Worth the Weight?Posted by ray-holan on March 9, 2022 at 10:14 am
Just viewed the latest from Steve at Aptera Owners Club:
Several of his observations make good sense IMHO. I was intrigued by his informed speculation about the weights of the various Aptera battery packs and the resultant vehicle weights. He runs through a spreadsheet in the video, but here’s the gist of his guesstimates.
250 mile pack = about 350 lbs. pack and a 1,320 lb. vehicle
400 mile pack = about 550 lbs. pack and a 1,525 lb. vehicle
600 mile pack = about 825 lbs. pack and a 1,800 lb. vehicle
1000 mile pack =about 1375 lbs. pack and a 2,350 lb. vehicle
MemberMarch 9, 2022 at 10:24 am
They have also said 1800 lb for 600m and 2200 for 1000m. This would be 10lb / kwh which is essentially state of the art. Also remember the batteries aren’t actually 25/40/60/100 due to their own weights impacting efficiency. The battery range is likely more likely 21 kwh – 105 kwh. Motormatchup has numbers and puts the lightest at ~1493lb and heaviest (with 100lb for AWD) at 2250 lb (without the driver).
MemberMarch 9, 2022 at 2:20 pm
There’s also the question of packaging: If the cells are organized into modules and then the modules arranged into packs there’s a lot of packaging and bracing involved. Tesla’s current move toward “structural packs” will do away with a lot of extra weight.
Sandy Munro and Sabic are designing a “plastic” pack that’s stronger and lighter in weight than any currently available system, and includes built-in temperature conditioning and fire suppression.
MemberMarch 10, 2022 at 7:45 pm
Lots of interesting points in the video. I lean towards the 400-600 miles, and the only benefit of a larger pack would be if I can use it for V2H. Which is not currently an option, it seems.
MemberMarch 10, 2022 at 11:02 pm
I was looking at the very base 250 mile and no options as my sport run-about. The 25kwh battery charges very quickly compared to nearly every other EV out there. You can drive about 3 hours at highway speeds, take a break, charge up and go. I did settle on 400 miles with all the bells and whistles since my wife and I go on weekend trips every 3 months. We travel about 3 to 5 hours on those trips.
MemberMarch 11, 2022 at 10:20 am
Great video! His thoughts match pretty close to what my experience has been with driving an ev. I have to say though, looking at his 5 things, Time, High Temp, Operating at max min state of charge, High Current and lastly Charge Cycles, the only one that doesn’t change with pack size is time.
High Temps can be brought on from charging or discharging at a rate that generates more heat than the cooling system can handle. Charging a larger battery pack at the same power as a smaller one will generate less heat. Same with discharging, same load will not tax a larger battery as much as a smaller one. If there’s less heat to dissipate there’s less chance of running at high temperatures.
Operating at high or low state of charge. With a larger pack it is less likely to get into those areas. Bigger packs have more miles available in the battery’s ‘sweet spot’.
High Current. The aptera’s max current draw is going to be pretty similar across the range of battery sizes. 3 wheel motors, resistance cabin heat, lights, music, whatever. The load compared to battery capacity, C rate, on a smaller pack will be larger than it would be on a larger pack if you are running all the same things. My little EV has a 100 ah battery at 190 volts. My max draw from the motor is 215 amps, a little over 2C. If my pack was four times larger the draw would be .5C. Maybe that’s wrong, math is hard.
Lastly is Usage, Charge Cycles. This one is pretty obvious. The 250 mile battery would need to be charged 4x more than the largest battery to cover the same number of miles.
I could be wrong about these things. My first hand experience with EVs is limited to a sample size of one.
I have LFP batteries in my car and they’ve lost about 25% of their capacity in 10 years. Plus the voltage sag is pretty dramatic now on cold winter days. I put a deposit on a 600 mile version because I’d like to have a solid 300 miles of range over the life of the car in whatever weather conditions I happen to run in to.
