Ground Clearance

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Ground Clearance

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Ground Clearance

  • Ground Clearance

     GLENN ZAJIC updated 1 day, 20 hours ago 38 Members · 72 Posts
  • Thomas Bushaw

    Member
    January 11, 2022 at 11:35 am

    Our driveway from the street is rather steep (going up from the street). I’m a bit concerned that the the wheel covers (both front and back) may scrape the pavement (front wheel covers hitting the pavement before the wheel themselves reach the slope; rear cover dragging on the street/sidewalk after the rear wheel has started up the slope). I’m guessing this won’t be a problem, but I’d like to know ahead of time if I have to deal with it (I’d hate to have to get the off-road upgrade just so I can get up my driveway!).

    Are there specs available regarding (1) How high the bottom of the cover is above the bottom of the wheel and (2) How far the front of the cover is from the center of the wheel. (Plus similar specs for the rear wheel.) With these numbers (and the “geometry” of my driveway) I think I can do the math to figure out if this is an issue or not.

    • This discussion was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  Thomas Bushaw. Reason: Typo
  • Len Nowak

    Moderator
    January 11, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    Search FAQ Spreadsheet in this forum

    The answers posted “back then” in Aptera’s answers are there.

    We have heard they improved the wheel fairing’s aerodynamics further so until Production intent it is all evolving

    • Paul Schultz

      Member
      January 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm

      It is still a good question. Aptera should commit to an ‘approach angle’ and ‘departure angle’ specification for the wheel fairings/skirts. Some driveway entries almost look like a curb and can be very abrupt. Having the approach and departure angles would help and still allow them to tweak the fairing as long as they remain within these specs. Not an unreasonable level of detail to ask for in my opinion.

      Of course an answer is to the driveway could be to approach it at an angle and not straight on, if possible. This lessens how abrupt the approach angle will be for the wheel fairing/skirt.

      • Thomas Bushaw

        Member
        January 11, 2022 at 4:14 pm

        Yes, an angled approach would be an option and would reduce the approach angle… hopefully enough. But I would not want to rely on this as I am bound to forget from time to time.

        • Lou Verner

          Member
          January 11, 2022 at 4:47 pm

          I too have steep driveway, but for me, and likely many others, angled approach not an option. I’m getting Off-road option for that reason, but will go back to standard package if modifications allow me to access my driveway without damaging fairings.

  • John LaRocque

    Member
    January 11, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    They’ve said this about clearances (from the FAQ sheet):

    “Right now it’s 14/12 deg on the front and 14/20 deg on the rear with 5″ of wheel cover clearance at each wheel. This is better than a lot of small cars, including sports cars. Also, the Off-Road add-ons will increase this significantly.”

    “It will handle most potholes nicely with a 5″ clearance and good entry and exit angles on the wheel covers. Anything a Honda Civic can handle, we can too.”

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  John LaRocque.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  John LaRocque.
  • John Trotter

    Moderator
    January 13, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    I reserved the off-road package because of a problem I had with my Tesla Model Y – Performance. The car would sometimes scrape on the crest of the driveway, not entry or exit. (That puts the rub close to the middle of the battery!) In my case, the problem had to be solved by grinding a half-inch off the concrete. In our neighborhood of 1920s and 1930s homes, it’s not an unusual situation.

    • GLENN ZAJIC

      Member
      January 13, 2022 at 7:47 pm

      I too have concerns with regards to my driveway. It is quite steep and has a crest at the top, which is the entry/exit point. This crest is what keeps rains from flowing down my driveway, and I actually had to increase its height a little a few years back. When coming home, I believe with the three wheels, it will be easy to take this diagonally and not hi-center. I do that now. But leaving, with the weight shifted back I may drag the belly or rub the front edge of the rear wheel boot. I would prefer to not get the off road package, but I may have to. If I can’t get one of you early recipients to test it for me, I might make a mock-up with bike tires and cardboard to see if off road will be needed. Of course I am not asking somebody to scratch theirs up so I don’t have to. It would be a ‘no damage’ slow motion observation. Maybe by then there will be some for test drives, as I am only about 30 minutes from Carlsbad.

