Motor theft: will it be a thing?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Motor theft: will it be a thing?

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Motor theft: will it be a thing?

  • Motor theft: will it be a thing?

  • Michael Rohan

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    When looking at various pictures of the suspension and seeing exposed steering ball joint nuts in some of them it made me wonder: how easy would it be for a thief to just take the entire outboard assembly?

    The end product would probably have the steering knuckle ball joint nuts covered by the fairings, but it has been stated that those fairings would be easily removable by basic tools. And anyhow some people may opt to keep the fairings off. Once the fairing is out of the way, it looks possible to just unbolt both nuts without even jacking the car up, cut the wires and take the motor/wheel assembly. The process could be this: remove cotter pins, unbolt the tie rod, cut the cables, unbolt the top ball joint nut. Knock the upper control arm upwards to release it, and do similar for the bottom control arm but while pulling the tool so the tool does not get pinned while the vehicle falls and releases the outboard assembly. A compact impact like Dewalt’s Atomic impact might be able to fit under this nut while the car is on the ground so it’s possible that no jack is needed, or just use a jack or manpower plus some blocks. In the case that the wheel gets in the way of lining a tool up with the nut, a socket U-joint can be used, or add in wheel removal to the process. If the control arms turn out to be not so hardened, another process would be to just cut through the entire control arms and connections with a grinder or portable band saw.

    The lower cost and solar nature of the vehicle may mean it would be left out and unsecure, and not always in the safest neighborhoods. Some may argue that it won’t be a thing because who is going to want an Aptera motor? But I think there will be a market for them as they get damaged or wear out, and they will probably have uses outside of being installed in an Aptera. Also I would guess that one motor will probably have more street value and be easier to steal and easier to sell (online/eBay?) than a full set of chrome 22s, and anyone with any street smarts would know how that’s a thing.

    Anyways, maybe I just come from a bad neighborhood and know how thieves think and work. I don’t point this out to encourage the behavior but to make it be known so hopefully there can be some thought by the company and owners on taking measure towards preventing it. Even if that just comes in the form of some security castle nut, either OEM or aftermarket user installed, just like how there are wheel lock nuts, or hardened steel rods in or on the control arms to deter cutting attacks.

  • Michael Rohan

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    Oh and third motor removal process: simply lift vehicle, remove fairing, remove wheel, remove motor.

  • Markus Schmid

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    No. Simply no. Look here:

    Original Video here: https://youtu.be/YNvcr9jBcTo?t=115

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Markus Schmid. Reason: adding link to original video
    • Markus Schmid

      Member
      July 30, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      … but of course it is theoretically possible to completely disassemble any vehicle. It is much easier (and gets done) to simply steal the whole vehicle using a truck crane.

      • Michael Rohan

        Member
        July 30, 2022 at 1:10 pm

        Yes of course theft of an entire vehicle is a thing but not every thief steals entire vehicles. Hence my reference to wheel theft being a thing thus Aptera wheel/motor theft would likely also be a thing.

    • Michael Rohan

      Member
      July 30, 2022 at 1:09 pm

      I don’t know how the wheel removal addresses security or lack of security of the motor, or the 3 different removal processes that I outlined.

      • Markus Schmid

        Member
        July 31, 2022 at 12:58 am

        It certainly would be fun to watch when, without unlocking the Aptera, once a wheel was up in the air it would start to spin slowly… 😜

  • David Marlow

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    If some can make a buck by stealing something someone will try. However these motors require a special electrical driver to make them work. So they will have to take that as well.

    • Michael Rohan

      Member
      July 30, 2022 at 2:08 pm

      That is a good point; if these motors are not just ‘dumb’ electric motors. That could at least limit the motors to only being used on the Aptera, or at least to similar vehicles as they come out. But other use cases may be DIY EV projects that may have the drivers and hardware available separately. And it’s not like thieves are EV DIYers, but those looking to purchase such a motor may not be aware or care about the source.


