Future generation Aptera ideas/designs

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Future generation Aptera ideas/designs

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Future generation Aptera ideas/designs

  • Future generation Aptera ideas/designs

    Posted by johnathan-ting on November 6, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    I am very stoked for the Aptera, but I do have some thoughts and concerns and ideas to address them.

    My first concern, as with many of us, is that it’s just too wide. Admittedly it’s about as wide as my car at the mirrors, but mirrors are not at ground level and there are many obstacles my mirrors will clear that a wheel will not. My idea is 1+2 seating arrangement that will A) reduce the necessary width at the nose to have a more manageable 68-76″ front width B) improve passenger capacity without giving up too much passenger comfort C) give a more unique and driver focused seating position.

    The slight angle of the passenger seats will allow for the maximum height of the car to be more focused along the central access, which should reduce the necessary frontal area while also maximizing headroom and legroom for all occupants. It maintains a curvature along the side of the vehicle which can be reinforced for better side impact performance. The sharper shape should also improve front overlap crash performance since more of the energy can go into deflecting the vehicle instead of stopping it. The more arrow like shape should also make ingress into the central driving position not that onerous, especially with good door design. I’m not sure about aerodynamic improvements over the original design, but I think it should be able to be optimized to be as good.

    Downsides, you def can’t car camp 3 people in this comfortably. Folding the seats to have a flat load floor is going to be a design challenge. Cargo space would obviously have to be decreased if maintaining a similar length. Ride height/center of gravity would probably have to be reduced to compensate for the reduced front track width in order to maintain similar cornering stability which might affect aero efficiency, although the odds of a significant number of owners driving this 10/10ths is basically 0, just because I will huck my car around a corner way faster than 99% of people doesn’t mean that a design must be optimized for edge cases.

    Some nice to haves would be rear wheel steering which would improve turning radius and high speed stability.

    A fatter rear wheel with more power would also be cool, but that’s because I’m a hooligan.

    Also a several kW inverter to run various appliances would be nice.

    If the car is generating downforce from design, there are probably vortices forming at the corners of the rear edge that might be better managed with small downward facing winglets which will also look rad.

    Some seat design ideas would be to look at the Koenigsegg Gemera and the segmented foam seat design, if adjustable lumbar support is not feasible, then having a replaceable foam cushion that sticks on with velcro would be an option. This would also allow for adjustment of seat bolstering that can be individualized at relatively low cost. This would also make the seats more breathable and possibly easier to plumb for ventilation.
    UPTIS tires would eliminate flat tire concerns and also probably make mileage more consistent. Improperly pressurized tires are very common and affect handling, efficiency, and safety.

    Kamakiri replied 1 day, 2 hours ago 32 Members · 44 Replies
  • 44 Replies
  • Future generation Aptera ideas/designs

    Kamakiri updated 1 day, 2 hours ago 32 Members · 44 Replies
  • curtis-cibinel

    November 6, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    I must say this is a very interesting concept and not without merit. I personally think the simplest 2nd vehicle is to lengthen the current design, slightly shorten the tail slightly (perhaps 0.15 drag coefficient as a result), stiffen the suspension and add a row of seats. This would allow the current design to share a lot of parts and make a coop to compete with family cars.

    I don’t think a wider rear is a good idea as this adds complexity and airless tires are very inefficient drag coefficient. Rear wheel steering would really make suspension tricky. I’m also ignoring the inverter and seat points since it could go in any base design. The loss of in vehicle camping is negligible as bringing a tent makes more sense worth either vehicle;that vehicle tent is very “designed in California” – bugs and rain won’t go well. Fancy suspension with air or hydraulics could be another way to narrow when parking (expensive).

    Regarding your design the pros in my opinion:

    3rd seat (duh)

    Narrow enough for europe

    No need for switching driver sides for different markets

    Similar or shorter than current Aptera


    Worse stability due to narrower (moose test)

    Worse aerodynamics due to turbulent air from wheels pods into body

    Likely not compatible with kids car seat safety (big reason to have a 3rd seat)

  • CosmeT

    November 6, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Johnathan, to my point of view, to reduce drag and overall front nose including mirrow side by side extended today position, better option is a tandem seats, it will reduce the cargo space is obvious been reduced but no any other overall dimensions should be affected because designers will reduce with proportionally to the reduction of the passages ‘s seat, the body will be reinforced due less volumen, and wheels width can be reduced to fit any America either European specifications effortless, see the Elio Motor design, and will figure out what I am proposing, I guess even less drag than 0.13

    Thanks for reading!