      • Thomas Bushaw

        Member
        January 13, 2022 at 8:48 pm

        I took some measurements of my driveway plus the Aptera specs provided in this thread to do a little “back of the envelope” simulation of how an Aptera would get up my driveway. See the attached video. The animation is fairly crude, but the dimensions are reasonably accurate. And (yay!) it seems to show that the Aptera does indeed have sufficient clearance for my driveway. The street is downhill at the approach to my driveway and the driveway then heads up (steepest is about 12 degrees) to a ~30’x30′ pad in front of the garage. I was worried that when the Aptera was spanning the gutter at the street (the low point) and started up the hill, the fairings might hit either in the front or in the back. Also, the crest at the top of the slope doesn’t appear to present a problem either. Of course, as the final specs for the production Aptera materialize, this all may have to be revisited.

        0:14

        Driveway Movie Version 5

        0:14

        • John Wiley

          Member
          January 14, 2022 at 6:41 am

          Thomas – I tried to view your video but my iPad says “video format not supported”. Is there another format available for this? Or a suggestion on what I could do differently to view the video?

          • Thomas Bushaw

            Member
            January 14, 2022 at 8:52 am

            It’s in 4K format (probably overkill) which may be the problem (the posted version does view fine using Safari on my Mac). I’m attaching a standard HD version here. If that doesn’t work, I’ll post it on YouTube and provide the link.

            0:14

            Driveway Movie (1080)

            0:14

            • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Thomas Bushaw. Reason: Typo
  • Jonathan Jansson

    Member
    June 21, 2022 at 11:36 am

    The gamma render reveal showed the belly of the Aptera notably lower. Will this make the Aptera a low ground clearance (< 6.5 inches) vehicle? Any guess as to what the ground clearance will be? I’m not too worried about the wheel pants as they ride up with the wheels and scraping them will simply be a cosmetic issue. The belly could make some close approaches to speed bumps/humps, though and scraping the aluminum belly pan could perhaps breach the cooling system.

  • Len Nowak

    Moderator
    June 21, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Last I heard or saw…

    5” at wheel pants which may be about 7” at belly but no hard sheet shared on that yet

  • John Trotter

    Moderator
    June 21, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    I noticed this as well and it made me more certain that “Offroad” is an option I want, although details are missing on what that option really is. My Tesla MYP scraped it’s “belly” at the top of my driveway, even though this was not the lowest flat-road clearance of the car.

  • Dennis Swaney

    Member
    June 21, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    Looks like it is less than either my Miata or my Jetta Wagon. Both of them would scrape the driveway pulling in or the street pulling out until I installed Bridjit curb ramps at the bottom of the driveway

  • Wayne Nuske

    Member
    June 22, 2022 at 4:28 am

    I took this photo while in the city one day. This guy was actually stuck over the shallow curb when exiting a hotel. It took a while for him to release himself from his embarrassment. My Aptera will do no such harm to my ego!

    PS, Check out his number plate, says it all!

  • James Gatan

    Member
    June 22, 2022 at 4:59 am

    The steep angled dip of my driveway meeting the street gutter, the narrow tall speed bumps at work (and everywhere else) and the concrete stopping blocks are my concerns. So I opted for the ORK and it’s convenience (and peace of mind) it offers. The extra clearance of the front and rear wheel pants also helps to have both easier access to inspecting tires (for punctures, tire wear, etc) and the Schrader tire valve (air adjustments) as well. The extra clearance would definitely help as well, in running over those unavaidable pot holes, esp the middle area of lanes (rear wheel tire..on target). Yeah, I’ll eat the 3% efficiency hit. Besides, with the continuous trickle solar charging (even while SoCal driving), it’ll likely be a wash.

    • Dennis Swaney

      Member
      June 22, 2022 at 8:24 am

      James, for your driveway I can recommend the Bridjit.

