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Aptera efficiency
Posted by Tom on January 18, 2022 at 3:57 pmA commonly cited “figure of merit” for EVs is the miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) which serves as a useful comparison between EVs and the agesold mpg rating for ICE vehicles. The EPA provides nominal energy costs (gasoline and electricity) for performing this comparison. Typical MPGe values for currently available EVs range from ~60 to ~140. (See this link for additional information.)
The MPGe for the Aptera is ~337 (!), using the EPA nominal energy costs and Aptera’s nominal 100 Wh/mile efficiency.
But it is more useful to use your own energy costs (local gasoline price at the pump and electrical cost, $/kWh, from your utility bill) to really see the efficiency improvement between the Aptera and your current vehicle.
Here’s the calculation:
 Local gasoline cost (GP) = 3.499 $/gallon (our current “best” local cost; get your value from the fuel pump at your gas station)
 Local electricity cost (EC) = 0.0738 $/kWh (our current cost; get your value from your utility bill)
 Aptera Efficiency (AE) = 100 Wh/mile
 MPGe = (GP/EC) x (1000/AE)
For us, the Aptera would have an MPGe of 474. We have the added advantage that we have domestic solar panels so our effective local electricity cost is about 0.0329 $/kWh. With this, the EPGe for our Aptera would be a whopping 1,064! And neither of these even include the additional miles we’ll get when the Aptera is in the sun!
For comparison, our 2018 Subaru Outback gets ~23 mpg.
What would your MPGe be?
johnmalcom replied 4 days, 6 hours ago 36 Members · 65 Replies  65 Replies

Aptera efficiency

Impressive! A good calculation to make for marketing when production vehicles are in the marketplace competing with the plethora of EVs co.ing out in the next two years

I have ordered the lightest Aptera (250 mile range) with maximum solar, plus I have a few solar panels I have collected over the years which I will mount on my house next to where I will park the Aptera, and with an inverter, plug in to the 110 volt charging port. I don’t expect to ever plug into the grid unless I go for a long trip. So using your formula:3.50/0.00×1000/100= infinite MPGe
Dividing by zero is tough on a calculator but Hey, when your power comes from the sun you get “free energy” once the car in paid for. Excuse me, once the autocycle is paid for. Yeah Aptera!

Where do you live that your only paying 7.38 cents/KWh? I’m paying over 25 cents/KWh in Massachusetts. My generation charge is 11.4 cents, dropping next month to 10.5 cents because my town negotiated a rate. The overhead for my electricity is 14 cents, i.e. the delivery charge plus taxes and fees.
MPGe is a silly metric that’s useful to people who don’t own an EV yet but once you are in the EV world Miles/KWh is the better way to express it.
The CO2e number is also interesting. Here is a tool that will tell you how clean the car will be in your zip code. Aptera isn’t on it but if you use the 2021 Tesla Model 3 AWD which uses 250Wh/mile you can get the Aptera number by multiplying the Tesla number by 2.5. For example in my Zip code the 2021 Model 3 AWD is equivalent to a 155MPG car that translates into 387 MPG for the Aptera.

So many different ways of calculating energy use. I like to use watt hours per mile. Seems easier to me when comparing vehicles, seems like a little finer detail. My Solectria Force uses 190 Wh/mi so when I see these newer cars using 200350 Wh/mi I know it’s not time to trade mine in yet.

Do we know when there will be official numbers on the impact the AWD and Off Road Package will have on range? I’ve modified my preorder a couple of times now but I’m still very unsure what to go with. I now have all the solar panels, in a 400kw package. I live in Northern PA so we get snow here in the winter, and I am in a very rural area with the occasional dirtdriveway, and regular potholelitered roads. I feel I should go with the AWD and ORP, but if that’s going to kill the efficiency to the point where I regularly have to charge it I’d rather do without and just drive my truck on a days with snow or trips into the back country. Does anyone have any thoughts or knowledge here? I’ve been digging through discussion posts and it seems like I’m not the only one confused on this point.

As of right now, there isnt a lot of clarity on what the ORP is. It seems to primarily include wheel pants with greater clearance. They will impact efficiency but propbably not too significantly. If the tires were changed, that might be a more significant concern for efficiency. If it were me, i would definitely get the 3 motor configuration. I would probably also get the standard wheel pants. Worst case scenario, you may just need to remove the wheel pants if the snow is too deep.

