Is wrapping a viable option?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Is wrapping a viable option?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Is wrapping a viable option?

  • Is wrapping a viable option?

     Guy SKEER updated 10 hours, 19 minutes ago 44 Members · 141 Posts
  • Henry Kitt

    Member
    January 9, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    If they warrantied the replacement wrap also then Aptera would get really tired really quickly. Even if they granted unlimited re-wraps on deterioration issues for just the 10 years after purchasing the car they would quickly change strategy and stop wrapping cars in that case, I don’t think they want the shoe on the other foot.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by  Henry Kitt.
  • Dean McManis

    Member
    January 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.

    • Scott Price

      Member
      January 10, 2022 at 8:27 am

      Dean, thanks for sharing your viewpoint. I caution against extrapolating your own information gathering approach with Aptera to everyone else. Perhaps you are an Ambassador and enjoy watching and searching for all that information? Me, you, and John are different versions of “Aptera fanboys” who actually have the interest and take the considerable personal time to view “old news” videos and try to find the very hidden link to that old buried FAQs spreadsheet with 496 questions (and that has not been added to in a long time). Not everyone will share your approach or even knows about some of those information sources.

      New potential customers are coming in every day with new reservations. Many may just be looking at and relying upon the website (which, as you mention, explicitly says “paint” plus it does not clearly emphasize vinyl wraps). Also, the current external-to-Aptera articles and videos generally do not mention it either way. Most customers are not necessarily going to feel the need to do a back history research paper. 😉 Since essentially every vehicle manufacturer of any volume significance uses paint on their vehicles, why would a customer assume Aptera would not use something as basic and expected as paint?

      I will also share my personal example: I do not recall this being mentioned repeatedly in “dozens” of widely available Aptera videos, though I do recall it being mentioned. I “trusted” that Aptera was making the right decision. I had zero experience or knowledge about vinyl wraps since vinyl wraps are generally a niche after-market or commercial customization add-on for already painted vehicles. I figured that Aptera is making so many terrific decisions in advancing vehicles ahead of the usual curve, why would they take a significant step backwards on something as rudimentary as paint? So, I (incorrectly) assumed that vinyl wraps should be at least as good. When others started raising valid concerns recently, I started researching it. From my perspective, my earlier trust was naive on this specific item among the many other great decisions that Aptera has made.

      It is good to hear that the upper surface might be painted. If so, sure wish they would let that sprayer keep going to the other body parts, for all the many reasons cited. I hope there is still time to remedy this, at minimum as an extra cost option if not as the preferred baseline. Aptera can make a groundbreaking 1000 mile solar vehicle but can’t figure out how to paint it…?

      • George Hughes

        Member
        January 10, 2022 at 12:07 pm

        Scott:

        You said:

        Since essentially every vehicle manufacturer of any volume significance uses paint on their vehicles, why would a customer assume Aptera would not use something as basic and expected as paint

        How many cars intended for consumer use use composite monocoque bodies? One. (Aptera)

        This says to me Aptera is really different and, given the cost of a factory-level paint shop would, alone, probably triple the capital cost of an Aptera mini-factory, would not likely make a difference on those parts of the body that aren’t covered by solar cells and looks so damn good coming off the line.

        Sure the vinyl will, overtime degrade but so the hell does paint. (Guess you never drove an 8-year old car).

        But there are advantages to vinyl in its native application on Aptera as eliminating the need to protect the underlying paint on ‘wrapped’ vehicles vanishes on the Aptera. I suspect that the smooth aerodynamic panels with few ripples and the like, will allow for much lower costs of installation of new/replacement wrap over other vehicles.

        The dynamics, including the addition of a paint section in the factory and the entire process is just an old process designed to protect the stamped and welded steel body that would rust to dust in two years without it.

        In the Motor Trend survey on EVs’ Aptera was the only car to meet the range expectations of the American buying public of 513 miles AND cost under $50,000. I think you exaggerate American’s love affair with paint expectations; especially when all is said and done, its costs will come in at a third that of a body shop wrap you’re seeing today.

        I really isn’t like after 1,096 days the vinyl wrap is going to disintegrate into a fine powder. It will just show wear and, for the guy who wraps their cars, anything less than perfection is no good. Run of the mill paint jobs do not suffer the scruitney a ‘custom, wild and crazy wrap’ on a Veyron.

        Ditching paint, with its upsides in capital cost during assembly plant proliferation, is a necessity and frankly, it will be one that is easier to live with than not having Aptera at all.

        BTW: If you want to paint it, good luck. One thing in your favor would be that Nathan Armstrong says you can completely disassemble an Aptera with something like five common hand tools and two or three hours. You’d have to tape off the solar cells, windshield, etc. and, if you want to paint the bottom, you and another guy can flip the chassis shell all the way over.

        • Scott Price

          Member
          January 10, 2022 at 1:41 pm

          Thanks for sharing your inputs, George. Unfortunately, they are getting a bit circular since I believe I have already addressed many of your points earlier in this thread. I will just touch on highlights and responding to anything that is somewhat new here:

          Monocoque: It is unclear why you think that a composite monocoque design is too difficult to paint. Monocoque is a structural approach and is unrelated to paint’s ability to adhere to a composite surface.

