Suspension development

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Suspension development

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Suspension development

  • Suspension development

     John Trotter updated 1 week, 2 days ago 31 Members · 54 Posts
  • Peter Dezendorf

    March 4, 2022 at 6:27 am

    I suppose I am like some others concerned with how Aptera will ride. Of course, the suspension is big part of the ride. The type of suspension and how it is tuned is critical. Especially as Aptera is so light. Lightness by itself, however, doesn’t mean a bad ride.

    For 20 years I rode motorcycles (sold my last one in 2019). Mostly BMW, but I had a few Ducatis. One Ducati I bought used was great, except the ride was not good. I messed the parameters, but I couldn’t get it tuned in. I went to a local dealership (Duc Pond in Winchester, VA). They worked on the bike for about an hour. Wow! The bike rode great!

    So, what is the status of suspension development?

  • Ray Holan

    March 4, 2022 at 7:23 am

    Since the engineering dept. only recently deployed their survey of Aptera reservation holders, I assume it will be a while before we hear anything definitive about suspension tuning. Perhaps not until Fall of 2022 when we are closer to actual production Apterae rolling out of the factory. I assume there are several tunings being considered. One would be a compromise between highway cruising and off-road travel. That would be a challenge. Another would be to provide buyers with a choice of tunings: regular and “sport” or “off-road”. This probably won’t be offered as it might complicate the manufacturing process. My blue-sky option would be a magneto-what-you-call-it that automatically adjusts in nanoseconds to different road conditions. Very unlikely.

  • Fanfare 100

    March 4, 2022 at 9:17 am

    At some future time I can only imagine a software-defined auto-tunes suspension based on what it foresees as the road conditions lying ahead.

  • Kayleigh Venne

    March 4, 2022 at 11:05 am

    Hi Peter! Happy Friday.

    As usual, the Aptera Team appreciates your curiosity. 💚 Thank you for asking us about this. We understand that you’re looking for more information about the ride of the vehicle and the Aptera Team looks forward to providing it. We’re confident that our production-ready vehicles will provide a smooth ride. We recently took our beta out to the track to test a few things, including the suspension, and you can learn a little more about the results here –

    We look forward to providing more concrete information in time! Thank you for your patience and for being a part of the solar mobility movement.

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Kayleigh Venne. Reason: Fixed a typo!

    Beta Hits the Track for Vehicle Dynamics Testing

  • Tim Dean

    March 8, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    With so much space behind the seats and a 500# cargo capacity (including 2 passengers) and only 1 rear suspension, there needs to be a self leveling system which compensates for cargo weight. Also, the passenger seat needs to be easily removed & re-installed to a improve cargo weight distribution & capacity for safety.

  • John Malcom

    March 8, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    I think the recently completed Beta suspension testing validated the Roush designed front and rear suspension for the operating envelope of the vehicle. Aptera will now be tuning that suspension. I am sure they have taken CG, load balancing, and other factors we are not aware of into account in the design and validation testing. I don’t believe that the front seat needs to be removed to accommodate loads up to the spec limits. Loads above the limit should not be tempted of course.

    My daughter wants the passenger seat removable so she can put her long surfboard in though😉

    • Curtis Cibinel

      March 8, 2022 at 8:10 pm

      You can probably leave the hatch ajar with the board out a few feet. This would be simpler than removing a seat on any vehicle I’ve seen. Yes it would impact aerodynamics but it shouldn’t be enough to be a big issue. Technically it should be flagged but that’s easy.

  • Tim Dean

    March 8, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    I was also considering those who may want to use their Aptera for currier or delivery service. One driver with lots of (relatively light) stuff. Maybe even install a small pizza heater or just a large flat spot on the passenger side.

    Example: 500# payload: (1) 200# driver. (9) 24can soft drink cases in passenger compartment (22lbs/ea) totals 198#. Leaves only 102# for the rear section. I don’t know what the passenger seat weighs. Remove the seat & add the weight of a cooler & ice for the drinks… (maybe). 80/20 front/rear weight distribution?