MemberJuly 28, 2022 at 6:11 pm
I’m still ping-ponging about the size of the battery pack.
Perhaps I missed it in the previous comments, but what about “never charge”? Apteras can be thought of as an entirely solar-powered vehicle. A large battery pack can accumulate sun-charge to the point you never have to plug it in for normal commuting – FREE. Why treat this vehicle as a PHEV instead of SEV?
And if you want to take off on a long trip you still may not need to plug it in before, during or after.
And as HAS been mentioned, the larger battery packs mean a longer range PLUS a longer life.
I’m trying to save up to afford the largest pack. I don’t want this decision forced by loan rates, but that could still be the case.
MemberJuly 28, 2022 at 9:01 pm
“400 mile pack = about 550 lbs. pack and a 1,525 lb. vehicle400 mile pack = about 550 lbs. pack and a 1,525 lb. vehicle”
Imagine if you add the claimed 0-60 “3.5sec” acceleration time of the AWD option (which I preordered) to this 1,525lb 400mi pack vehicle. That would be bat-out-of-hell fast. 😳
Now, what if you can unlock the detuned 50hp Elaphe hubs..
MemberJuly 29, 2022 at 10:18 am
I’ve thought pretty hard about what size battery. My 5 yr old Leaf is strictly a commuter with 105 mile range when it was new. But that only lasted for the first summer. It is now down to 85 miles, a 20% drop in 5 years. Night driving eats the battery as does cold and hot. Sub freezing days will cut the range by another 30% to 40%. Here in the mid-west a zero degree day is not unheard of and that 40% drop is real, particularly coming home from work late with the lights on. I have a hard time making the round trip to the airport anymore, so I am very sensitive to range.
I want to be able to take this one on road trips so the 250 won’t hack it out of the box, that won’t get me anywhere. The 400 is really marginal. Figuring a realistic 20% drop for bad weather and battery wear after the first year and you are down to 320 and still dropping over time. We still don’t know that the AWD will do that I really NEED so that 320 is not a hard number, it could be less. That will get you maybe 4 hours of highway driving before lunch. Finding fast chargers is still hit and miss in the mid-west and then it may only be a 50A, so you may not get it back to fully charged during a basic lunch break in order to make it dinner or your destination. Hopefully the charger situation will improve by the time I get my Apterra, but I won’t hold my breath for it.
1000 mi is a great marketing point but not really necessary unless you are a real road warrior. The extra weight will cost efficiency. Note, it will also require a modification of the suspension, which is one of the big reasons it will be available last.
So, the 600 is what I am going for. I figure with any kind of decent lunch recharge, it has a good chance of lasting all day even on sub-freezing and 100 degree days. The 600 will give the flexibility to find decent fast charging stops even if they don’t fall exactly on your best meal breaks to provide unlimited range on those really long trips. I just don’t think the 400 will hold up to that goal for longer trips in the long run. I should think that 500 would make an interesting compromise.
I just charted out a trip to my daughters. The 400 would require an intermediate stop just to add a few extra miles, i.e. the 600 gets me there fine. Along the way there are plenty of CCS chargers but to find a Tesla means going off the road a ways to hunt it down. From what I have seen, Tesla puts there chargers in residential areas and not next to the freeway. However, at my daughter’s, the only fast charger in town is a Tesla and the only other public chargers are type 2’s at the local power company offices. From what I have seen 95% of all public chargers are type 2’s with J type connectors. In addition unless you own a Tesla, your home charger is likely to be a J type as well so that top half of the CCS is likely to be used the most. So as you see by my little story, it is reasonable to have both CCS and Tesla ports on the car.
As an aside, since I have a home charger, I have only used a public charger a couple of times, but near my home in the suburbs of KC, KS the only high speed charger anywhere close is a Tesla. The next closest ones are both about 25 miles away and are all CCS, there are lots of type 2’s around.