    • spencer-peterson

      January 26, 2023 at 6:33 am

      Cosme – I totally agree – an “Aptera-fied” version of the Elio would be great – a 2-seat tandem, narrower than the current Aptera, with less weight, better aerodynamics, smaller battery, and much lower cost would be the perfect starter vehicle for many, and would be ideal for narrow European roads as well.

      • joshua-caldwell

        January 26, 2023 at 8:13 am

        I would love a tandem seating version of the Aptera, like the Elio. This would make the vehicle less wide, and if they went with the Elio rear it could also be shorter. This would make it perfect for city commuting which is nearly always just 1 person and the rear seat could hold a child as needed.

        Aside from the tandem version which is unlikely to actually ever be made, there are two changes that I do want in a future edition. First, is a European width, second would be making the roof slightly wider so that the side windows can fully go up/down without that visibility highly problematic mid-window bar between the rolling window and the fixed window. WAAY too many videos where that bar is perfectly at eye height and preventing the driver from seeing cross traffic at intersections without crouching down every time.

        I would also prefer the Alpha Aptera version of the side mirrors displaying at the left and right interior sides so that people would actually have to look left and right + we could get the round wheel back.

  • Phil

    November 6, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    I thought of one more con to add to this otherwise well thought out idea. I believe air bag deployment would be difficult, if not, impossible for the 2 outboard rear seats.

  • trollfaced-hudagmail-com

    November 6, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    in 2 seats next to each other configuration: it would be great if interface and seat could be screwed into/slided toward the center of car with passenger seat folded away, for exceptional sportiness. it should be fairly easy given its all electric power steering, possibly for self driving. (like gordon murray t50). your 3 seater config is like nissan deltawing/speedtail/ScuderiaCameron Glickenhaus 008, but probably not worth it vs other designs i mentioned

    • johnathan-ting

      November 7, 2021 at 3:22 am

      I think the problem with scooting the driver seat over is that the Aptera does use a central tunnel for some purpose or another, I’m guessing structural rigidity and battery storage. Any central driving position would require a full redesign of structural components.

  • john-belmonte

    November 8, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Scaling the Aptera up to 4 seats and 4 wheels has been discussed a lot, but I haven’t heard much about scaling down. As a follow-on model, advantages would include keeping the 3-wheel classification, identical design, greater urban accessibility, and perhaps lower cost (less batteries if power per mile could be reduced).

    The Aptera has decidedly American proportions for a model with global aspirations. It’s the same width as a modern Lamborghini including side mirrors. People have mentioned European cities, but it would be difficult to manage the Aptera on Tokyo side streets– I find enough challenges with a 70″ wide compact minivan. So I propose a model that is scaled down at least 15% in all dimensions– otherwise same design. That includes wheel width, assuming the wheel motor options allow it.

    I wonder how efficiency would land given the changes: lighter, less rolling resistance, Cd (higher or lower?), reduced solar area, etc.

  • ray-holan

    November 8, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Wow. That’s an intriguing idea, John. We know that the vast majority of car trips in the USA are done by a single driver, so eliminating the width needed for passenger plus the extra weight would result in some outrageous efficiency. Would there be sufficient demand for something like this is of course the big question. The other option is to design for tandem seating where passenger is in back of the driver. Makes for great packaging but certainly hampers conversation between driver and passenger.

  • john-belmonte

    November 9, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    motivation: a lot of people want or need smaller cars. For example, their urban area has tight streets and parking, they’re more confident driving a smaller vehicle, the riders are physically smaller, etc.

    Aptera can scale down the debut model, while keeping the same seat configuration, and meet this need. The increment is tiny because it’s still 3-wheel class, little if anything about the car would need redesign, and likely all of the work done on safety would apply.

    If it happens to be more efficient and lower cost, great– that increases the demand and reach of the product. But it’s not the primary motivation.

    • joshua-rosen

      December 5, 2021 at 8:13 am

      There are already a couple of small three wheelers on the market, the FUV and the Solo that are aimed at the city car market, I’m not sure what a small Aptera would bring to the party vs those two. There is also the new Fiat 500E, not in the US yet but maybe, which is tiny but more conventional car.

