MemberMay 20, 2022 at 10:20 am
I made a reservation last week. I think the vehicle is compelling enough even without the $7500 EV tax credit but it would have been surely nice if Aptera qualifies. From reading the posts and IRS code, it appears that the only hurdle is four wheels vs three wheels. I am thinking if Aptera replaces the rear wheel with a set of side-by-side dual wheels (dually), won’t it become eligible? I assume with two narrower wheels closely together, there would be minimum impact on the structure or aerodynamic of the vehicle. Thoughts?
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 10:37 am
Would be nice it the work around would be that simple. They made a big mistake from a legal perspective by going with three wheels. In addition the physics reasons they also figured that by being classified as a motor cycle they wouldn’t need to meet automobile safety standards. However they fully intend to meet those standards so there is no benefit to not being required to do so. The downsides of three wheels are numerous. Not only do they not get EV rebates in the US and most other countries they are also subject to motorcycle licensing laws. Many states have autocycle laws now but not all. I live in Massachusetts which hasn’t passed the pending autocycle legislation, until they do I can’t own an Aptera because it requires a class M license to operate and I’ll never ever get a motorcycle license because that might require me to take a test on a motorcycle and there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever sit on a motorcycle let alone drive one. I keep pestering the state senator who’s sponsoring the bill but so far it just keeps getting kicked from one committee to another. In Europe motor cycles are subject to a width limit which Aptera exceeds, wouldn’t be a problem if they had a 4th wheel.
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 11:06 am
I see. So you are saying the real hurdle is the legal and added testing requirements for being re-classified as car at this point of the development cycle? $7500 is ~30% of the total price (for 250 mil version, of which I would argue the buying decision is probably most affected by the credit) and is probably worth putting engineering resource and hiring lawyers for.
I am not engineer but my feel is that replacing one single wheel with two narrower wheels bundled together at the same place shouldn’t alter the physics of the vehicle significantly. May even have benefit of higher load rating especially for 600/1000mil heavier battery…
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 11:19 am
They fully intend to meet all the safety requirements of a car so there isn’t a cost savings due to being classified as a motorcycle from a safety regulation standpoint. Don’t know if putting on dual tires side by side would qualify the Aptera as a car vs a motorcycle, I suspect that there must be some minimum distance required in the regulations but that’s an uninformed guess. If they had to give up AWD to add a 4th wheel to meet the car standard I’d be willing to live with that. It would be the difference for me of being able to operate it in Massachusetts or not, and of course getting a total of $10,000 in state and Federal incentives is nothing to sneeze at.
MemberMay 21, 2022 at 6:37 am
Yes, Aptera fully intends to pass automotive safety regulations but with 3-wheels they don’t have to. That is a big difference for them to ensure they get the vehicle into production. If Aptera barely misses passing an automotive safety benchmark they don’t necessarily need to go back to the drawing board but can proceed toward production. At this stage in the Aptera corporate timeline that is a very important aspect.
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 11:24 am
Kinda inefficient but if they designed it so you could swap it back to a single tire then it is just for delivery. The other side of this is they would need to jump through more regulatory hoops for testing as a full 4 wheeler which could delay things.
Given insane demand already for EVs the existing tax credit should probably be dropped in favor of higher taxes on new ICE cars. That way people would still be incentivized to switch to EVs, find alternatives or extend the life of existing vehicles. New ICE cars are not overall environmentally better than those from 10-15 years ago so keeping them from hitting the streets is good for the transition as EV production is way lower than demand.
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 12:46 pm
I agree with you, the tax credits are a waste of money and they distort the market. EV demand has so outstripped supply everyone has stopped taking orders. But it’s not realistic to expect Congress to do anything about them one way or the other.
MemberMay 22, 2022 at 2:28 pm
I think the added regulation of being an automobile is more than just the crash test standard. There really are a massive amount of government regulations needed to get an automobile approved v a motorcycle. You see shows where they weld together a custom frame, steering, etc, put a motor in it, and sell it as a motorcycle. They never submitted that frame for testing or approval. They didn’t have to have the light configuration approved. There really are minimal regulations. New car companies don’t start up every day because of the immense set of regulations.
There is a reason that so many of the innovative, small companies are making 3-wheeled autocycles instead of automobiles. Government agencies don’t care if you achieve a goal, like safety. They care that you did it their way. When Chrysler developed a lean-burn 2-stroke for the Dodge/Plymouth Neon, it met emissions without a catalytic converter or smog pump. The EPA wouldn’t allow it. They insisted it have a catalytic converter and smog pump even though it didn’t need to to meet emissions. How would the Aptera add conventional bumpers? How would it meet the pedestrian injury standard? In the side impact test, they run a sled into it, but they also put it in a vise and crush it for 18 inches while measuring the force/inch the entire way and there are standards for the entire 18 inch travel, not just peak strength. You need a steel side-impact bar for that. A composite bar is likely to snap after little movement and then provide no resistance.
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 3:15 pm
Two my best knowledge two wheels side-by-side count as ONE wheel.
The best solution would be to lobby with your local/state/US political officials and representatives to declare a vehicle like the Aptera as a car regardless of the number of wheels.