          Capital costs: You again focus on upfront, behind the scenes manufacturing that becomes invisible to a vehicle buyer, whereas I am focusing on long term product quality, lifecycle cost / upkeep for the owner, and working with reasonable market expectations. Also, as already mentioned, painting can be outsourced to another company that has already spent the millions of dollars on capital improvements and can make some extra income from their large investment. Aptera does not need to invest in a full paint shop if they do not want to and if they would like to think creatively about alternative solutions. Manufacturers as large as Boeing outsource portions of their manufacturing process.

          “Guess you never drove an 8 year old car”: You may not have read my earlier direct response to you on that topic in this thread. “If we are trading anecdotes: The standard original paint on my 14 year old Prius looks great, water still beads up, and it has no rust. I rarely wash it and it has been many years since I waxed it. Assuming that vinyl wraps may get replaced approximately every 5 years to keep a cherished vehicle looking good, I would be saving up now for my 4th purchase of a $2,000 vinyl wrap for my car (initial purchase, 5, 10, and 15 years).”

          “I think you exaggerate American’s love affair with paint expectations”: Every volume vehicle manufacturer paints their cars, and that is what their customers have bought. If you think that nearly everyone buying paint does not represent a “love affair” with paint, then it is unclear how to convince you otherwise. If vinyl wrap had some great new startling benefit over paint, then great. However, I have yet to hear any significant advantages except the primary tangible advantage of these vinyl wraps being presumably lower initial manufacturing cost, and therefore final purchase cost, even though the total lifecycle cost to the new owner will likely be more financially expensive in the end and it has steadily increasing negative environmental costs.

          “Ditching paint, with its upsides in capital cost during assembly plant proliferation, is a necessity and frankly, it will be one that is easier to live with than not having Aptera at all.”: You present a lot of unsubstantiated, “just can’t do it” presumptions that if Apteras were painted the whole effort would go away and not be possible, even though every other vehicle manufacturer in the world has figured this out. I again reiterate: Aptera has figured out how to make a 1000 mile solar vehicle but cannot figure out how to paint it…?

          “if you want to paint the bottom, you and another guy can flip the chassis shell all the way over”: I have no interest in disassembling a new vehicle and personally doing a paint job on it, though I may be forced to do so. I doubt many other people who just paid for a brand new vehicle would happily look forward to needing to do that, either (beyond gearheads who enjoy doing that kind of thing and that is how they want to spend their valuable time). As previously mentioned, I (and others, apparently) would even be willing to pay extra for paint as an option (even if most buyers in the world assume paint is a standard baseline because that is what most other vehicles in the world provide).

          So, we will continue to respectfully disagree. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Dean McManis

    Member
    January 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.

    • Oz Man

      Member
      January 10, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      To: Dean McManis

      RE: your entry of Jan. 10, 2022 @ 10:08am

      In regards to the last half of your final sentence…

      “Too Late!”

      Very Truly Yours

      Oz (Just Oz)

  • Paul Schultz

    Member
    January 10, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    So I assume the life expectancy of a vinyl wrap is due to degradation of the vinyl from the elements, chiefly the sun. But, of the 3 base colors of black, silver, and white wouldn’t white be the best option for retaining its looks? It seems it would not have color fading like the black and silver might. If so, I might switch my order from Luna sliver to Sol white.

    • Dean McManis

      Member
      January 10, 2022 at 11:25 pm

      I think that the black colored wrap would be the first to degrade, because it absorbs the sun’s heat and radiation. Where silver and white will reflect a lot of that energy away. Also as I mentioned before, the prime areas of direct sun will be the hood and roof, which are likely to be painted and covered with solar panels. And I think that this alone will help the wrap last years longer. With the exception being maybe the wheel pants.

  • George Hughes

    Member
    January 11, 2022 at 12:42 am

    Scott:

    What I hear you saying is that you want ‘basic paint’ on all Aptera because you think that a vinyl wrap is going to fail sooner than paint and so everyone must follow your point of view because the ghost of Lee Iacocca has ruled for eternity that all cars must have paint.

    I’d rather have the natural finish – don’t care if it is a creamy yellow, ivory white or coal black – covered with vinyl that is going to look soooo damn sharp for probably closer to five years.

    In the meantime, knowing how eye-catching Aptera is, if I had one I wouldn’t be surprised to be on some list for owners whom I suspect in the future will be presented with ‘opportunities’ like being paid direct $2500 to have some advertiser wrap your car for the duration of a six month campaign, that at the end of which, you can have a new install of the standard skin.

    By insisting all Aptera be painted you are denying all the upsides for a wrap-native approach that ‘takes the good with the bad.’

    I would propose that a bit before your aptera comes up for production you insist that once the monocoque is glued and cured, you have them send ‘your’ shell to a private paint shop … for an additional fee. I mean two guys and pick it up, set it in the bed with some peaking over the cab but securely strapped down. You can then cart it to some paint shop and have your’s painted however you want it.

    See, I’m positively excited that the basic ‘stylistic’ element of the Aptera is defined as a temporary ‘wrap’ – making it become a great canvass for artistic expression. I think that market position of being the first ‘native wrap’ is more a feature than a bug.

    I’m just surprised the community didn’t lose you with the first wheel much less the use of in-wheel motors.

    Myself, I see sometime in the not to distant future – in about a decade – when passing my Aptera to my granddaughter becomes a possibility. I’m sure it’s probably ratty looking or maybe it has one of those ad wraps on it that pays you every month. Anyway, a new wrap would be a twist on wrapping a graduation present.