  • g-n

    December 5, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    A single-seater or tandem (like Volkswagen L1) would be great – especially if cheaper. Could still do the monocoque safety cell; that would set it apart from all velomobiles I know of – even Northern Lights (no testing that I’m aware of).

    I do wonder whether the risks from side winds increase significantly if it gets much lighter or the side-area-to-weight ratio changes. I think those considerations went into their decision to seat side-by-side.

    I appreciate the discussion about second cars. I imagine many households are like ours: 1 car gets a single commuter around; the other gets the whole family around. So optimizing for those two conditions would make sense as the two first models.

  • Fran

    December 10, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    I already drive a vehicle that is more efficient than Aptera. Or should I say I pedal a vehicle more efficient than Aptera. Yes, that’s it in my profile picture, and yes technically it is a velomobile. Actually its a poor man’s velomobile because it is a home-made capsule over a Catrike 700 recumbent racing tadpole tricycle. Most velomobiles are over $10,000 so I modified my trike with a couple hundred dollars of materials and have toured with it for a few years, over ten thousand miles. It can easily be modified to be electric assist but I like the exercise to keep my 71 year old body in shape. I have reached 65 mile per hours downhill and around 30 mph on relatively flat roads. There are a number of electrified trikes and velomobiles like ELF, PEBL, Evovelo, and others, some even having solar panels, and some that can carry two people. They are all too expensive for what they are, so I’m looking forward for my Aptera.

    • curtis-cibinel

      December 10, 2021 at 10:31 pm

      I really doubt Aptera will make anything substancially less safe than the current design. A narrow one seater is just too weird for most markets. For Europe they can remove the frunk, and center console to narrow the design enough – this would still be substancial enough to be a vehicle model but could share many components. Anything tandem or without the safety systems is a tough sell. Given the need to front load weight (batteries) I was really suprised to see that frunk in the current design.

  • Knix

    January 13, 2022 at 12:22 am

    I think the next model should just be a stretch to get a second row of seats in and add a fourth wheel. It would probably get pretty long though. I measured my car and there is about 33 inches between the front and the rear seat. That would put a four wheel, 4/5 seat Aptera at 205 inches long, which is right up there with luxury cars like Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 series. That should keep the drag coefficient almost the same since the rear wheels could ride in the wake of the front wheels, though the frontal area would probably increase a bit to retain sufficient headroom for both rows of seats, so the total aerodynamic drag would increase some.

  • bryan-thomas

    June 23, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Hello Aptera world. 🙂

    I’ve been emailing product development over the past few months about a new version and they recommend I post on here to see what everyone here thinks.

    Basically in a gluten free nutshell. Keep the base Aptera as is with the different battery sizes and solar configurations but come out with one more version. The HALO edition. It would be called the Aptera 1000r.

    1000 watts of battery

    1000 watts of solar

    1000 pounds of towing ability

    A new modular truck bed design

    and built for adventuRe (insert vomit here but it’s catchy and works well with motorcycle engine size and shopping)

    What does this mean and why?

    Currently gas is $5-$7/gallon and I can’t afford to fill up the diesel truck at $200+/fillup and the Subaru gets 29mpg but still. $80 adds up. But what if we could tweak the Aptera a little and make it the worlds most capable EUT. (Electric Utility Vehicle)

    So with the idea of bridging the gap of hyper efficiency mixed with truck carrying ability. Here are my suggestions:

    1) Make the storage area in the back bigger. Ideally the bed section would measure 6’6″*40″ in size. Yes this would increase the overall length of the car but it can still be super aerodynamic.

    This will allow for actual sleeping in the back of the car and storage plus hauling of sports gear. (Part of the big shift you’ll notice in this email). Also at the end of the “truck bed’ section. Make sure it is tall enough that a size 12 foot can clear if someone’s foot was against the bottom of the bed and not hitting the top glass. Currently you need to have a “yet to be designed” shelf to sleep and the bed is a foot too short. With the idea of sleeping with your head at the tail of the vehicle. By making it a 1′ longer. You get a much easier time getting into sleep mode as well as having access to climate control while you’re sleeping and have the added abilty to be able to sit up while in the ‘bed’.

    2) Speaking of the truck bed. Instead of the current curved back glass. Make the sides curved and smooth but make the glass flat and here’s the big change. Removable.

