MemberApril 28, 2022 at 9:36 am
My question revolves around current architecture and future compatibility. With the costs of lithium, nickel (from Russia) skyrocketing and cobalt (you don’t even want to go there) where will early adopters of first gen Aptera’s be when CATL brings there sustainable sodium ion batteries online in 2023. The battery chemistry in sodium ion is uses basically (I know over simplified) salt, prussian blue, charcoal, and aluminum. They can be manufactured on the same assembly line current lithium ion cells. The energy density (first gen) will be about the same as Lifepo4 chemistry (160 watts/kg) with plans of gen 2 being 200+ watts/kg. These batteries do have lower voltages (I think that’s an issue), but can be drained to 0% and charged 10,000 times. Don’t take if from me, check it out at https://www.catl.com/en/news/665.html
Ok, now that all of that is out of the way, will the Aptera hardware/software be compatible with this new technology, or will we have to replace the inverters and or other hardware? With the modularity that’s been discussed would it make sense to get a 250 mile battery in the hopes that we could replace the battery pack (cells and BMS) with sodium ion and have 600 miles of range with the size of 1000 mile pack? I would be cool with that. There’s other advantages as well, reduced costs, less ecological damage, human rights issues… Just way better for the planet.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 10:02 am
Sodium Ion has never been used in a production vehicle. Aptera is not making use of prototype technologies since they need to produce at scale. The basic design, solar and wheel motors are unique enough – they dont need every component to be an unproven technology; they would never ship and would cost a fortune. They need components they can source.
LFP batteries are being produced with 230 wh/kg by goshen high tech and others are making 210 wh/kg. This is still far less than the 280 wh/kg for the best 2170 cells but since LFP needs less thermal management it is pretty similar at a pack level.
Reading up on lithium from sea water the process has been done at a small scale and requires ~$5 of power to extract 1kg of lithium which if prices stay north of $50,000 USD / ton (currently it is $80,000) so it is viable. Side effects are clean water and green hydrogen; the process can integrate with desalination plants. Devil is in the details and the process will take years to scale out but long term lithium isn’t a huge problem. https://www.mining.com/scientists-develop-cheap-and-easy-method-to-extract-lithium-from-seawater/
PS: Forum ate my edit again. I noticed bad spacing and did an edit and it nuked it. I recommend you always put the text of any post in your clipboard until you check if it is working.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 11:18 am
Hi Curtis, lithium will be the energy density king for the foreseeable future. My question is about the future and compatibility. I’m definitely not saying they should use sodium batteries. Sodium ion will become mainstream in the future with CATL behind it.
Currently the INR21700-50E Version No. V1.0 cell has a charge specification of 0 to 45°C
I live in Minnesota where anytime after Oct 31 and May 15 it can be bellow 0C and stay there for 4 months. So solar charging is a no go during the winter months with the current batteries. (I hate saying that since I am an investor)
Sodium Ion has Wide Operation-Temperature Range from -70 to 100 °C and they will not burn in a thermal runaway.
I’m just asking the question, will my first gen Aptera be modular enough to be convertible when sodium ion becomes mainstream? Should I just get the 250 mile battery and save the $19K in hopes of getting a battery in the future that will charge anytime its outside regardless of the temp??
Or does it make sense to hold off buying one which is bad for everyone? I’m hoping the moderator will see this thread and chime in. I don’t know any other way to get this question answered if there is an answer.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 11:28 am
Let me play with a refinement of the question.
First, we’re all dealing with component of an EV … a battery. It has “x” number of ports and connectors, has a specific voltage and holds a specific amount of energy at that voltage.
Most folks experience with batteries are at the level of experience of the AA, AAA, C and D level of understanding. We/They all know that I can replace a Ray-o-vac D-cell in my big flashlight with ni-cad or Li-ion rechargeable battery by plain substitution because the battery output – not power in its cells – is the same as the traditional cell.
While it may be silly, you could probably align enough AAA basic batteries to generate the 48-400/800 volt power source to make an EV move.
Indeed, in most circumstances it doesn’t make any difference what battery or even the source of the battery, thing that run on electricity run on electrons.
The point is from an operational standpoint, while the battery type will make a difference because of its aggregate power storage to weight and its form factor (case), EVs run on electrons whether those electrons come from chemistry or are originally generated by coal, oil, PV, wind, nuclear or as a result of a chemical reaction.