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  Tim Dean.
  • Vernon Michael Gardner

    March 8, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Maybe a purpose built delivery vehicle. Maybe a four-door Bolt or something similar.

  • Joshua Rosen

    March 9, 2022 at 6:42 am

    We will need some clarification of the 500 lb limit. I don’t believe that number includes passengers, it’s probably the weight of the cargo in back. Two good sized guys could add up 500 lbs, I doubt their intent was to build a vehicle that could only be used by ballerinas.

    • Bob Kirchner

      March 9, 2022 at 8:05 am

      Unfortunately, no. When asked, Aptera has stated that the 500 lb. limit is total weight including driver/passenger.

      This is a dilemma for me, because I am fat.

      What they have not clarified is which battery the figure applies to. Hopefully the figure is for the 1000 mile version, which would leave some ullage for me with the 60 kW version.

    • Joshua Rosen

      March 9, 2022 at 8:48 am

      That number predates the Roush suspension. Hopefully they’ve improved it.

  • John Shenton

    March 13, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    Me and my “other” weigh in at 490 lbs. Add a pair of 50 lb flight bags and we have a problem.

    Bottoming out suspensions does not make for a fun trip.

  • Guy SKEER

    March 15, 2022 at 8:27 am

    I have mentioned elsehwere on this Wonderful Site, that I want to have/make an adjustable link for the front suspension so that I can “Tune Out” half of the Port List that the vehicle will have when only I am aboard, as I am (Ahem) somewhat in Excess of the FAA “Standard” 160 Pound Person.

    Additionally I had mentioned that an Airbag or Hydrodynamic Height Adjust System would be on my “Nice to Have” list, whether from the Factory (Not Likely, nor even considered), or After Purchase.

    At Present, My Main Squeeze’s Number (Which shall NEVAH be disclosed!) plus My Avoirdupois are in Excess of the 500 Pound Weight Limit. I have undergone Gastric Surgery (For My Health, and before I Joined the Hopefuls of the APTERA Clan) followed by “Tummy Tuck” Surgery. At present, have declared redundant and abandoned more than 240 Pounds. Eighty Five More to Go (Provided the Missus doesn’t decide to make it hard on Me!).

    Now, How to convince Her to Leave the “Purse” Behind?

  • Neville Cawood

    April 27, 2022 at 5:40 am

    I just want to bring Active Anti Roll/Sway bars to the attention of Aptera:

    NB their ability to disengage when one is going straight (or off-road), resulting in improved comfort (and grip off-road).

    I feel that these, or something similar, wold be ideal for 3 wheeled vehicles like the Aptera..?

    Personally I’d have them ‘overcompensate’ for corners, imparting a lean into corners.
    Besides stability and comfort, leaning into corners always imparts a grin on the faces of occupants. 🙂

  • John Smith

    April 27, 2022 at 6:53 am

    What is the cost difference between this and standard anti roll bars?

  • my_discord_number_is_0328 bloody stupid

    April 27, 2022 at 9:11 am

    it could help effeincy by allowing more movement momentum preservation of car around a turn, so there doesnt have to be as much regen/friction braking so longer battery brake life and increases miles per charge. but this improvement would have to outdo how much more energy movement from battery and into it that happens as result of more weight added, which depends on average driving style ( lots of road turns or less road turns in a trip)

  • John Malcom

    April 27, 2022 at 10:14 am

    The Aptera suspension was designed by Roush Performance, an expert in suspension to include racing suspensions. Beta testing is complete on the suspension with excellent testing results, especially in the difficult Moose Test. There will be no change in this design element for first production Apterae.

    Aptera engineers are great at surveying available tech for each feature of the vehicle and selecting the best components for implementation with criteria, among others, of functionality, availability, durability, and easy to repair or replace.