    I’d love to be able to remove the back glass in 2 or 3 sections. Store them in a hidden compartment under the truck bed and then be able to put 2 mountain bikes in the bed. This is part of who you’re catering to. The affluence tech outdoors person. They’re going to have expensive toys and if you can advertise that this vehicle can haul 2 mountain bikes upright, or kayaks or even a dirt motorcycle. That would be a huge deal. I understand I would be giving up MPG. But with commuting Monday-Friday and getting unbelievable mpg and then on the weekend, remove the glass and still get great mpg but be able to carry 2 mountain bikes up to the hills would be a dream come true. (Currently designed, you can take apart 1 bike and lay it flat in the back on the trunk.) Not ideal when my bikes is covered in mud from ridding.

    3) In addition to having a removable rear glass to open above the truck bed. Have the front of the bed flip open and create a partition against the front seats and essentially create a waterproof area in the front that’s locked and secured.

    One. This makes it so you can hose out the back or deal with rain without worrying about the front getting wet. But two. Once the partition lifts up. You can hide a cross bar under where the partition used to be and mount a bike rack or kayak rack to that cross bar. This would be huge! Companies like Yakima and Thule already make a plethora of accessories so just make a bar similar to theirs that would be a cross brace that you can attach roof raft things too.

    Also with making a water resistance partition and a removable top glass top. This would open up the bed to be able to haul all sorts of items. Got a smelly dog from the beach you don’t want in your lap? Put up the partition. Want to haul 2 8′ tall ficus as a house warming gift. Done. Remove the glass at the plant nursery and presto. Who needs a truck.

    4) Have full charging station hookups in both the truck bed and the front “engine bay”. (The ability to charge 2 usb, 2 110v, 220v and a Rapid charger) This way you can charge 2 ebikes or motorcycle while at camp on either hookup on an overnight or give a Ecar a bit of a charge if they run out of battery. Like the new Rivian RT1 can do. (Not referring to how the Aptera can charge but rather using the car to charge other devices.)

    I would love to take two Zero FX dirt bikes up to the mountains for the weekend and charge them overnight once I’m at the riding destination. Plus charge my phone and run the climate control with either ac or heat on an auto setting all night. (But also be able to program in a minimum battery percentage while on auxiliary mode that it won’t go below to make sure you can still drive home)

    5) Speaking of battery. This model would only get sold as a 1000 watt battery version. With 1000 watts of solar. I live in the north west and the winter. The sun is really low on the horizon. Making most of the current solar unusable. Solar on the doors would be a big help.

    6) Make this RV towable. Have 2 connection points on the front of this to where you can easily trailer this behind a bus/rv. Also include a spot for a 4/7 pin wiring harness on the front of the vehicle.

    And make this the first Smart trailable vehicle ever. What I mean. Trailers currently can be towed. Or apply brakes. But what if you had a load that when you were going uphill. Could turn on a motor and help push your 13mpg RV uphill and get better mpg and then on the downhill. Apply Regen braking so the RV doesn’t go through as many brake pads? That would be a huge game changer.

    7) Put a small class 1 hitch on the back of this. Hidden normally. But big enough to put a bike rack on the back of. Or tow a jet ski. That would help a lot of adventures happen.

    8) Make the front trunk space big enough to put a Yeti 65 cooler or Dometic 65 electric off-road fridge while still being able to reach the front electric plug ins.

    9) Have the back of the pickup truck have a tail gate. After you remove the glass top. And drop the gate. Have it strong enough to have two dudes sit in it or a ebike ramp up it to get inside the bed. Most newer dirt motorcycles weigh under 350 each so if the bed can be treated for 1000 pounds of cargo. That would be ideal. Plus it’s part of the whole 1000r theme. 🙂

    10) Only available in the all wheel drive version. For obvious reasons.

    11) Sell it with readily available tires. Something that every Les Schwab will carry anywhere in the USA. Like what’s on the Prius or similar. A lot of times with really fancy cars is if you get a flat. You’re stuck and waiting for a special order. And nothing’s worse than being stuck on route 66 for 3 days waiting a new tire to be shipped in. (I think this is already the plan?)

    12) Have the motors be able to work independent in limp mode. So if you have a motor or a wheel problem. Be able to either disconnect a motor to allow free spin regardless of the issue or remove the entire wheel assembly (including motor) and put on a not smart spare that’s in the truck and be in 1 or 2 wheel drive mode all the way home.