    On a steel-bodied car, paint is essential if it is not going to turn into a bucket of rust incapable of safely rolling down the road.

    No so on the composite bodied car. The Aptera is not going to cease working because it rusted in half. Paint is not essential because a totally flagging wrap is not a safety danger.

    All startup automakers hate paint shops because to do more than a one-off … i.e. being able to change colors and all that jazz is exorbitant. That’s why Henry Ford’s in his startup efforts with the Model T said you can have any color from the factory you want as long as it is black. Start up paint shop avoidance was also John DeLorean’s thing. DeLorean ditched paint by substituting anti-rust ‘stainless steel’ with its brushed finish as standard.

    The good news from your point of view is that, if they can’t sell the model with the slick wrap finishes – they’ll figure a way to inject paint into the equation.

    <font face=”inherit”> I think the wraps will hold their luster long enough for the customer fall fully in love with this ride. And it is going to be so much cheaper to wrap Apteras for a variety of reasons. The area most subject to </font>degradation<font face=”inherit”> is the roof and the hood and they’re covered with solar cells. Who knows how long the shaded from rain and sun portions of the wrap will acceptably last, 5 years? 10 years? 15? </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>Aptera has made their decision on this. There may be already a planned application of say a sealer to the composite but what color that coat may be and how it would be applied is also not known. It could be part of the composite molds used in forming the chassis parts. Presumably you need a good surface for the wrap to make its attachment. However this finish is not a visually satisfying surface for any number of reasons (transluscent?) and Aptera decided the best way to provide a consistent finish was with a wrap. </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>If that is a deal killer for you, so be it. </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>It isn’t for me. </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>I may be wrong and Aptera may review </font>their<font face=”inherit”> decision. I understand is your intent that review but I think the market will ultimately reward, not punish them for this innovation.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>In the context of Aptera, paint is purely cosmetic. If the Aptera were steel bodied, I would agree it needs to be painted. But then I wouldn’t care because it wouldn’t be bold innovation that is Aptera and I wouldn’t be here. </font>

  • IA -1

    Member
    January 11, 2022 at 7:04 am

    Looking at the actual Aptera car, it seem like the cost to re-wrap should be less than the cost to wrap a regular car:

    • Not all the panels will be wrapped.
    • The front and the top (hood, roof, trunk) don’t need a wrap.
    • Does the bottom needs a wrap? Not sure, maybe only partially. Maybe the panel in the middle (used for cooling) doesn’t need a wrap.
    • You will buy the wrap directly from Aptera for a price which should be lower than the market price, with no (or little) markup from Aptera.
    • The wrap will be cut to size, hence the installation cost should be lower.

    These are only assumptions.

    If they offer a 10 year wrap warranty for factory deficiencies and normal use (non-mechanical damage) that would be great. They might have to replace one or several panel wraps over the 10 year period, which won’t be a big deal.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  IA -1.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  IA -1.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  IA -1.
  • Laura Batchelor

    Member
    January 11, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Is there some reason that the parts being molded couldn’t be gelcoated, like boat hulls? That marine finish lasts for years and is sprayed into the mold before the resin is put in so wouldn’t require much in the way of extra setup for manufacturing.

    • George Hughes

      Member
      January 11, 2022 at 2:51 pm

      I’m sure that ‘gel coat’ layer is there on the monocoque but Aptera has not confirmed that.

      They’ve not really discussed the reason they wouldn’t use the gel coat approach; maybe it is mismatching of panels with slight color variations or specific marks left by the mold that compromises the attractiveness of the actual shell that would force a replacement covering for cosmetic purposes.

      I suspect, but do not know, the base finish is just not up to snuff in terms of the finish for a shiney new car.

      There is no safety issue, no chance of rust or compromising other active systems, it is just not as finished looking as it needs to be (All the protective aspects of paint are covered with the base coat, its just not ready for its prime time role as the shiney new exterior.)

      The circumstance is we have one shot at successfully introducing a radically innovative new car design that emphasizes efficiency and some folks are saying ‘you gotta paint it’ or they’ll walk.

      Yes, they want Aptera to spend millions of dollars at a specific (existing) automotive site to get a full service paint system – I hear they can cost hundreds of millions and have capital costs on par with the hundreds of robots companies like GM employ to weld the car … as opposed to assembling it like they are in a relatively non-descript, aka generic shell of building that first year’s annualized cost is less than the monthly interest on just a portion of a manufacturing auto paint facility.

      All the major manufacturers, because they made the investment (and environmentally mandated addition anti-pollution measures) because they build steel cars that eventually crumble if you don’t paint them.

      You might think of it this way. Painting a car during manufacturing is an extremely complex technical activity fraught with pitfalls. Wrapping is a human activity meaning a real person with a real job has one. I’m pretty sure that in terms of appearance, a wrapped Aptera will look primo compared to the likely funky paint job they’d accomplish trying to do paint. Given the cost and the likely mediocre at best results, wrapping is the superior outcome.

      The scope, cost and likelihood of failure for the ‘paint’ approach is so great that the only realistic paint option for a micro-factory paint set up gives you the Henry Ford solution – you can have any color you want as long as it is black.

      I think after three years the painted steel-bodied Tesla is only now just okay in terms of its fit and finish.

      Out of the box, the wraps are good enough to present a slick looking radically efficient car that delivers on its promises. That choice will result in lower cost wraps and options for wraps over time; even new higher performance wraps are likely.