MemberAugust 1, 2022 at 7:27 pm
My take on range is a little different. My choice is for the 600 mi. version for a couple of reasons. First is the common one that it allows me to make a 900+ mile trip each way with one stop. I make this trip a few times a year. The second reason is if treated right it would result in fewer cycles on the battery. Lets say I make a 50 mi. Trip twice a week. If I park in a garage (yeah I know) I could go easily a month between charges. This would reduce the number of cycles on the battery pack and keep it at a mid range charge. Much better for battery longevity.
MemberAugust 2, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Consider that there are basically 2 types of driving: Local and Road Trip. Local driving — I’m driving back and forth to work, visiting friends, movies, sporting events, concerts. I’m going to parks — Essentially I can draw a 50-75 mile range circle around my home and all my Local Driving is in that range. 250 miles covers it, although I’d argue that 400 miles gives you piece of mind. You’re charging at home, and think “Slurpee” when you see a gas station.
Then there’s Road Trip. I’m visiting family (for me 286 miles or 320 miles one way). With a 250 mile Aptera (or Tesla or whatever), I’ve got to plan that. I’m planning one way travel and I probably need to stop somewhere for 15-20 minutes to top off so I can make that 320 mile trip. I’m arriving at my destinate nearly empty. But that’s fine — I can most likely recharge at my destination: my family’s house, or I expect Hotels and AirBnB’s to soon become “EV Friendly” with build-in charging ports that I can use (If I was them, I’d charge an extra $20 — 50KWh would only cost them $5, so they’d make money).
Now — consider the same 286mil or 320 mile road trip in the 600Mile Aptera. I’m not even bothering to stop at a gas station unless I want my Slurpee. I’m recharging at the ends of my trip. I’ve got plenty of range to not worry about making that distance. The through never crosses my mind.
But … if I had the 1KMile Aptera. In both trips, I’m not even bothering to charge at my family’s house. I’m making the whole darned round trip plus excursions while there and only plugging in back at my home.
Then consider my loco trip: Dallas to Colorado. In a 1KMile Aptera — that’s in range. I recharge at both ends, instead of filling my gas ICE car up 3 times. Assuming I want to reserve about 100 miles, that’s a one-way trip of 900 miles. That’s Dallas to Tallahassee,Florida (860 miles). Dallas to Chicago (920 miles). St Lewis, Mempsis, New Orleans. Starting in Dallas, absolutely anywhere in Texas, New Mexico,Oklahoma, Kansas, Missourri, South Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Half of Tennessee and Kentucky — all of those are in range of an 1KMile Aptera. Sure — you can fly 2 people from Dallas to Chicago for about $600-$1000, you can drive it in an Aptera for about $40.
Or to put it in easier terms — with a 1KMile Aptera, half the country is in range of you. I’d argue that for the price difference between a 250Mile Aptera and a 400 mile aptera, the simple piece of mind for road trips is worth the price. I’d likely say that if you do take longer range trips — 250-300-350 miles — the price difference between the 600 mile and 1Kmile Aptera — I’d pick the 1Kmile Aptera. Now — it’s just a decision between the 400 mile and 1Kmile –> which boils down to: Do I want to recharge at my destination or do I want to not worry about it and just recharge when I get home
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Jeffrey Reynolds Reynolds.
MemberAugust 10, 2022 at 9:41 pm
MemberAugust 17, 2022 at 8:12 am
Scaling linearly from the 400 mile pack (we know the cell count is 6×416) and accounting a mere 15% for all non-cell battery components ( the battery alone will weigh 1090 lb. Scaling linearly means doing nothing to account for range loss due to weight which means the 1000 mile will either be under range or the “400 mile” is more like 460 miles. The Mirage was a very light car and EVs are typically heavy due to batteries. Smaller Apteras manage to be incredibly lightweight but that is because the base vehicle is light, batteries are relatively small and their pack overhead is apparently very lightweight.
Note: The model 3 long range pack is 75 kwh and weights 1060lb. That is about 50% overhead in the pack weight for non-cell components; achieving 15% would be an incredible feat.