    13) Have the wheel covers be retractable. Not that it’s designed for off-road use. But there are times you found yourself on a bumpy road and need more wheel clearance. Currently you have the width of a sheet of paper but it would be ideal if you could fit a switch and have 5-7″ under each wheel. (I know there is a high clearance version coming available that will probably solve this concern.)

    13B) This is going down the wrong road of the overland crowd but if possible. Take technology for the new Chevy Colorado zr2 Aev Bison edition with their boran skid plates and put a small skid plate under the front in case of accidental rock impacts. Not designed for offroad but just to protect the batteries from accidental bumps. Have it removeable just for bumpy trailheads adventures.

    14) Put the ability to add roof racks on the car. Once people start buying these. They will love the 1000 mile range and if you could put the Yakima Jetstream aluminum bars with the fixed point mounts. With minimal mpg loss. It will be a great addition. And if they don’t want the bars. There’s a cover that flips down the bolt holes so no mpg loss. Similar to the BMW M3. If you had both the removeable rear glass with a cross bar in the truck bed where you could mount two bikes and than a roof rack where you could mount two play kayaks and a cooler in the front. That would be the perfect weekend vehicle. 🙂

    That was a lot of details. But the simplified version. This will be a badass electric utility vehicle. The ability to go 1000 miles. Charge via the sun. Be the ultimate commuter during the week and camping utility vehicle on the weekends.

    Van life is here to stay and people are looking for options to get out doors. See all the amazing things but without spending $6/gallon on a vehicle that gets 15mpg. #vanlife lol

    This could be just that. The next step in adventure vehicles.

    I’d love to hear everyone’s feedback and if this gets made. Be the first in line for the new 1000r model.

    Bryan from Seattle.

  • richard-palmisano

    June 24, 2022 at 5:02 am

    Phew…Bryan…tons to unpack here:

    I like the vast majority of your ideas. Larger storage, Removable rear glass, additional plugs, frunk, roof racks…all awesome ideas. The majority of those however at this point in development add so much complexity. Lets get the initial launch vehicle going, then Aptera can offer their next platform.

  • christopher-barrett

    June 24, 2022 at 5:28 am

    I will be very happy to get the offering that Steve Fambro, and Chris Anthony are about to produce. The “redesign,” of which you write is maybe what your needs are, but most of us want the efficiency, safety and design as is. A Cadillac Eldorado can be chopped into a pick-up truck, so you can customize your car anyway you wish, with enough money it can be done. Please just give me my solar vehicle!

  • ray-holan

    June 24, 2022 at 5:41 am

    Hi, Bryan. You have certainly given this a lot of thought. I hope that, once the initial production model has hit it’s stride, Aptera gives your ideas serious consideration. I especially like:

    “3) In addition to having a removable rear glass to open above the truck bed. Have the front of the bed flip open and create a partition against the front seats and essentially create a waterproof area in the front that’s locked and secured.”

    I am not an outdoorsy adventurous type, so mountain bikes are not in my present or future plans, but having the option of fitting something bulky into the rear hatch area would be a welcome feature.

  • nolan-parsons

    July 13, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Would it be possible in the future to do a variation that has the tandem 1 front seat/ 1 back seat configuration? I’m not sure how it would impact the aerodynamics but it would at least be narrower as result, a plus for those of us that are a little hesitant about the width of the aptera and don’t necessarily need much in terms of trunk space.

  • curtis-cibinel

    July 13, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    The result of this would be a narrower vehicle with worse handling and less storage. It would be an entirely different vehicle and I see little reason Aptera would invest designing another niche 2 seater vs making a more mass market family sedan.

  • Biker

    July 14, 2022 at 6:21 am

    If you want that, Arcimoto already makes what you want.

  • BigSky

    September 25, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    I think the shape restricts them quite a bit. After looking at this design a while, I would think they would need to extend the length significantly (like the length of a Sprinter van) to fully fit a 4 seater. I would not be opposed to a stretched long vehicle if it delivered step change efficiency in that class.

    • kerbe2705

      September 25, 2022 at 9:10 pm

      @BigSky Country This vehicle was designed from the get-go to be the most efficient possible way to transport two people and their belongings. If this first vehicle proves to be successful, Aptera plans to build additional designs in the future: Sedan, SUV, Pickup, etc.