    Perhaps they may be appropriate for the next iteration of the Aptera.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  John Malcom. Reason: add word
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Gabriel Kemeny.
  • Curtis Cibinel

    April 27, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I think its good Aptera has made some pragmatic decisions to get the product vehicle to market. If every component is a unique prototype it will delay massively and costs will inevitably skyrocket. You cant scale production with all the components barely being out of the lab. They are focusing on the core efficiency of the design and sourcing relatively commodity parts to make an incredibly affordable vehicle.

  • Sean Durham

    May 9, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    So while watching your videos I noticed that the alpha and beta vehicles use exposed heim/rose joints in the front suspension, my question is do you plan to use them in the final design? Or are they just easier for prototyping while planning to use booted joints for the final production model. I work in automotive repair and I have to say some of the worst suspension designs I’ve ever seen use these joints and my worry is that the lifespan and noise of the suspension would be seriously impacted by using these components. I use heim/rose joints on my track vehicle that I drive on the road as well for the added stiffness, but I find they generally only last a year or less before becoming incredibly noisy, less when I drive the vehicle in the winter on salted roads.

  • Len Nowak

    May 9, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    This might be better emailed to

  • Steven G. Bueche

    May 10, 2022 at 2:24 am

    You make an excellent point. These open Rose joints could potentially gather dirt and fail rather quickly. I’d take the hit on efficiency/aerodynamics for longevity of the suspension even if it means I have to add them myself after delivery. I’m not a fan of the aftermarket two piece boot so I guess that means taking the front end apart. It’ll be a real world test of Right to Repair huh?

  • steve pelman

    June 2, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    I am wondering about the suspension and ride. I can imagine that being lightweight would be a little jumpy. Would more batteries in the faster model be better?

  • Ray Holan

    June 2, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Hello, Steve. Final tuning of the suspension hasn’t been completed. However, given that Roush Engineering has been involved in the suspension and chassis design, our chances are good that the ride will be firm and controlled but forgiving. We’ll have to wait and see as we have only had reports from Alpha and Beta vehicles. Anecdotal reports on the Beta rate it as much improved over Alpha. Gamma should be better yet.

  • Gary Greenway

    June 2, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    The ride of the vehicle can be tuned by varying the spring rates and the damping of the shocks. I think the suspension geometry will be the same across all battery weights. The prototypes have adjustable preload coilover shocks. Hopefully production models will have this too. Adjustable (or at least reconfigurable) valving on the shocks would be an extra bonus.

    • Curtis Cibinel

      June 2, 2022 at 7:23 pm

      If the Aptera will be used with two heavier passengers or otherwise near its 500lb load limit it might make sense to adjust the suspension to be stiffer (ie set as it would be tuned for the next battery size)

  • Lord Chad Dunham

    June 2, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    If you haven’t seen it, there are a couple videos on YouTube where people have gotten a ride in the Alpha|Beta vehicles. Steve from Aptera Owners Club shows/talks about it here:

    There are also videos from Nikki at Transport Evolved and Rich Rebuilds (not looking for those links).

    I hope that helps.

  • Paul Evans

    June 3, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Gary & Curtis’s comments got me thinking about my auto crossing days. I put adjustable coil-overs on my MINI and had it corner balanced while I was in the driver seat. It transformed the handling!

    If I can find coil-overs that fit the Aptera, I would do the same thing. It might be simpler with three wheels – just balancing the left and right corners, leaving the ride height alone.



    • Russell Fauver

      June 3, 2022 at 8:47 am

      Sounds great to me! Can’t wait to get these things on the road and see what people come up with.

    • Jonah Jorgenson

      June 3, 2022 at 10:21 am

      My thoughts as a Gen Z aerospace engineer.

      Right to repair gives you the authorization to to make changes to your vehicle as you feel fit and as is prudent.

      However if you start modifying suspension and other components on the delivered vehicle, it may negate the balanced engineering achieved in the production version and have unexpected consequences. Certainly will affect the advertised efficiency.

      Before doing such a thing I think I would outline specifically what you would intend to do and with what products, and consult with Aptera on the consequences.