      • James Gatan

        Member
        June 22, 2022 at 8:52 am

        Yes thanks Dennis. I did read your earlier post of the Bridjit. Cost a pretty penny though. A few Benjies less than the OR Kit that I pre ordered (subject to change). I just might get a set.

        • Dennis Swaney

          Member
          June 22, 2022 at 4:47 pm

          I also opted for a second center section so my price was higher. But the cost is way less than body repairs a few times a year. One thing I noticed is that after a 10 months use, it has “creeped” almost a foot to the left. However, I’ve had some big delivery trucks going & out, along with the weekly garbage & recycling trucks (though they pretty much miss it), and last week the pre-monsoon street sweeper came through (he tried to not hit it with the brushes).

  • Sonya Brown

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 11:34 am

    I’ve just joined the community and was wondering if the Aptera would scrape the crest of my driveway. I have a Model S that did until I activated the suspension to always raise when approaching driveway. Sure would be nice if that could be added to the Aptera. Or I’ll probably have to change my order to the off-road package.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Gabriel Kemeny. Reason: Title fix
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Norman Roberts.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Gabriel Kemeny.
  • Y Z

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 11:48 am

    The Aptera seems to have pretty generous clearance under it for the most part. There isn’t a bumper hanging down in front so that shouldn’t drag, and the body of the car overall is fairly high up for the most part.

  • Len Nowak

    Moderator
    July 14, 2022 at 11:48 am

    He heard recently they have improved the wheel covers and made it more robust…but haven’t heard the angle of approach and there appears to be a protective scuff segment in the front. Originally we were hearing 5”GC.

    As you know the angle of approach of the nosecone is amazing/much higher.

    I hope the upcoming Gamma reveal will touch on this as we all wait for fuller details as they race to production intent

    I have the Off Road kit in my reservation too but hope I will not need it . I love the aerodynamic look

    I hope that helps!

  • Jonathan Reni

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Model S clearance is 4.6″. Aptera FAQ says that wheel pants clearance will be at least 5″ and the belly will likely be a bit higher. Considering the high nose of the Aptera, I’m guessing you wont have any clearance issues.

  • Thomas Bushaw

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    A few months ago I did a little mock-up for my driveway. The dimensions and clearances were estimates (and have probably changed since then). The vulnerable point appears to be the trailing end of the front wheel pants. I think it will be okay, at least for my driveway.

  • Curtis Cibinel

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    The safe angle of attack for the aptera is quite high since the distance between the tire and front of the wheel pants is very little compared to a traditional car. Aptera (red area is the latest) can seem to handle a ~16 degree approach angle and a model s can only handle about ~12. Aptera will not have any extra challenges with driveway crests and likely will have less issues.

  • John Trotter

    Moderator
    July 14, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    I still worry about the belly of the car itself. This questions comes up and everyone focusses on the wheel pants. I still think a vulnerability is the cresting of a sharp driveway top. The 6″ overall clearance on my Model Y was fine front and back, but reduced to “minus half inch” in the middle of the battery pan. 1K$ for grinding the concrete fixed it. I ordered Off-Road, just in case, but any clarification we get on that option always runs off into the wheel pants discussion. I am even more nervous because the last renders for the Gamma seemed to show an even longer, lower belly.

  • Markus Schmid

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    On a webinar from May 2021 (video on YT channel “Aptera Reboot”) Nathan Armstrong talked of 5.75″ to 6″ ground clearance, quite the same as for “normal cars”. That would have been Aptera’s Alpha prototype.

    • John Trotter

      Moderator
      July 14, 2022 at 2:32 pm

      Actually, my “normal car” has 10 to 11 inch clearance. 6″ will not pass a sharp driveway crest. And the place it rubs will be soft “plastic”. Look around at the scuffs on speed bumps, (nominally 3 to 4 inches). When I ordered the car, a spec was given that belly clearance was 9 inches and Off-Road would add a couple inches. That works for me, but Nathan’s comment and Chris’ focus on the wheel pants, (along with an in-person look) makes me wonder if they are paying attention. Trust, but verify. Remember, California has all sorts of “low riders”, so “normal” in San Diego (or Fresno, my location) may not be what you think.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  John Trotter.
      • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Gabriel Kemeny.
      • Markus Schmid

        Member
        July 14, 2022 at 2:41 pm

        150 mm clearance for my old Ford Focus, nothing modified, never had a problem.