To me this means that that battery tech is more fungible than most of these discussions imply with the differences being in various performance areas from weight, to size, to longevity, to charge speed, to fire danger, etc. etc. etc.
The biggest challenge in adapting batteries of one chemistry to another would be in the controller including battery management software. Since, most BMS mfgs know that batteries are basically a fungible commodity, one would surmise the wise programmer would make his/her software work with as many different battery types as possible recognizing, say that there are basic incompatibilities between some chemistries that can’t be easily dealt with in software. (Ni-Cad v Li-Ion require different chargers that are incompatible.)
That said, with either more robust BMSes or just alternative BMSes to eliminate whatever incompatibilities arise, with enough money, any battery chemistry ‘could work’ with the Aptera.
My belief about the eventual role of the Aptera is that it will be the first vehicle to be retrofitted to new energy technology as it will be the test drone of choice for most independent entrepreneurial testing.
And if a new tech is feasible but just not adopted, it may get its earliest use and availability in Aptera as an aftermarket replacement … and possibly as an Aptera installed option or alternative.
Personally, I’m comfortable predicting that some drag race champion (he’ll win) will modify their 3-wheeled dragster by dropping about 15 kwh out of the 25 kwh battery pack to save weight as well as boosting the power output of the Elaphe IWM to its native 70 hp from 50 hp … or replace the IWM altogether with more powerful units.
How do I know this?
<b itemprop=”name” style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; letter-spacing: 0px;”>Flaming Fury: Jet Dragster Breaks the 200-mph Barrier at Irwindale
MemberApril 29, 2022 at 9:44 am
George, you make a valid point. It’s all about the angry pixies. I just build a 10.4A 13S BMS 48v 18650 battery pack for my bike. I could build a 400V battery with whatever cells but, finding a workable BMS with the appropriate balance leads and having it in the correct form factor it would be nearly impossible for an individual. I hope they sell 100’s of thousands of these and the aftermarket explodes
But while we wait for the aftermarket to catch up, new battery chemistries will become mainstream, I still have my main question. I’m betting that Aptera with their cutting edge, well bleeding edge use of tech will adopt something new as scale of economy and sustainability change. Cost is always a driving factor and keeping pricing down to a minimum so most everyone can afford Aptera’s product is key. It is inevitable that the $25,900 price tag will go up substantially when the prod model is released.
I look forward to the day when someone is driving down the road and sees my Aptera in their rear-view mirror say to the other person in the car, “hey that’s one of those Aptera’s. I hear they are FAST and not that expensive” (I’m hoping to make a ton of money here) Sorry got off subject… Squirrel
I should also include why I need a different chemistry than what’s currently available. I live in Minnesota where any time after Oct 31 and May 15 it can be bellow 0C and stay there for 4 months. So, is solar charging a no go during the winter months with the current battery?? Will the Aptera BMS stop the charge cycle like they hopefully do in a lifepo4 battery (I hate printing this since I am an investor)
From what I understand the current pack is using INR21700-50E cells and the manufactures data sheet shows the charge specification of 0 to 45C. Does this mean I have to heat my garage or heat the inside of my Altera to charge??
With that all said, have the engineers taken into account the real need for new battery pack? Will the first production release hardware and body tubs be compatible with whatever they come up with in the future. They have talked about modularity, and I guess only the engineers can answer this. I only posted sodium ion as it seems that it has great potential (I’ve invested in this as well) and it checks all the boxes for me.
Oh, and check out the Endurance Truck. Uses the same motors (Elaphe L1500) as the Aptera and they’re 147HP each. Humm a 3.77#/hp Aptera (that’s better than a 2006 Bugatti Veyron)…. Sound like we will need some aftermarket parts, giddy up! Rectifiers, super capacitors, and 1/0 welding cable will be the new nitrous.
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Garry Sandeen.