  • nqs

    January 24, 2023 at 5:42 pm

    Two of my three needs for this vehicle require more headroom than is available in the prototypes.

    My current preferred mode of transit, a Terratrike Rover, is roughly 210 x 100 x 110 cm. While the width looks ok, I’m unsure about the length, and I highly doubt the cargo area is that high.

    My other need, which crosses over with the previous, is for use while hunting. I’m stuck in the legal middle where a bad leg makes it difficult to walk far, but I can’t get a disabled permit, as I’m not in a wheelchair.(1) While many hunters have used traditional ebikes to bridge the distance from the road to the hunting spot, I must use a recumbent trike because of my leg. I’m considering building something similar in concept to < http://drumbent.com/trike.html >. I think that could be designed to fit, especially if it was designed to split in half for transit. However, I question if there would be enough room for it plus a field-dressed moose(2).

    What I would like to see is a model with a permanent bulkhead behind the seats, and the ability to remove the rear hatch with nothing more specialized than a block and tackle. One could leave the hatch on to get better mileage, or remove it to carry taller items.

    In my current situation, I probably won’t buy before the second or third production version, as parking costs more than my rent, and I want to buy a house first. I gather a four-seat option is being considered down the road, is a pickup version also?


    (1) which brings up the question, for someone with limited lower mobility, how is the Aptera team addressing accessibility issues? I’ve seen another post asking about left-hand gas pedals, but if a customer can’t use their legs at all, how “open” will the design be for third parties to implement hand controls?

    (2) Largest animal I’d consider hunting, although not native to where I want to live. I tried to get measurements, best I could find is a field-dressed bull to be around 370kg, and the rack to be 1.9m wide. I’d assume a trophy (neck, head, and antlers) to be a meter in height, and at least 100kg.

  • S Patterson

    January 24, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    I suppose no one is stopping you from removing the rear hatch, tho you probably don’t want solar on it, then.

    We’ll just have to see what future versions come about after they get the first one figured out and the company making profits!


  • Sam

    June 8, 2023 at 5:14 am

    When will there be a hydrogen version?

  • john-malcom

    June 8, 2023 at 5:26 am

    The Aptera was envisioned, conceptualized, and developed to be a solar electric vehicle (SEV) as the most efficient transportation in the world. It will remain as an SEV as there are no plans to develop a hydrogen version.

  • joshua-rosen

    June 8, 2023 at 6:01 am

    I can say with absolute confidence that the answer is never. Even if hydrogen made sense for cars, it doesn’t it’s ridiculous, it makes even less sense in this car. The volumetric efficiency of hydrogen is awful, a Toyota Mirai is all hydrogen tanks, it has much less room for passengers and luggage than a similarly sized EV. The energy cycle of hydrogen is awful, converting electricity to hydrogen through electrolysis and then converting it back to electricity via a fuel cell throws away two thirds of the energy which means that your cost per mile is going to be at best three times as high as with a BEV. Then there is the problem of distribution. Hydrogen fueling stations cost $4M a piece and they can handle only a small number of cars a day. You can install an enormous number of Superchargers for that amount of money. You would also need to build 10 times as many hydrogen stations as DC fast charger stations because there is no such thing as home hydrogen charging, 90% of battery charging happens at home. To do home hydrogen charging you would need your own electrolyser, no way that’s going to cost the same as an EVSE ($400-600). Even if the hydrogen stations existed, they don’t aside from a handful in California, how would you get the hydrogen to them. A hydrogen tanker can transport a small fraction of the energy as a gasoline tanker because the volumetric efficiency of compressed hydrogen is so low. As for liquid hydrogen, look at all the problems that NASA had with the SLS. That’s a billion dollar moon rocket and it was delayed for months because of liquid hydrogen leaks. NASA has been using liquid hydrogen for 50 years, the Saturn 5 was a liquid hydrogen rocket, and it’s still very hard to handle it. One more thing, hydrogen is a secondary greenhouse gas. It’s not a greenhouse gas per se but it interferes with the cycle that breaks down methane in the atmosphere and methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas much worse than CO2.