      Indeed, the wrap industry will, IMO, blossom as a result in large part because of the introduction of the first natively wrapped car. It blows the wrap market wide open because wrappers no longer need to be concerned about protecting the ‘underlying’ paint job. Few 10 year old and even fewer 20 year old painted cars can’t be wrapped because of degraded paint jobs forcing a repaint, at least of specific panels, without repainting first. This additional cost of painting and then wrapping makes wrapping superfluous limiting the wrap market for older cars.

      Maybe someone at Aptera ought to contact 3M about sponsorship interest in the Aptera … their success will be enhanced by Aptera’s native use of their product and they should help promote it.

      • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  George Hughes. Reason: enhance clarity
      • Laura Batchelor

        Member
        January 11, 2022 at 3:36 pm

        I would be willing to sacrifice a perfectly shiny new car surface if I didn’t have to pay for rewraps. One of our major considerations (and THE top interest item among EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON I’ve spoken to) is the possibility of “never having to pay for a charge or gas fill up again.” If the wrap doesn’t hold up because I’m putting the car in the sun every day to charge – which is what it’s supposed to be doing – then another solution needs to be found. I don’t care if it’s paint, better wraps, gelcoat, ceramic coating – whatever – it just needs to hold up longer than the 3-5 years that 3M is touting. This is supposed to be a car that lasts. Having to go through the hassle and expense of a new wrap that often is counter to that ethic. I want fewer complications and time-sucking, headache-causing problems caused by the crap merchandise/service already being foisted on us. Please don’t add rewrapping the car to my to-do list!

        • Lou Verner

          Member
          January 11, 2022 at 4:05 pm

          VERY well put, Laura! It is indeed completely antithetical to purchase a vehicle that potentially offers freedom from paying for gas/electricity/buying a new vehicle when body/parts rust/wear out only to be hit with costly re-wrap every 2-5 years, especially if you actually put it out in the sun every day! Come on Team Aptera – develop a clear coated color-infused composite that eliminates the wrap entirely. Saves you the time/expense of wrapping and saves us owners a lifetime of additional expensive re-wrapping. A wrap is not a “wrap” as far as many of us are concerned!

        • George Hughes

          Member
          January 12, 2022 at 12:51 am

          Chevy’s corrosion warranty provides sheet metal protection for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Rust-through coverage runs six years or 100,000 miles. Note that cosmetic or surface corrosion, such as from stone chips or scratches in the paint, isn’t covered in this warranty.

          The ramification of failed paint – say clear coat bubbling or other cosmetic issues are not specifically covered by any manufacturer. That is why you can see dozens of instances from manufacturers over the world being sued in class action lawsuits over paint failures.

          I just picked up on one out of Georgia that seems to be against Mercedes Benz for the early failure of their ‘xyz red’ paint finish. It sounds like a big judgment. Link

          I’m pretty sure Aptera could provide an outrageous corrosion warranty since composites just don’t rust.

          If you browse around carcomplaints.com you’ll see that from a manufacturers standpoint the issue of paint cosmetics is going to require input from the legal department. They, of course will say this is a litigious society and it is almost good that wraps have a this perceived short life because the wrap manufacturer has been sued by a customer because the manufacturer knows if you leave wrap on paint too long, you can really ruin the underlying paint. And since you advertise wraps as a way to protect the original finish, this causes a legal problem.

          The solution with the least drama is to offer a deduct for the factory wrap and just leave it off. This leaves the Aptera with what we’ll generously call a primed exterior. It would make sense for a company choosing Aptera with the intention to install a custom commercial wrap. Consumers could also specify the unwrapped version for probably a $300 deduct and then they can whatever paint applied they wish at their expense. It would also be taken off the cost of optional skins sold by Aptera in an enhanced order system.

      • Laura Batchelor

        Member
        January 11, 2022 at 4:07 pm

        …and my husband just chimed in to say that Aptera needs to make their molds flawless, and then wax them, if they want a good surface. The boating industry has been doing it for years, so it’s not exactly unheard of. Just his two cents worth…

  • Audra

    Administrator
    January 11, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Carl!

    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

    • Carl Ferreira

      Member
      January 11, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      Hi, Audra! It’s great to get some Aptera input into this discussion!

      I am encouraged that you will be sharing this discussion with your engineering team.

      Although you say that you “expect our 3M wraps to have a 10-year lifespan,” I would very much like to know on what you base that expectation as 3M’s own website cites a 3-year lifespan (or less) for “non-vertical” (more than 15 degrees from vertical) surfaces (such as will be found on nose, tail, and wheel cowls), and claims no lifespan expectation at all for locations in the South West. In addition, they recommending keeping the wrapped vehicles out of the sun – such as a garage – which is completely counter to your hopes for maximum solar cell production.

      I eagerly look forward to further company insights and information on this topic. I love the idea of what Aptera is trying to do, but if I would have to pony up thousands of dollars every few years to keep the vehicle looking good, the cost of ownership would be prohibitive.

      Thanks again Audra and my best wishes to you and the entire Aptera team!

    • Laura Batchelor

      Member
      January 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.

    • Ray Holan

      Member
      January 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.