        As we see there seem to be many “normals” and sure, many Americans wouldn’t even consider calling Ford Focus a car… 🤣😉

      • John Trotter

        Moderator
        July 14, 2022 at 2:44 pm

        Looked tight when I had a chance to see it.

        • Marty Kursten

          Member
          July 14, 2022 at 4:28 pm

          From the looks of it the wheel skirts likely won’t have enough clearance when driving off a curbside…

  • Peter Jorgensen

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    The alpha vehicles had tons of belly clearance.
    The beta vehicles sit much lower and don’t have much clearance.

    Please keep this in mind…

    • Markus Schmid

      Member
      July 14, 2022 at 2:11 pm

      I didn’t grab that one, thanks!

      It shouldn’t matter in my case but might be important for other. Nonetheless I’m also eager to know the final dimensions, just out of curiosity.

    • John Trotter

      Moderator
      July 14, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Peter. See my picture. I was laying on the floor and it did not look like tons.

      • Peter Jorgensen

        Member
        July 15, 2022 at 7:26 am

        In that case beta would be even lower.

  • Sonya Brown

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I was mainly concerned with the belly because unless I have my Model S raised to the highest suspension setting, the belly scrapes the crest in my driveway. Think I might get the off-road package to be on the safe side unless they offer an adjustable suspension. Seems like they kinda follow some of Tesla’s features 🤔

  • James Gatan

    Member
    July 14, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve measured the front air dam bumper clearance of my SkyActiv Mazda6 at 7”. Enough clearance to approach my steep driveway ramp without scraping the underside. Since the Aptera only has the stock wheel pant clearance of +/- 5”, I decided to pre ordered the Off Road Kit (8” clearance, if I’m not mistaken).

    I don’t mind the range hit with the lifted ORK. Besides, the difference from stock range (of the 400mi pack) will pretty much be a wash, with the Full Solar trickle charging I also pre ordered. The extra clearance too, will provide ample space/access for Schrader tire valve adjustments (plus will clear those tall pesky concrete parking stops, tall abrupt speed bumps, pot holes or any road imperfections encountered in Los Angeles streets).

    Imagine adjusting the tire pressures of your two fronts and single rear, with those stock low underside wheel pant clearances. You don’t even see a sliver of the wheel rims, at all.

    Hope I’m wrong. But I’d wager that it will be a royal PITA chore, just to reach the Schrader valves.

  • Dennis Swaney

    Member
    July 15, 2022 at 10:27 am

    With my cars, the driveway crest is not a concern, but the rolled curb to street interface was. The cars would hit either the driveway pavement going in or the street pavement going out. I figure it won’t be a problem with an Aptera since I solved the problem by getting the Bridg-It curb ramp.

  • michael james

    Member
    September 17, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    I have speed bumps in my complex. Will Aptera wheel base, so low to the ground, be able to go over them?

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    September 17, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    Aptera is a vehicle designed to be driven, just like any other vehicle on the market: The company will not release a vehicle that can’t negotiate common, everyday road hazards.

    “Wheelbase” is defined as “the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.” I think what you’re asking about is “ground clearance”. The distance from the lowest point of the Aptera’s belly to the ground beneath it is approximately 5″.

  • robert engelhart

    Member
    September 18, 2022 at 7:16 am

    I think your missing the point of his question. Can the aptera go over typical speed bumps without damage? Obviously it’s a car designed to be driven why even state that. Speed bumps in Florida can be 3 1/2 inches high, Speed Humps can be up to 6 inches high. Obviously you can see the concern as the wheel pants are measured right now at 3 1-2 inches. Making them so low to gain a few miles seem very stupid to me. I really want this car to work but they need to address these questions. The new 2023 Chevy Equinox EV is looking pretty damn good to me starting at 30k.

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