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 1 year, 2 months ago by  Norman Roberts.
    Kamakiri replied 3 weeks, 4 days ago 14 Members · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • Water fording depth for Aptera

    Kamakiri updated 3 weeks, 4 days ago 14 Members · 20 Replies
  • 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 1 year, 2 months 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.

  • 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.

  • luis-somoza

    August 11, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    Good Evening Everyone.

    Here where I am somewhere in the South East of the US, when there is too much rain, we get a mix of Salt water from the sea mix with rain water. The issue, it gets flooded, seriously flooded.

    The question is: What is the water depth?. Will salt water be an issue, or are you considering the possibility into the development/design ?. How safe will it be?

    Thank You.

    Best Regards.

  • len

    August 11, 2023 at 8:06 pm


    I advocate EVs in general. Regarding “Floods” for any EVTurn Around”. I only have one EV and would never go through a flood ( Our fifth season here is Monsoon ). But that was true for my ICE vehicles too!

    Re Salt.. Maybe best to see the supplier’s site/ testing

    Testing center

    • ROMAD

      August 11, 2023 at 8:21 pm

      I have owned Several ICE vehicles and have NEVER taken them through a flood as that is common sense (yeah, I know: Never underestimate the stupidity of people). However in rain, water IS splashed up around the wheels and into the engine bay, so a few concerns:

      1. How well sealed are the motors in the wheels? Are they waterproof?

      2. How well sealed is the battery and its location? Again are they waterproof?

      3. How well sealed is the bay in the nose cone where the electronics are located? Will the electronics units be waterproof?

      • ImAlwaysMIA

        August 12, 2023 at 8:35 am

        1) Sealed and waterproof as tested by Elaphe

        2) Unknown since battery pack still doesn’t have a final design, but probably sealed and waterproof since it will be tucked away within the vehicle shell.

        3) 🤷‍♂️

      • david-marlow

        August 12, 2023 at 4:39 pm

        There are still many things not known to answer this question.

      • george-hughes

        August 12, 2023 at 7:17 pm

        I wouldn’t suggest that the ability to float and to be, essentially, a vehicle designed to operate in flood conditions is not at all a design priority. It will be designed to protect the occupants against electrical shock if the vehicle were to be inadvertently submerged.

        The Aptera ‘tub’ from the days before CPC was constructed and bonded together with the honeycomb adhesive that made the body, by definition, inherently buoyant. Though strong and light, the CF panels are not bonded together with the honeycomb filler and, unless it is designed to be a ‘water tight’ is probably not the case as the panels all include access points and even drain plugs, much like a steel-bodied vehicle.

        I suspect one of our video experts might look at the assembly design/process and determine, for instance, the likely breach points into the body structure and how someone intent on making their Aptera waterproof, could use flex-seal products to make theirs ‘a floater.’ It may be easier than one thinks.

        In my flights of fancy – or is that fantasy – I see an Aptera rigged for the water with ‘big-foot’ sized wheels on the front and an attachment that converts the third-wheel motor into a powered hydrofoil. Engineering that might fit some unique use cases – high speed patrol on large bodies of water or even quick all terrain military vehicles.

        • Kamakiri

          September 2, 2023 at 9:30 am

          I just want to point out that many of the CF-SMC have cross-hatched areas for adhesive bonding. AFAIK, constructed as such, it will be watertight at those connections/joints/seams.

    • luis-somoza

      August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

      Ok,, case in point, what happens when there is a mix of salt water and rain water and no where to turn around to..

      Take a look:


      Even if the vehicle is just parked, it becomes a hazard.


      • wingsounds13

        September 1, 2023 at 3:15 am

        My suggestion: if you are in a potential flood zone I would recommend evacuating your EV and yourself before the flooding occurs. Reasonably, I would suggest the same, EV or no EV. If you are unable to evacuate your vehicle then (if possible) move it to a safe place and consider it a loss. EV or ICE, flooded cars are a risk of one type or another.

        • luis-somoza

          September 1, 2023 at 7:30 pm

          So does that mean the insurance rate will be higher given that the potential to become a total loss and a threat to others is greater in areas where storms are regular life experience? . I think the important thing in all this, it is not to whom you pass the buck, but rather how do you want your product to project a sense of safety and security which includes no to become a liability to others.

          • Mike-Mars

            September 2, 2023 at 3:21 am

            An ICE vehicle is usually a total loss too. Water in the cylinders + wet electrics aren’t good.

      • george-hughes

        September 2, 2023 at 9:21 am

        I think the saving grace benefiting Aptera is its component subsystem method of assembly. The notion offered by Nathan Armstrong way back when, was that Aptera could be as easily disassembled as assembled.

        This concept was presumably continued as a theme with Aptera (I hope so) because of its commitment to a ‘multi-generational’ life for the vehicle which implies that in 20 years you replace everything but the carbon fiber body and in-wheel motors. With batteries, solar cells, seats, electronics/controllers, etc. all ultimately recycled all in the name of sustainability.

        I haven’t heard much on the sustainability claims recently but it is pretty obvious that much of the sustainability logic was inherent in Steve and Chris’ thinking. ( Oh, and I would really love it if they’d, when talking to investors and the press, note how the CF body – the golden key to the lightweight aerodynamic promise of Aptera – can be assembled in less than two hours and disassembled in the same amount of time.

        What does this mean to Aptera and flooding? Well, considering the three most expensive parts (motors, battery, body) of the Aptera are impervious to water – salt or fresh – means that with re-manufacturing not only possible and feasible, it is possible to fully recover an Aptera.

        The difference is the body shell. Aptera’s is carbon fiber and SMC fiberglass. This compares to almost every other vehicle, the vast majority of which use steel. The real problem with a steel vehicle being flooded is that they not only rust, but because of the process of assembly, it is impossible to economically dismantle and reassemble the vehicle. (Down to frame restoration is a monumental task reserved for high-value classic cars owned by folks like Jay Leno

        It is obvious that if you could dismantle an complete Aptera into its six sub-systems in a reverse of the assembly in a matter of two hours and you can replace, wholesale, any of the subsystems that are compromised by water down to the simplified wiring harness, in a matter of two hours and replace with a new or even used (or updated) subsystem, and that flooded car is ‘repairable’.

        I think that is the point; the Aptera, with just a little thought and engineering that may have already been incorporated into its design (or could be) the champion of right to repair because, well, hell – it really is repairable 🙂 in the case of flooding.

        That would not be something one could say about any other vehicle.

        And that is something that insurance companies and leasing companies should take into consideration in valuing Aptera’s in the wild.

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