Yes… many replies in threads and the FAQ spreadsheet
I am personally planning on NMT 10% loss on the AWD and hope the ORP ends up just to be a change out of the covers for about two additional inches of GC, so minimal range impact
My Off Road is nothing more than primitive roads to get to birding/ hiking start points.
Aptera can be AWD but not all terrain trekking.
Everyone has their own needs
I plan cross country/ long treks. So 60 kWh is my plan and while national EV charging is still not where I like it!
For battery health… I plan to never exceed 80 % charge unless a stretch requires the safety of occasional 100% ….until the Aptera manual suggests something different
Surely 40 kWh will be popular for most!
My personal early notions
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It would be really handy if the “offroad” wheel pants (assuming they are just removable pieces) fit inside the drop storage inside the trunk. Then you wouldn’t need to leave them rattling around somewhere while you’re bumping around dirt roads.

If Aptera can be tuned to be driven with single rear wheel in most of the road conditions, I would argue AWD may be able to achieve even longer range than FWD…

Aptera uses three permanent magnet motors, you can’t disengage permanent magnet motors without a clutch and that adds complexity and reduces efficiency. Tesla uses one induction motor and one permanent magnet motor, the induction motor is only used when then need extra power or they need 4WD, normally they just drive the permanent magnet motor.


Here’s a fascinating video published today (May 20, 2022) by MotorMatchup:
Solar Powered EV!? Aptera Battery and Efficiency Analysis
He provides a detailed and analytical look at the 40 kWh battery pack (using data provided in Aptera’s recent Battery Update Video). He goes on to delve into the efficency of the vehicle as a whole, using the modeling techniques used for his MotorMatchup EV comparison tool (very fun to play with!).
All in all, he has very positive things to say and share regarding the Aptera. He even provides a calculation that the Aptera could (there are caveats!) motor along at 18 mph using just the 700 W from its solar panels alone.
 This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by bbelcamino.
 This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Gabriel Kemeny.

He did a solid analysis and presented it extremely well.
We don’t have final statistics so details like rolling resistance, weight, frontal area, aux drain and cells are educated guesses or unconfirmed. He does make the assumption that Aptera will still have 0.13 Cd which seems unlikely given the unfortunate need for mirrors (thanks NHTSA). He is also assuming a ~25 sq ft of frontal area which is comparable to a model S; 2223 is more likely based on the STL file sent to ambassadors when viewed to scale (I previously assumed 20 myself but believe it was low). I updated my calculations based on this and split the difference on some other details and it seems to model very plausibly at all scales except the base 250 mile since 4 modules similar to those described overperforms by ~20 miles of range.

I can’t get the concept to settle in my head. I expressed fuel efficiency all my adult life as miles per gallon (distance from a certain amount of fuel). Now the concept includes a factor of time? Now it’s amount of energy AND time AND distance? It doesn’t make sense to me. I only used time when discussing speed. Why isn’t miles per kilowatt or watt used? What does an hour have to do with it?

I agree but maybe it should be the number of kilowatts used per 100 miles. This is similar to how “mileage” is determined in metric countries: liters per 100 kilometers.

The trouble is that a watt is a unit of power (energy per unit time, or Joules per second). For some reason, we are multiplying it by time (kwh) and using it as a unit of energy (instead of just using Joules). Perhaps ‘kwh’ is convenient for some reason one of our fellow Apterans can muster.

Electricity is sold by the KWh, look at your electric bill. Gas is sold by the gallon, a gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 33.7 KWh.
If you are interested in your cost per mile then want to see the energy efficiency expressed as KWh per mile, so for example if you are paying 25 cents per KWh then the Aptera, which uses 100Wh/mile, will cost you 2.5 cents per mile. If you are interested in range then you want to see the reciprocal, i.e. miles per KWh. The Aptera is 10 miles per KWh so you can travel 400 miles with a 40KWh battery.
 This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Joshua Rosen.


For me to understand this may be a matter of osmosis. I feel like I have a slippery grip on the front of it, but maybe not all of it. I may lose what little grasp of it I have, but I have this conversation to remind me where I got to.
An Aptera will be my first electric vehicle. I was so excited about it when they started the first time because AT LAST someone was putting out a viable solarpowered vehicle. I couldn’t take advantage of it then, even if they had stayed in business (divorce, digging out of debt). I have a second chance.
Thank you all very much for helping me.

For me whenever I can’t grasp how a certain technology works I imagine that it’s running on magic. The best way I associate electric cars to gas cars is cost to refill/recharge and how far that takes me.
My gas car goes 350 miles on a $90 refill so .25 per mile
My Tesla goes 230 miles and costs $32 to recharge so .13 per mile
Aptera will go infinity miles and cost $0 to recharge. Good deal


This explanation from Google may help (I’m learning this crap myself (MPGe))…
Kilowatt hours (kWh) are the units in which electrical power usage is primarily measured — they are what you see on your electricity bill. The reason that this unit is used to measure your usage rather than kilowatts on their own is because kWh is a measurement of absolute power consumed over time. It’ll take absolutely 1kwh to run a 100watt bulb for an hour.
EDIT: my bad… bulb for 10 hours
 This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Sam Adams.

