to bail.
ModeratorJanuary 12, 2022 at 3:36 pm
Personally, I’d prefer to take delivery of an unwrapped Aptera, save some $$ off the price, and decide if I want to wrap it later and have it done locally. Just my 2 cents.
MemberJanuary 13, 2022 at 9:07 am
Hey all – I’m an Aerospace Composites engineer. Composites can’t handle UV without structurally degrading. They have to be covered in something to protect from the sun. On boats this is a thick layer of gelcoat. I don’t know what the coating Aptera has on the roof and body is – or if it has UV protection also. If so the wrap may be optional. That’s a question for them once they have production intent and whatnot.
Here is Sol before the wrap was applied. Beta+ may be different
MemberApril 14, 2023 at 4:47 am
Peter I agree. The composite materials will degrade in UV light, where Aptera is supposed to be parked…in the Sun.
The Composite materials need to be protected from UV light to maintain their composition. This is easily done with a wrap, paint, coating, etc. Which the most cost effective is up to debate (to Aptera and to the consumer), as we see here in the thread, but it’s a given that the raw composite will need protection.
I want stock in the 10 year wrap company…lol…that’s a foolish quote honestly, and I would imagine any material that has that durability would not be cost effective.
The other question is, I thought the shell of the aptera was going to be the ‘radiator’ of sorts? When you add the wrap does that reduce the efficiency of the cooling process??
ModeratorApril 14, 2023 at 5:39 am
The “radiator” is the aluminum belly pan which won’t be wrapped.
MemberJanuary 14, 2022 at 12:46 am
As a reservation holder and investor. I think wraps are silly, high maintenance.
A colored Composite does make more sense.
Let’s hope they read your post and agree with us.
MemberJanuary 14, 2022 at 2:48 am
I am completely fine with it, my plan is to get a nior and apply vinyl protectant after every wash. From my personal experience with 3m vinyl on a car in California it does indeed crack and flake off after 2 years but only on the roof and hood of the car. I can easily see vinyl on the Aptera lasting 6 years as none of it is on top of the car.
MemberJanuary 14, 2022 at 7:22 am
As a reservation holder and investor, I’m happy with a wrap. I would prefer gelcoat but it will get hazy after 20 years, and re-wrapping every 10 is more fun because I can change colors.
MemberJanuary 14, 2022 at 8:04 pm
I live in Phoenix. Wraps are a no go. How about a simple dip paint process. Every single one white. Then wraps for color if you want.