    • Dean McManis

      Member
      January 12, 2022 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you Audra for showing that Aptera is paying attention to customer concerns and keeping us informed. Even though I’m personally fine with the wrap, the discussion brings up the points about if the Aptera body shell will have a gel coat, or if the plan is to color the composite, or to give a base coat of paint to the shell. And if so will just the top (under the solar panels) or the whole body be painted? I totally understand that much of this is still under development. But the more information that we have to explain online to prospective buyers the happier that they will be. And if the team can update the Aptera configurator soon to show “wrap” color, instead of the current “Paint” color, it would avoid future confusion.

  • Ronald Clarkson

    Member
    January 12, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    If you’re doing a “show of hands”, I’d have to say that the lack of a pigmented body does give me pause.

  • Spenser Pousette

    Member
    January 13, 2022 at 7:27 am

    They can do whatever , either aptera or some other company will pay me to wrap it in there name for advertisement 😂 who got the biggest pockets?( note: avg billboards in ca $1500-2000 a month.)

    Hope I get referral money because I keep promoting aptera almost every sales meeting I have. People have no idea yet and love it! Let them figure it out, and just like any company they will continue to evolve and improve.

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    January 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

    • Carl Ferreira

      Member
      January 13, 2022 at 9:42 am

      Interesting fact about the gelcoat, Peter.

      You know, Chris Anthony – one of the founders – spent 16+ years building boats that use composites (I believe). With that background, I would think that he would bring that experience to bear on the appearance issue and use similar techniques.

    • Lou Verner

      Member
      January 13, 2022 at 9:51 am

      Thanks, Peter! Important detail about composites many of us non-aerospace engineers weren’t aware of. Given UV exposure would lead to structural degradation, going to wraps for needed protection begins to make more sense – if thick layer of gelcoat would be either weight or cost prohibitive. Still not keen on the idea of disposable wraps, which also suffer from UV degradation, but can better see how that option was arrived at, given all the cost/environmental problems with paint, especially in CA.

    • Peter Jorgensen

      Member
      January 13, 2022 at 10:11 am

      Paint and Gelcoat or Clearcoat with UV protectants are commonly used for composites. Gelcoat is the heaviest and would probably add 8-15 lbs to the vehicle if they did it like a boat. I don’t know what they are using for the roof but that has to be some serious stuff to protect from sun. It should be more than plenty on the rest of the body if it’s used there as well. Often times there’s wax or mold release in the gelcoat also, and it would have to be removed and the surface prepared and maybe primed if they were going to paint it. I’m guessing the wrap is a decision to minimize upfront cost and make it simple and manageable to get product out the door. They may switch the method down the road.

  • GLEN KIRK

    Member
    January 13, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Personally, for my personal vehicle I can probably live with a wrap, though if the body composite is black as is, I would prefer that over a wrap if that’s a viable option.

    I admit a complete ignorance about wraps, but if the discussion about longevity is accurate, then I have very large concerns as a admittedly minor investor. Aptera is going to have an uphill climb to be taken seriously as it is. Not saying that it shouldn’t be taken seriously, but let’s face facts. Three wheeled weird vehicles are starting from a perceived low point to begin with (top gear rolling that 3 wheeled British car). I’m certainly not saying that perception is accurate, but when it comes to perception, accuracy doesn’t matter. So if the wraps start to look like hell in 3 or 4 years, it may end up that aptera ends up being perceived as a weird Yugo.

    I

    • George Hughes

      Member
      January 13, 2022 at 9:46 pm

      Glenn:

      I think the idea of how wrap ages and what issues arise in that process are horribly misunderstood.

      Vinyl wrap is a finishing material just like paint. Paint’s primary advantage over vinyl wrap is that it is applied all over the auto body. Indeed most thinking about wraps are based on the perception of wraps as a protective coat for paint.

      BTW: why would you put a wrap on to protect factory paint except because you know that paint is subject to degradation from the elements from roadside brush to the sun. Many who add wraps do so for the term of their lease – typically three years – and one has a 3 year old car with brand new paint increasing the cars value.

      The same thing that happens to paint happens to cars including fade from the sun, scratches and bubbling of the finish.

      My gut is the particular wraps planned – Noir, Sol and Luna – all feature vinyl that probably has a base color similar to the wrap’s finish. This will minimize the issues of fade and even scratches. It won’t eliminate these issues, but at least with fade, it will be more a gradual fade away from gloss on the Sol and a shineyness may begin appear late in the life of the vinyl.

      As there is great variation in the quality of paint between manufacturers and even within manufacturer’s direct comparisons for any cosmetic purpose is subject to interpretation. What is more comparable would be whether the finish bubbles up, blisters or becomes orange-peely or even starts flagging.

      Since the majority of the sunward side Aptera’s body is either covered by solar cells (or could be), the wrap may only be exposed in specific areas and subject mostly to fade. If, as suggested above, the base vinyl is the same color as the finish, fading would appear as a loss of gloss on the vinyl. The question is will this part of the wrap bubble and flag and when will that level of failure happen. With the black on black vinyl wrap, the solar cells install over the wrap, this portion of the finish will remain usable for the life of the solar cells … i.e. I think you’d consider a re-wrap of the panels with the replacement/upgrade of the solar cells sometime in the 12-25 year time frame. I suspect the vinyl on this portion of the Aptera may even be a half-mill or mill thicker.