      I guess it also remains to be see if they implement some secure part signing, in which case the Aptera can detect the motor’s serial and determine if it’s original to the vehicle, or even query if it’s marked stolen. Though I hope such a system does not hinder owner reparability the same way it does with Apple and iPhones.

  • Christopher Barrett

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    If you are from any big city, you have seen many cars “stripped” for parts on the side of the highways, on the outskirts of cities. Yes, catalytic converters are being stolen, (the Aptera will not need one) and it used to be they would take your dashboard to get the radio. So, anything is possible, the bad guys do stuff like that all the time. However, I find it unlikely that folks will even know that the motor is in the wheel. It is of very low concern to me, as I doubt it will become a target. Maybe, even the bad guys will say, “wow that is one neat machine!” Nothing to steal here. You just won’t know if folks will steal them, until they are on the streets for a while. Cameras can be a prevention worthy of your investment, if you are losing sleep over this.

    • Michael Rohan

      Member
      July 30, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      Yeah that could be true that thieves will be unfamiliar with the car and assume the motor is inboard. If this type of motor configuration catches on, then over time I can see that changing. By that I mean someday when EVs are commonplace and there are many options of EVs, some percentage of them are bound to have outboard motors. Once success is found somewhere, then copy cat thieves can do some basic research to see what model cars to look out for. Just as I am sure once catalytic converters came out, thieves didn’t think to steal them. Though once someone succeeds at it then word and knowledge to steal spreads, compounded as the catalytic converters become more valuable. But if it’s difficult and very secure hopefully it can be a nonstarter in the case of the Aptera.

      • Lane Costilow

        Member
        August 1, 2022 at 6:35 pm

        Though it’s an apt description, “outboard motors” made me see an Aptera motoring across a pond.

  • Selvan Poothamby

    Member
    July 30, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    Hopefully there’s no precious metals or the likes in them. Also, with such a nich, I would think there wouldn’t be a black market of sorts for low mileage motors.

    • Mark Salyzyn

      Member
      July 30, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      “Elaphe … axial flux motors for their lightness and compact dimensions and lower use of critical materials like copper and rare earth materials” Luc D (dual reservation holder)

      So yes, it does appear that they have minimized precious metals. But you may need to put a sticker on there of this fact, since someone keeps on stealing my house air conditioner for its copper …

      • Qiang Fu

        Member
        July 30, 2022 at 7:28 pm

        This sticker on the wheel pant may be more effective:

        • Mark Salyzyn

          Member
          July 30, 2022 at 7:44 pm

          Lol ‘Beware of Dog’ maybe 🙂

          This has not stopped people stealing my house air conditioner, the last one the power wires were snipped _live_ since they also contain copper :-(. Never underestimate human greed.

          One of my previous cars (for 15 years) was a S2000 AP2, roof was sliced open to get in, but they failed to take my seats, which go on the black market for $5000, because I had a different kind of bolt at each corner, hex, security torx, triangle and one of them requires a specialized phillips impact wrench as manual will just ‘cam out’. The thief got one off and that was it. Cost me $650 to put in a new factory roof (I installed), insurance did not cover convertible roof damage (!), and if they got the seats, they may as well write my car off.

          Added an active security system after that, but that just made me a victim.

          Get insurance.

          • Vernon Michael Gardner

            Member
            August 2, 2022 at 8:26 pm

            Porsche used to put those stickers on/near their ignition systems on the 911’s.

  • Joshua Rosen

    Member
    July 31, 2022 at 7:23 am

    If I was you I’d move. If you are so worried about someone disassembling your car then you must live in a terrible neighborhood, the solution to that is to move to a better one.

  • Harry Parker

    Moderator
    July 31, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Get some locking hub nuts for the wheels to prevent both the wheel and the motor from being removed, if you park in that kind of neighborhood. Better yet, don’t park where cars get stripped.

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