MemberApril 29, 2022 at 10:03 am
I believe, (I am sure someone will correct me if wrong) That Aptera will use an Aptera defined, customized version of the Elaphe 700 motor with a top speed of 1,500 (A constraint limiting the top speed of the vehicle to 110MPH). This motor has a peak power of 75kW, 50kW at continuous power (That is the figure listed in the configuration tool)
MemberApril 29, 2022 at 1:36 pm
There’s a lot of misinformation floating around, that’s for sure. I just started really looking at this Monday and it will take awhile to get my arms around all the facts. Yes, I have since learned that the motor is not the same as the Lordstown motor. Hot-rodding an brushless motor is based on the frequency the motor controller is capable of. I have a number of Milwaukee 18V power tools and it is amazing how much power (work over time) they generate. Once the warranty is up I’m guessing people will figure out how to get in and start changing parameters. 😀
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 11:41 am
Batteries will get better and cheaper in the future, that doesn’t render any cars that are already on the road obsolete.
You want two things from batteries, enough range and enough battery life. Aptera will achieve both with NMC batteries. There is a limit to how much range is useful, it’s about 450 real world miles, that’s all day driving in the boondocks. The requirement for highway driving is lower because that sort of driving is limited by the size of the human bladder not the range of the car. The 600 mile Aptera will meet the “good as it ever needs to be” spec, and the 400 mile version is good enough for most real world driving needs. As for battery life, at 10 miles per KWh the battery life of a well cared for battery (charging to 80-90%) in the 400 mile version will be about 400,000 miles (about 1000 cycles) and with an abused battery (charging to 100%) it will still be 200,000 miles (500 cycles). That’s 20-40 years, more than enough.
When batteries get cheap enough that stupid range (i.e. using a huge battery rather than efficiency) Aptera will lose it’s competitive advantage, i.e. lots of range for little money. However I think that time is at least a decade away. What’s going to keep batteries expensive is not technology, which is going to get much better, but the capital requirements to build out the capacity required to make enough batteries to run all of the worlds cars. Many new battery plants have to be built, new mines have to be opened, new refineries for the metals have to be built. All of that will take a lot of money and a long time.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 12:03 pm
Viably charging from the sun or 120V will not generally be practical regardless of battery cost changes. Aptera has unique competitive advantages. Using more energy will drive power costs up as grids need to expand to handle large numbers or power hungry EVs. Not saying home charging will be near gas prices any time soon it will go up.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 2:23 pm
Two days ago I drove solo from Lorneville, Nova Scotia to Drummondville, Quebec, 593 miles. I could have driven further, but accommodation gets way more expensive as you get closer to Montreal.
In my younger days, I would have continued, and completed the whole 770 mile journey to the northern Adirondacks in one day.
450 miles is not the real world limit of a days driving, at least not in Canada, especially with two people sharing the driving.
My 60 kWh Aptera will be put to good use.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 2:36 pm
Have fun with “A Better Route Planner”. They have Aptera 1000 and 600 “gemini”. You can simulate the shorter ranges by configuring the vehicle with lots of battery degradation. 50KW CCS chargers are everywhere. 30-45 minutes of charging while eating a few times a day is not an issue.
PS: Interesting observation is their is not a single Tesla supercharger in Newfoundland (the island) but plenty of CCS.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 3:02 pm
Yeah I tried using A Better Route Planner to simulate making this same trip, except starting from Halifax instead of Lorneville (we go south for the winter) in a Chevy Bolt at -20 degrees. Three days of driving assuming you max out at 9 or ten hours a day. I realise that the Bolt is particularly bad at charging speed, especially in the cold, but it was what I might have been able to afford, second hand, at the time. Even now, with used car prices so high, there are scarcely any better options.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 2:49 pm
The distance I drive in a day depends on the purpose of the drive. If I am driving to get some where like Bob’s Canadian trip, I will get in the car and drive until I get there. Longest for me was a 1300 mile drive from Houston to Saint Augustine. Stop for gas only (in a Prius so not often) with snacks and drinks in the car. You just set your mind to it and do it.
I think Aptera will keep their Competitive advantage because they are innovative and small enough to have the agility to respond both to the market and emerging technology.
As far as battery tech goes only LFP is near the point of being practical for use in EVs. Also of the other ” Gee Whiz” Developments i see tauted on our forum, most are still in a lab, or too expensive/difficult to manufacture in mass for years to come.
MemberApril 28, 2022 at 3:06 pm
Congratulations on the condition of your brain. After about ten hours I can’t rely on my situational awareness like I used to , and ten hours coincides with the madness which is Montreal traffic on this trip, so that’s it for me.