      It may also void your warranty depending on how long you have your vehicle before you consider such a change. Thinking down the road it may also negatively affect your resale value if you have modified the vehicle and ever intend to sell it as modded vehicles are valued below stock configurations in the vehicle marketplace. Perhaps not as bad as a salvage title but certainly less than a standard configuration.

      • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by  Jonah Jorgenson. Reason: corrected spelling
      • Paul Evans

        June 3, 2022 at 11:14 am

        Thanks for your observations, Jonah.

        In truth, I suspect that it be difficult to find the components I would want.

        The dimensions have to be the same as stock. The adjustable valving would have to be able to match the stock calibration near the mid-point of the adjustment range. It would be great to have the same components that Aptera is using to test and arrive at the stock settings.

        Ultimately it would all have to be affordable.

        Given the number of vehicles that will be produced in the 1st 3 years, it’s unlikely that they would available.

        The other major challenge would be that at 70-plus years, my anatomical posterior G-meter would lack the sensitivity to discern the improvement anyway.

        Such fantasies are made of these…..

        • Vernon Michael Gardner

          June 3, 2022 at 11:46 am

          Paul, very well put. I used to autocross back in the ’80s and 90s and was considering taking the Aptera on the courses at Napa, Monterey, and Thunderhill. Sears point, Laguna seca and our club track.

        • George Hughes

          June 3, 2022 at 12:00 pm

          I think the trailing third wheel of the Aptera could be, using the Roush designed geometry, be quite a dramatic and cheap way to improve the ride to a new level.

          The trick is the inclusion of an active suspension component to the rear wheel, whether or not powered.

          Active suspensions are not common, but they are ‘around’ and have been for 20+ years. Their ‘trick’ is that they anticipate the road’s variations and essentially work to have the traction patch of the wheel stay in constant contact at constant pressures ‘ironing out the rough roadway’ by moving the suspension ‘up’ nano-seconds before the bump and pressing the wheel back down to the pavement after bump. When placed in a 1999 Citroën Xantia Activa sedan, the active suspension kept the car flat and in contact with the road while this little econo box surpassed every other car’s performance posting the fastest speed ever in the moose test.

          So why is an active rear suspension a good idea for the Aptera (eventually?) While it may have a little hit on efficiency (weight related), the idea is that you can gain most of the benefits of an active suspension on the one trailing wheel at a cost one-forth that of a traditional four-wheel vehicle so equipped.

          I also think providing an active suspension component for the rear axle, will minimize consumer concerns over the center lane pothole.

  • Darrell Cravens Cravens

    June 3, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    I know it is not a luxury car, but I don’t want to feel every little bump in the road either.

    I know the ride of a motorcycle is a bit rough, I don’t want my Aptera to ride like a motorcycle.

    What about the seats? Will we have a comfortable seat that has back support?

    • kerbe2705

      June 4, 2022 at 12:31 am

      @Darrell Cravens If you watch some of the recent ride-along videos in the Beta prototype, especially those by Aptera Owner’s Club, Rich Rebuilds and Transport Evolved, you’ll hear them talk about the quality of the ride due to the new suspension design.

      The seats have been totally redesigned – we know that the seats in the Alpha prototypes weren’t wonderful but we don’t, yet, know about the new seats.

      Jay Leno, in his drive of the Alpha, said that Aptera drove like a car. I think it will be most akin to a light-weight sporty car, like a Mazda Miata, with the weight of the batteries in its belly giving is a road-hugging low center of gravity.

      So don’t worry: I’m sure that Aptera isn’t going to produce an uncomfortable vehicle with poor handling and an unpleasant ride. We’re just quite a ways off, with two more development stages before production begins, and no one yet knows how the journey will end.

    • Peter Dezendorf

      June 4, 2022 at 3:59 pm


      I rode motorcycles for some 20 years (sold my last one in 2019). Some motorcycles ride rough. Most, with the right suspension adjustments, right just fine. I suspect Aptera will have a pleasant suspension.

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