    Now for the Aptera and why it makes even less sense in that application. The only reason the solar cells work on the Aptera is because it’s so efficient, at 10 miles per KWh you can get a useful amount of range at 3 miles/KWh you can’t. Obviously you aren’t going to put an electrolyser in the car so you would still need a large battery to store the solar energy, much bigger than the hybrid batteries used in the Mirai, so what’s the point of hydrogen. Also the bulk of the hydrogen tanks and the fuel cell would ruin the aerodynamics of vehicle.

    • Greek

      June 8, 2023 at 7:04 am

      Thank you for putting to rest any future ideas of hydrogen powered vehicles for any application. I have had several arguments with those who are pro ice vehicle supporters. This hydrogen proposal was truly only being pushed so corporations who are loosing their gas and oil futures to find something else they can push on the public. We have the universe’s best fuel generators in stars, for me all efforts should be made to shifting society to getting the most out of our sun.

    • curtis-cibinel

      June 8, 2023 at 8:42 am

      Well said. Hydrogen is a fools errand for personal ground transportation. It could still make sense for planes or large ships. NASA has challenges due to rapid fueling massive tanks and thermal impacts of boil off.

  • Sam

    June 9, 2023 at 4:37 am

    I like the idea of maybe subscribing to deliveries of prefilled canisters to safely and easily replace empty ones. Eliminating the need of any infrastructure. It’s still on the drawing board, don’t be too quick to kill it.

  • george-hughes

    June 9, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Currently hydrogen is available as a fuel because folks go through the various processes to produce it. Purposeful hydrogen processes are wasteful and expensive.

    Still, the process of hydrolysis is comparatively inexpensive based on the cost of electricity.

    The good news for hydrogen supporters is that hydrogen could become plentiful and cheap due to a phenomenon I recently read about regarding the number of solar generating installations and getting that juice onto the grid. Seems those operating the grid are creating a backlog of solar applications that they are less than capable of addressing.

    This means that getting the solar power from those few completed solar installations that are awaiting access to the grid will have an enormous amount of power that, once you’ve topped the batteries, has no place to go. In essence that is surplus solar power.

    There are other times when solar, its production ranging from high to low depending on the status of the cloud cover and the position of the sun in regard to day and night.

    The point is that our bureaucratically run electric grid is more than capable of building in a conditional state where a significant amount of power is generated but not consumed by the grid and otherwise will be wasted.

    <font face=”inherit”>Folks are already making plans for access to this surplus electricity and it is likely they will consider, given the </font>convertibility<font face=”inherit”> of hydrogen to electricity, using solar-powered electrolysis using waste solar energy to create an inventory of stored hydrogen the energy cost of which was largely going to be lost. </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>Of course, you can’t afford to build too many massive storage tanks for this surplus hydrogen – indeed, hydrogen storage is expensive in its own right. This means you’ve got to develop markets to use this surplus hydrogen storage.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>The funny thing is considering the increasing capabilities, say of solar cells which has dropped the cost of solar capture dramatically, the cost of building the solar facility to meet or exceed peak demand (which power companies do meet future demand) will inevitably result in various percentages of solar production being surplus. Adding hydrolysis to the operations of the solar farm becomes incidental and the sale of this cheap hydrogen generated from surplus solar simply becomes another income stream for the solar installation. </font>

    <font face=”inherit”>So while hydrogen is not a lead fuel for the future; it will, over time, become more abundant as a form of chemical battery used to store surplus electricity in a way that doesn’t require sodium or lithium.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>The major, massive objection to hydrogen is the use of crude oil to produce the element through a refining process that creates a significant amount of c02 as a by-product and so makes reliance on hydrogen for a carbon-free future a joke.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>The danger is that we get in too big a hurry with hydrogen adoption. Under the scenario presented, it would be developed as a result and by-product of creating too much solar power as we, at that point, are not only fully charging battery storage but producing, in real time, enough solar energy for operating the grid and then, the surplus above that is used to hydrolicize water and store hydrogen.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>Adding to the interest in delaying this just a little while longer is the development of new materials; specifically</font><font face=”inherit”> </font>2DPA-1 which is the 2-D plastic MIT invented in 2022 that is impervious to liquids and gases and is also stronger than steel. This material could significantly diminish the cost and weight of hydrogen tanks and storage.

    Still, there will be efforts to manipulate us into greater use of hydrogen as a fuel. Heck, will the “natural gas industry” gain a response to the environmentalists by repurposing the natural gas grid in a city to use hydrogen gas?

    <font face=”inherit”>

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