But right now they are busy with baby formular from what I’m hearing.
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 3:58 pm
I think you are probably right that it’s too big a loophole to count dually as two wheels. But, honestly I can’t find anywhere in the IRS website how to count # of wheels in its “four wheel” definition.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Qiang Fu.
MemberMay 23, 2022 at 9:42 pm
If you were going this way you would probably settle on a design much like the front ‘wheels’ of a jet liner or other large aircraft. There would actually be a significant distance between the wheels.
I mention this because this third-wheel location is, or ought to be, an area of research and innovation.
Now I like the rear-wheel geometry of Aptera’s rear suspension as it was interpreted by Roush. but I do imagine a single-wheel configuration in a ‘tower’ with steering capability was illustrated, I think on one corner of a Canoo or possibly another demonstration on the Elaphe website.
Another interesting rear ‘wheel’ treatment would probably use the Roush suspension geometry but would incorporate a fully active suspension parts. The really cool thing about adding an active suspension to the rear is that Aptera drivers get the innovation for half-price 🙂 ’cause you only need one!
Aptera, or its fanbase, will need to ‘make’ a ‘parade app’ for the vehicle that locks the rear hub on AWD while allowing the front hub motors to work so you can pull tank-turns with a dolly under the rear wheel.
I also dream about converting Aptera into a water-borne craft housing a hydrofoil in the rear suspension to lift the rear even with the 50″ balloon tires that, given Aptera’s light weight, would allow it to imitate a water bug with the massive tires capable of catapulting the ‘Aptera’ to a new sport called Ocean Cross. Imagine literally skittering up a massive ocean swell on the massive floatation tires and launching over another massive swell, roller-coastering down the next wave in a display that would appear, if on land, as a moto-cross with a freaking shifting landscape.
I think it would be cool to modify an Aptera in that way and I suspect the fish-like composite body is also a good call but I suspect the best execution would be specially designed for the application… despite the obvious inspiration.
The point is I think it cool to think of different approaches for the rear suspension and you can get pretty far afield 🙂
MemberMay 24, 2022 at 5:45 am
Interesting ideas, George!
You are right that the dually airplane wheel is a readily available design to borrow from. The question is how NHTSA and IRS would count the number of wheel in this case. The wheel has two contact points on the ground but only one point connected to the body. In a perfect world (for us), NHTSA counting it as one wheel while IRS counting two. 😀
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 4:33 pm
Agree with you 100% that we are not likely to see an EV bill going through the current congress. But, government agencies must have certain rule-making authority within the boundary of the existing law, therefore I think lobbying the current administration is probably a more viable route. E.g., IRS may just have the say on whether dually can be counted as two wheels under existing law.😀
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 4:52 pm
I would love to find the “loophole” or “generous” interpretation of applicable laws and regulations to get a $7500 tax credit for the Aptera 🙂
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 5:11 pm
I also found some legal references to how the courts define an “automobile” and/or “motor vehicle”:
*) Liebrecht v. Crandall, 126 N.W. 69, 110 Minn. 454, 456 “The word ‘automobile’ connotes a pleasure vehicle designed for the transportation of persons on highways.”
*) <font face=”inherit”>American Mutual Liability Ins. Co., vs. Chaput, 60 A.2d 118, 120; 95 NH 200 Motor Vehicle: 18 USC Part 1 Chapter 2 section 31 definitions: “(6) Motor vehicle. – The term “motor vehicle” means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways…”</font>
<font face=”inherit”>And as a curiosity:</font>
<font face=”inherit”>There is </font>an<font face=”inherit”> Indiana Supreme Court ruling that no license is needed to drive an automobile:</font>
Indiana Springs Co. v. Brown, 165 Ind. 465, 468. Supreme Court says No License Necessary To Drive Automobile On Public Highways/Streets
Caveat<font face=”inherit”> here is that this is a ruling from 1905 so I wouldn’t count on that still holding up in 2022 🙂</font>
MemberMay 20, 2022 at 7:41 pm
“Indiana Springs Co. v. Brown, 165 Ind. 465, 468. Supreme Court says No License Necessary To Drive Automobile On Public Highways/Streets”
Great, now you’ve probably woken up the sovereign citizen crowd.😆
MemberMay 21, 2022 at 3:58 am
I think they should make a dual rear wheel aptera just for the performance boost from having the additional hub motor. I’ve mentioned it several times prior.
MemberMay 21, 2022 at 7:09 am
There is a long range Aptera vehicle plan. In that plan, the initial vehicles are the three wheel variants we are familiar with. Following those vehicles, Euro delivery of a compliant Euro variant is next with deliveries to other off shore locations. Concurrent with the above will be the development of a four wheel 4/5 passenger variant and delivery of that variant to all markets. All of this has been planned out, scheduled and resourced as well as you can do when looking at the future. Much if not all of the above is contingent on achieving revenue and margin on sold vehicles of the current variants. Other variants are in the plan to include service vehicles.
Analysis of the feedback from customers of all variants will shape what direction Aptera needs to go to correct defects, add or delete features, and determine what the next iteration of all vehicles would be.
Aptera has a plan and are experts in their field. We should support them working their plan
- This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by John Malcom. Reason: removed format markings