      The underbody, provided you keep out of the ditches and on improved roads will likely stay appropriately bonded for 15-20 years. That it will likely fade from a glossy white to a more matt finish would be expected but as the base vinyl and color are matched either white on white or silver on white; the latter being subject to more contrast with finish and base. However, scratches are possible on the body and dents, dings and scrapes will extract damage to the finish. The good news is while such damage done to paint compromises it and on other cars provides an avenue for rust. On the Aptera, the main danger would come if you use a high-pressure wash and, if the vinyl is compromised, it may blister or bubble if the high pressure stream degrades the vinyl’s bond. This would be why high-pressure washing would be discouraged. Cosmetically, the scratches – dents and dings are resisted by the underlying composite monocoque and there are ways to repair vinyl gouges. While not ‘like new’ and arguably not shiney-new, the lower body finish will likely be acceptable for 10-20 years before flagging will cause its replacement. (I suppose how fast you drive may impact flagging.

      Now, we come to the fairings over the front drive wheels. Scratches, curbs and a whole host of roadside stuff will be marring the finish of these wheel coverings.

      Despite everything else, I suspect the production line for the wheel fairings will literally begin with an order of three for every Aptera produced – the two that will be sold with the car and alternately, the left and then the right fender assemblies for stock and ultimately replacement.

      With curiosity on how this vulnerable part will play out – i.e. its cost and how it repairable it is after an altercation – I wonder if the factory cost profile will be such that after-market solutions find a niche with minimalist fenders.

      Speaking of wraps in general, wasn’t that ‘wrapped’ ‘kindle’ color-changing BMW at the CES attention getting. Anything you could display on a Amazon kindle – patterns, words, 16-grey scale images – it is cool. Thinking five or ten years from now, there is a distinct possibility that perovskites and vinyl will be married in a new kind of solar cell that literally maximizes the solar generation in applications like Aptera.

      That may be another reason for Aptera being America’s first wrap-native offering.

  • Ronald Clarkson

    Member
    January 13, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    Another potential “down side”, ever see a car wrapped on the bottom? What will that do to a warranty?

  • GLENN ZAJIC

    Member
    January 13, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t really understand, at this late date, why there is suddenly a problem with wraps. That being said, this is one of the more interesting discussions on this forum. Lots of smart ideas in both the pro and con sides. Many things which I had not really considered, and I love the thought provocation.

    My take is this; If they can make the wraps more durable, like with a ceramic coating (as an example only) and can get a good 6-8 years out of them then I would be quite content. I had already anticipated replacing mine around that time frame. It would be nice to not have to though. I just like some of the 3M colors way more than the Luna I am ordering. Knowing me though, I will probably scratch up the first one just being rough on stuff, so I don’t want Aptera to wrap it in the favorite color to start with. I do not think we need to educate Chris on the use of Gelcoat. Pretty certain that with his background if he thought that was the best way to go it would be done. I totally get the paint problem, especially in California with all our laws. But when you consider the environment in general, you might be a lot friendlier with a wrap. Pretty sure they considered dipping also but declined. It’s nonconductive so that lets powder coating out. I don’t think they would like to put out vehicles in the buff as it would reflect poorly on the company. I trust they have considered all the steps for producing these vehicles in the most efficient manner possible. Yes, there may be some regrets and redresses, as this gets to production and time in actual experience, but this is a solid start. I hope for the best and a durable longevity on the wraps. But I do respect all the other opinions given here and hope most of us will be satisfied when we finally get to drive these puppies!

    • Nathan Hubbard

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 7:54 am

      I think it’s an issue at this late date because it wasn’t clear at all that they were going to wrap all of them. Maybe if, I don’t know, it said that somewhere on the page where you configure it?

  • Blake Kottwitz

    Member
    January 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.

  • Riley ________________________________

    Member
    January 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.

    • Oz Man

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 5:44 am

      Riley, it will probably depend on your solar option, without the forward hood, that would be a wrap, as well there would still be some more upward exposed wrap on the pillars and the rear deck.

      • This reply was modified 6 days, 21 hours ago by  Oz Man.
  • Heidi Strayer

    Member
    January 14, 2022 at 4:37 am

    It would be interesting to see a wrapped Aptera. I believe all of the Alphas are painted.

    • Riley ________________________________

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 4:53 am

      .

    • Oz Man

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 5:42 am

      Heidi, The Alphas may have an undercoat that has been painted. (mentioned by Aptera when they were inbound for assembly that they were coming from getting painted, IIRC in Nevada, unknown to what extent they were painted.) But the final finish on all of them is a wrap.

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    January 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.

  • Ray Holan

    Member
    January 14, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Given the level of interest in this issue (i.e. 100+ posted replies), I think either a statement from Chris or Steve or a Zoom meeting to allow Q&A from reservation holders is justified.

    Either of these options would seem to have twin benefits:

    1) Save us from guesswork and speculation about the rationale for vinyl wrap vs. paint and the life expectancy of same

    2) Continue the most welcome tradition of Aptera transparency that sets it apart from other entries in this category of EV’s.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Just 39 responders though for all of those posts so a small but vocal group on BOTH sides of the issue. I am for letting Aptera management (Engineering and marketing) determine the right approach for responding as they are the most knowledgeable of the issue on the Aptera side. I am uncomfortable with very few representing the 15,000+ reservation holders views. And for that matter representing the lesser number of forum participants (But still a very large number) who chose not to comment

      The simple solution for the minority that find wraps not acceptable, is don’t buy the Aptera and let the majority that don’t oppose wraps be happy with their Aptera’s outstanding engineering and performance features at their much lower price point.

