Water fording depth for Aptera

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Water fording depth for Aptera

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Water fording depth for Aptera

  • Water fording depth for Aptera

    Posted by jason-dupont on July 14, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Any word (or ideas) on what the safe fording depth might be? I have to cross an intermittently flowing creek here in Arizona to get off our property so I’ve ordered the off road option for the extra clearance. I was totally sold on Rivian when I saw their video of the R1T going through 3 feet of water. Don’t plan on that for our Aptera, but to be able to safely ford depths of 12 inches would be very useful for our situation, where there’s at least some water in the creek about 6 months out of the year. Where we cross is mostly silt and fine rock. Not worried about hitting rocks. It’s the water that concerns me, you know potentially getting in to the cab, the wheel motors, or batteries. We have a Tesla model 3, and we cross over no problems when the water is 15 inches or less. Any more than that and we have to go in the Tacoma.

    • This discussion was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Norman Roberts.
    destroyor86gmail-com replied 6 months, 1 week ago 8 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Water fording depth for Aptera

  • len

    July 14, 2022 at 8:37 pm


    I am a fellow Arizonian who “use to” have to cross the Santa Cruz river to get home until a multi-million dollar bridge was built down here. So now, typically in monsoon season only… I have to cross one Arizona Crossing to get into our ranch community.

    This is how I am thinking through this….

    I don’t go through a raging wash even with my truck, why would I consider that with an electric Aptera?

    I am retired so don’t have to go out in a monsoon storm ( and get my Aptera dirty😉) , but understand a storm can come on unexpected.

    I will be mindful the the Aptera only weights 1800-2200 pounds

    The std wheel pants have 5” GC. Off road covers may be 7” GC.

    The belly is about 9” GC

    The flat surface of the wheel covers are a flat surface for rushing water to “push”, So

    I would wait for a wash stops running after a meal or coffee break on high ground, (I would wait it out)

    I would not try to go through more than about 5-7” of water that is flowing. Forget about it!

    I would think Elaphe would give some guidance based in their testing…

    You know what they say to us here. Turn around Don’t drown!

    And you know the wash silt that builds under the flowing wash water…

    I hope this helps. Stay safe!

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  Len Nowak.
    • jason-dupont

      July 14, 2022 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks, Len. Appreciate your feedback. We don’t cross the creek when it’s raging. But it’s not a wash, it’s Sabino creek, so there’s water that we have to drive through 120-150 days a year. The Tacoma can safely cross at 200 CFS (cubic feet per second), at anywhere from 24-30 inches depth, but we only get 5-6 days of that in a year. Anything above 200 we wait for the water to recede, which can take a day or two (which sometimes means missing work/school, or not getting home). We only cross in the Model 3 when its about 12 CFS or less. It could probably handle more, but there’s not much clearance, and I don’t want to risk it getting stuck in the silt. So, would only drive the Aptera across when the creek is dry, or pretty low. But would be nice to know if it can safely navigate a certain depth of fairly still water.

  • curtis-cibinel

    July 14, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    This is from an old Aptera owners club video… Lol

    Disclaimer: this may not accurately represent the fording depth…

    • jason-dupont

      July 14, 2022 at 10:28 pm

      Well alright. Looks like we’re good to go.

  • david-marlow

    July 15, 2022 at 2:35 am

    I am sure there will be many various stunts tried with the Aptera, once people jet there hands on them, it will be very interesting on how they turn out.

    • jason-dupont

      July 15, 2022 at 7:10 am

      Not a stunt. Just a legitimate question whether the vehicle can handle crossing a small amount of water on a fairly regular basis.

      • david-marlow

        July 15, 2022 at 8:27 am

        I am referring to those who will want to find out what can be done, see above photo shopped picture of it floating.

        Will float, fly (with added wings), climb snow covered hills, how close to an actual super car is it?

  • spenser-pousette

    September 16, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Good question, even if the there is clearance, can the wheel motors be fully submerged? Will water come in the door by chance?

    • george-hughes

      September 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

      They had a video about the Elaphe wheels – it must be a year or more ago – that featured the principles from Elaphe. The reading at that point was the in-wheel motors are sealed both physically and electrically and can operate submerged according to their tests. Hell, I think they even froze the wheel in what one would call a block of ice and, with the torque was great enough to break the ice into cubes and operate normally.

      Nathan Armstrong, who is/was CTO, is responsible for the rumor that Aptera floats.

      With the only internal body ‘vents’ being in the windshield cowl and the exit vent on the high-tail area next to the charge port, the only leakage would be through the door which is likely to leak if submerged for a period of time, meaning the Aptera would remain afloat, kind of like the old Beetle. (I remember a VW ad that pictured a ‘floating’ bug.)

      It should be as capable, electronically of operating in standing water as the Tesla – the motors and power cables are secure when submerged – and given the Aptera’s low side wind resistance – yes the flat parts of the pants would be subject to pressure from a rampaging creek but the overall fluid dynamics of the Aptera from crosswinds would translate to mitigate its overall lack of mass suggesting it may be better than most other vehicles in the context of a stream running wild.

      Would I try to ford the Mississippi River at any point starting 100 miles north of Cairo, Ill – not on your life. Still, the Aptera may be more capable in this respect than some vehicles weighing as much as five times more.

      That said, the overall formula of light weight, secure structure and fluid dynamics suggests it could out-perform virtually every slab-sided alternative. Not a recommended use, for sure … but if necessity demands, you may be better off in Aptera than you would with a steel-bodied Ice brick.

  • Fran

    September 17, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Not only can Aptera float, but be wary that Aptera will float, as in “float away.” Aptera weighs an average of 2200 pounds with driver. To float it only has to displace one cubic meter of water, which weighs 2200 pounds. That’s about 35 cubic feet of water. A rough estimate of that volume of water tight Aptera body could be when the water reaches one foot above the bottom of the belly. Since the ground clearance is 7-9 inches, one foot above that would be 19-21 inches. So if the water is about 6 inches below the top of the wheel pants, your Aptera just floated away unless the front is just so heavy that only the rear wheel goes afloat. But this is without any water displacement by the tires, wheel motors, inverters and wires under the hood, front and rear suspensions, and large battery pack, etc. Overall I would estimate that something is going to float when the water reaches half way up the wheel pants (12-15 inches deep). Even if no damage is done to the electrical equipment by the water, You may float down stream and be sorry. When the Aptera is fully trimmed including the rubber boots around the suspension at the body and wheel pants (that will slow the water from entering under the hood), it will be even less depth that makes it all float away.

  • destroyor86gmail-com

    September 17, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    This thread got me curious so I start looking at the wheel to body connection:



    Correct me if I’m wrong but it looks like they have rigid structural support at the top and bottom. Com wire(?) and/or cooling tube(?) bundle in the middle.

    The bottom will likely be a snap-on hard plastic cover containing – structural rods + power cable.

    my guess regarding water potentially getting into:

    the cab/batteries – with Watertight Wire Grommets and watertight silicone seal widely available, if the build quality is good I wouldn’t worry about this.

    the wheel motors – if water is getting inside the wheel motor itself that would be a design and/or build quality issue. If you submerge the outside of the wheel motors plus the bottom connection wouldn’t the whole section be moist for a very long time? Worst case scenario in humid climate it will never dry out completely.

    There’s no shroud/guard/hard plastic cover for the middle wire/tube connection so whatever is on the outside need to combat long term UV and pebble damage. Subjecting this section to water just seems like a bad idea.

    My take on this is to just go in the Tacoma.

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