If you prefer there is another unit of energy, the joule. A joule = watt second so a KWh is 360KJ. Electric companies don’t bill in joules they bill in KWh so the KWh is the most convenient unit to use because you can translate it into cost and dollars and cents are the units that people are most interested in.

My conclusion: I’m going to try to just leave the “h” (hour) out of my thoughts of watts. I know electrons are moving and I don’t need to use badly named terminology to tell me so. It goes against the grain to not read the “h” but it’s not my fault all tech terms aren’t perfect. It’ll be just watts and kilowatts.

Wh and kWh are scientific terms used for well over a century. It is not “badly named”. Dropping the “h” is not an option. It’s like trying to multiply without using the X symbol. No one will understand your questions and you won’t understand what you’re reading.


At what speed is 100Wh per mile expected? How many Wh’s are expected per mile at 70mph freeway speed (assuming zero wind)? I can’t find anywhere that there’s a standard speed for testing kWh per mile of any EV. Seems like they just publish an average. If 100Wh/mi is expected at 35mph, then I suppose using pump laws (“pumping” air in this instance), where doubling the speed requires quadrupling the power would mean 70mph expects 400Wh/mi. That’ll mean a pathetic 125 miles on my 60kWh / 600 mile Aptera? Let’s hope not!!!

In your ICE, what speed is 30 mpg? It varies constantly, its an average.


From the old Aptera FAQ spreadsheet, it’s based on “The EPA driving cycle with a max speed of 67 mph in normal conditions.”

I’m not sure of the exact speed, but I believe the 100Wh/mile calculation includes highway speeds. This is all theoretical until we get actuals, but the results won’t be the same for all models due to differences in weight. I heard they calculated this on the heavier batteries (1000 mile perhaps) and mentioned they think they might beat it. I’m not holding my breath on these statements until the official Delta tests are complete, but with the Cd nearly half of Tesla and 1 less wheel, you’d expect the power required to be less than half as well. So if Tesla 3 is drawing 242 Wh/Mile (average city and highway) with a 54KWh battery, the claims don’t seem crazy at all. The real question I have is whether they will actually achieve the Cd of 0.13 with the modifications they’ve needed to make. I suspect they will not because of the side mirrors, etc, but I would expect them to be in the ballpark on their ranges and Wh/mile calcs at highway speeds.

This is my calculations with some estimates on some specs for the 400 mile Aptera. You can see from this how range would degrade with speed as compared to a model 3.
Note: Many details of the specs are estimates and the aux load / road friction is a major factor in low speed range.

Curtis, much thanks!
It appears that 400 miles would be achieved going 70mph for the introductory version. Please verify if I read wrong. Also I would expect similar results minus added wait for the rest of the battery packs offered?

I have estimated for all battery sizes but given we don’t know what cells like 2665 or 4680 they might use. The constants might be wrong but your welcome to change them (copy the sheet). I feel these numbers should be in the ballpark. At 70 mph the 400 mile would be 333 miles (by my estimates) but that includes many assumptions that could be either high or low regarding drag, rolling coefficient, weight, aux load etc. The 400 mile battery is relatively understood given details to date but others are extrapolations.
Personally I’ll be purchasing with awd and offroad options and would be happy with 200 miles of real world winter range.


From another thread someone was contemplating driving 55 to maximize range. Out west the speed limit is often 80 mph. I don’t advocate reckless speeding, but might it actually be more efficient to drive 90 MPH for 60 minutes vs 60 mph for 90 minutes? This would save 30 minutes of AC/heat/headlights/computer etc for the same 90 mile trip.

When calculating MPGe, aero drag goes up at the square of speed (technically it is cubed, but because MPG includes miles in the units, it cancels out).
So purely from a drag viewpoint, and ignoring other factors, you’d use far more energy at 90 (more than double) than if you drove the same distance at 60.
The recommendation would be to drive at the slowest reasonable speed for the highway. If all other traffic is doing 90 then 55 wouldn’t be reasonable. But if there is a mix of speeds, speed match with the slower vehicles.
Below highway speeds, the aero drag is less relevant and the other factors (such as aircon) come into play.
There are online calculators you can use to experiment with the parasitic loads versus CD versus speed to calculate MPGe.
 This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Michael Marsden.
 This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Michael Marsden.
 This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Gabriel Kemeny.