      • Scott Price

        Member
        January 14, 2022 at 12:26 pm

        John, I respectfully disagree with jumping to the conclusion that you represent the “majority” and everyone who has recent increased awareness + concerns is the “minority”. And even if there was a basis for your claim, significant concerns from viewpoints which may represent 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 or whatever (potentially much higher) number of the current 15,000+ reservation holders is a large percentage for a small startup company to pay attention to.

        Companies and politicians generally understand that when they receive comments on an issue, each input can represent (on both sides) potentially thousands of silent people who either don’t participate or are just completely unaware of the issue / debate at that time. I agree with you that this is a small sample size (on both sides). However, that in no way negates the validity or basis of the concerns.

        We all represent the early adopters who are more likely to put up with this kind of stuff. Aptera needs to actively think through these kinds of decisions to help the company and vehicle have “legs” to sell beyond early adopters.

        Presumably most people here want an Aptera and want Aptera to be successful. Dismissing inputs by essentially telling non-wrap-fans to just go away is not helpful, in my opinion. This is a foreseeable issue that can be proactively addressed with some standard effort.

      • Lou Verner

        Member
        January 14, 2022 at 12:47 pm

        John, while the number of responders is indeed small compared to the number of reservation holders, you must know that this forum in its entirety also comprises a small fraction of that much larger number. Are you saying that those of us who actively participate in this forum are therefore wasting our time? I doubt that. The 4 or 5 dozen of us most frequent contributors have, I dare say, posed many interesting and worthwhile observations and queries, and have received in return many interesting and worthwhile responses, not the least of which are yours.

        The wrap issue is as worthy of discussion as any other, is it not? If we all took the position that “Steve and Chris know best so if you don’t like it, you’re free cancel your reservation” – it would simply shut down most of the fascinating forum topics that have engaged all of us since August. The fact that wraps have generated as much enlivened point/counterpoint as it has in the last couple weeks is probably indicative of much broader interest/concern than just the 39 contributors to date. I agree with Ray, let’s have Steve or Chris provide us with a full explanation of why they chose to go with wraps over all the other options available, and address specifically the concerns with longevity, especially given that most of us will want to leave our vehicles out in the sun. Their is inherent value in avoiding the purchase of environmentally damaging, short-lived, throw-away items. Replacing expensive, fossil-fuel derived wraps every 2-3 years does not fit into that paradigm.

      • Oz Man

        Member
        January 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm

        John, Although a case can be made for the numbers you propose, the interest here is very high when compared to most other topics. (And quite fervent also.) Additionally the subject has come up in the Aptera FaceBook groups as well as Reddit and YouTube, with similar interest and intensity. From my observation, this is a subject that very many people would like to get clarification and reassurance from Aptera on.

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        January 14, 2022 at 2:00 pm

        John, I think any prospective Aptera owner, forum member or not, would want a good explanation for why Aptera is taking the unusual course of vinyl wrapping the vehicle wrapped rather than painting it. Let’s acknowledge that a vinyl wrap is not what the average car customer is used to and thus it MAY be one more impediment to purchasing.

        Providing reasonable explanation for the decision to wrap the Aptera is simply good transparency and PR. It continues the tradition that Aptera has set in the past. In my book, it becomes, at minimum, an interesting piece of the Aptera story. We have a whole year to fill with bulletins from the company. I’d certainly prefer to get a statement from the key decision-makers on this feature rather than a string of a dozen fluff pieces of video of the alpha zipping along the California coast highway.

        BTW, even if they wrap it in aluminum foil, it won’t stop me from buying the Aptera.

      • Fanfare 100

        Member
        January 16, 2022 at 1:01 pm

        Hi John, when I visited Aptera, I never got the impression that they were a “love it or leave it” kind of crowd. Their vibe and sense of purpose, as well as their customer orientation made me feel welcome and that even my meagre opinions were worth y of consideration. It would seem that the topic of wraps VS paint VS whatever other method has reached a significant level, with people making very valid points on both sides.

        Unlike a company such as G.M., I find Aptera refreshing because it has shown an history of open and horizontal dialogue and transparency. One which generates much consumer and investor confidence. I never got the impression the the voices of one contributor in this forum would be more equal than the voices of another contributor. That is one of the things which attracts me to this forum.

        The fact that Audra replied right here in this topic and let us know that these matters are being brought up to the consideration of Aptera’s engineering team is a level of engagement I have not yet seen from other mainstream vehicle manufacturers. This is why I find this community to be a welcoming place. We are not just blind voices in the wilderness. In a way, with the amount of participation on all sorts of things related to Aptera this forum turns into a force-multiplier from which Aptera has acknowledged enrichment. It’s almost like the fans, reservation-holders and investors are part of a voluntary crowd-sourcing of ideas. An hospitable non-judgemental environment in which one does not pull rank or establish pecking orders.

        I for one welcome this discussion to flesh out some extremely good ideas in ways in which the product is greater than the sum of its parts. I love the thinking out of the box and first-principles mentality that not only comes out of Aptera but also of the majority of people it attracts. IMHO this should by no means be stifled. It was precisely that harmonious vibe that I perceived when at the Aptera site at the end of last year, one which reinforces the spirit; one that sets Aptera apart from legacy thinking which is sure to propel it well into the coming decades, perhaps centuries.

        Now, how ’bout them wraps? I’m eager to learn more myself. I did manage to find one with a projected life-span capability of 12 years: https://www.rvinyl.com/Mitsubishi-Avery-Vehicle-Wrapping-Films.html

        I’m personally happy how we’re putting our minds together on this.

    • Scott Price

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 12:52 pm

      Completely agreed, Ray. I would love the opportunity to provide a specific set of respectful questions to the Aptera team, if they would be open to it, or otherwise have a real time Q&A video meeting where I could post them in Chat.

  • Pistonboy Delux

    Member
    January 14, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    I wonder what the paint shop would think of painting the bottom (underside) of a vehicle?

    Would they refuse because their paint guns would not work? Would it be worth it to them?

    Perhaps paint guns are different today.

    Does anyone know?

    • Scott Price

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 1:27 pm

      Pistonboy, painting “upwards” is not an issue for modern paint shops and equipment. They paint the underside of hoods, trunks, rocker panels, etc. all the time. Given the Aptera’s light weight shell and only having a few primary exterior shell components plus the wheel pants, it should actually be easier to maneuver and paint an Aptera in comparison to the complexities and many “nooks and crannies” inherent in metal bodied vehicle assemblies that the world’s manufacturers already paint on a regular basis.

  • John Shenton

    Member
    January 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.

    • George Hughes

      Member
      January 14, 2022 at 9:52 pm

      When I ordered my reservation I didn’t include the extra solar packages … i.e. I left the hood and the rear window out of the equation. I didn’t realize one purpose of using solar is the solar cells will protect the wrap 🙂 The places where solar cells are placed are the points that if wrapped would be most subject to degradation.

      Then I got to thinking about the Aptera more directly. The real sore points are going to be the fender skirts which look like they might be pretty easy to wrap. You know, a big basically flat panel that will likely be easier to keep looking good with vinyl (which takes a few hours to fix an accident) whereas if you had to repaint, would be a week or more without your car. The extended time to repair an unintended cost of paint.

      Then the other body part subject to early failure of the finish would be the hood on the Aptera. As I look at this, I’m thinking re-wrapping that piece of hardware would be a piece of cake. Kind of like the surface those coaching DIY’ers would say you should practice on. I’m betting owners who care to take the time could redo the whole hood DIY for $20 in film … and it would look good.

      Of course you could wrap the Aptera with the innovative ‘rustbucket’ film and as it fades, it starts looking better 🙂 (No, really, this rustbucket style is apparently popular. Go figure.)

  • John Malcom

    Member
    January 14, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    OK, OK, I will say “Uncle”!! Enough discussion to justify Aptera providing an in depth discussion of wrapping with some kind of structured Q&A.

    • Lou Verner

      Member
      January 15, 2022 at 7:32 am

      Watch out…we may end up referring to you as Uncle John! 🙂

      • Ray Holan

        Member
        January 15, 2022 at 10:59 am

        LOL. Good one, Lou. Does that mean we can start hitting up Uncle John for a car loan?

        • Lou Verner

          Member
          January 15, 2022 at 1:35 pm

          Works for me!😃

      • Pistonboy Delux

        Member
        January 16, 2022 at 4:19 pm

        How about Mother John – the den mother of Aptera discussion.

        • John Malcom

          Member
          January 16, 2022 at 7:40 pm

          I have been called “Mother” in another context quite often. I will not relate the rest of that handle out of respect for the language on this forum.

    • John Malcom

      Member
      January 15, 2022 at 3:12 pm

      Feel free to do so, an hold your breath waiting for it to happen…..

  • Ronald Clarkson

    Member
    January 16, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    I welcome the opportunity to learn something new here but am I wrong to assume that there would be a lot of damage to the underbelly from rocks and road debris if it is wrapped? I half expect to see rocks hitting the bottom on my first drive.

    • Oz Man

      Member
      January 16, 2022 at 8:11 pm

      Ronald, thinking about it, I can’t really come up with any vehicle out there that will have this as a potential problem, are there any other vehicles out there that have an exposed visible belly? Keeping that in mind though, wrapped or painted, it is vulnerable to road hazards from beneath for cosmetic damage more than anything else out there.

  • Ronald Clarkson

    Member
    January 17, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I agree that a painted belly would suffer damage as well but we all know about buffing and such. I know nothing about wraps, but if it suffers scratches and such from rocks, road debris, or even keys on the upper skin how do you treat it? Would the damaged wrap start to unravel if I don’t examine the underbelly regularly?

  • Daniel Crotty

    Member
    January 18, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    After reading almost all this chat, it comes down to $$$$$

    Over the 10 or whatever yrs how much is a re-wrapping going to cost?

    If its 3K every 2-3 yrs, that is a lot. But then, we don’t know how much a re-wrap will cost. How much surface area is wrapped? Blah! Blah! Blah! I DO NOT KNOW! It sure sounds like no one else does.

    What we need is Aptera Engineering Input! Better yet, a short video that answers questions (Ambassador meeting).

    Also, remember you do not have to replace an entire wrap. If you get a scratch, one piece needs to be replaced.

    I don’t know — if there is a base color, as in a paint base coat or embedded pigment — A clear wrap over that should look great and cheaper than a repaint.

    My preference — I would like a wrap if the recurring cost doesn’t eat up all my savings. I had considered putting one on the front of my car to help with those chip creating rocks.

    I may even like to see the composite pattern (if there is one) through a clear wrap. But again, I don’t know.

    Let’s hear from the guys who are deciding.

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