MemberAugust 17, 2022 at 8:34 pm
Which Aptera configuration supports 500 pounds of passengers and cargo? If it’s the 250 mile pack, then my wife and I need to start dieting immediately so we can lose a total of 200 pounds to offset the weight of the 400 mile pack. If the 600 mile pack supports 500 pounds of passengers and cargo, then would going with the 250 mile pack gain an additional 480 pounds of cargo? I understand why the 1000 mile pack would require extra suspension (which also adds extra weight), but would it also be able to carry 500 pounds of passengers and cargo on top of half a ton of extra battery weight?
MemberAugust 17, 2022 at 8:57 pm
All variants are spect’d with a recommended 500 pound total weight limit. The variants are engineered so their performance meets a consistent level regardless of battery size. That doe not mean they will not operate outside the weight limit. It means there will be some degradation of published performance if transporting more than 500 pounds.
MemberAugust 19, 2022 at 10:21 am
I opted for 400 miles.
I am in Florida and my house is solar powered with a daily surplus most days. Retired, my daily trips are dhort few and many are run on my electric bike. Winter range is not a consideration, a/c might be an issue but I will wait and see what the power draw looks like in production examples.
I wont be leaving my car out in the driveway all day. Too hot, too much UV damage here in FL. Consequently, solar body panels mean little to me as I already have a solar power source for charging and, worst case, I put a couple or three more panels up and dwarf the car’s supposed solar collection.
As a consequence, it is the efficiency of the Aptera that appeals. So lighter weight is more appealing. Ergo a smaller battery pack is more appealing. Ballancing that, I occasionally might use the Aptera for a modest road trip (something I am gonna have to reevaluate as data on ride quality comes out). I need enough range to get me to a level 2 destination charger for a 300 mile one way leg on an overnight stay. 400 is the sweet spot for me, especially if those are first in the queue😉.
This focus on range always seems silly to me unless you are taking a very large number of long trips. I can’t see lugging around more weight, reducing efficiency, increasing component wear and tear, reducing braking efficiency etc. on every short haul trip fir the promise of a once month or less long road trip.
MemberAugust 19, 2022 at 10:51 am
Regeneration energy, FWD or AWD, compensates for the weight in energy recovery during braking. Braking efficiency is a non-factor with respect to weight. AWD will eliminate the need for any friction braking.
Also, I expect regenerative braking and reduced individual tire wear (lead foots notwithstanding), reduced brake servicing, will be the AWD plus, to the added road gear minus in reduced range/efficiency.
MemberAugust 19, 2022 at 10:59 am
“braking efficiency is a non-factor with respect to weight”. Interesting statement given that dividing the vehicle’s weight by the total brake effort, and then multiply the number by 100 to gets one the brake efficiency percentage. In a panic stop, with tire size (and swept area of brakes) being equal, extra weight matters, physics is still in play and it matters at an alarming rate as vehicle speed increases.
With respect to regenerative braking, the motors are the same across weights of battery packs, ergo the energy conversion rate of those motors at maximum remains constant across the battery weight options. So heavier cars, with unchanged motors will regenerative brake differently than lighter cars at the motor’s maximum conversion rate. The bleed-off is finite.
I agree that awd will regeneratively brake differently from FWD (another energy conversion unit , more contact surface). I have no interest in the added cost of AWD though.
MemberAugust 19, 2022 at 12:59 pm
I am of the understanding (perhaps wrong) that the 1000 and 600 are going to use different type of batteries to reduce weight so the spreadsheet is likely outdated. This is off an announcement not in English a week or two ago. This will also mean the the 250 and 400 models will be more than likely be produced first since the factory for those packs is already built and the 600/1000 is not.
MemberAugust 19, 2022 at 2:03 pm
My approach to the battery size choice is different than any I have heard so far. I have elected to go for the 60kwh and all wheel drive, with full solar. What I need is a 25kwh 2 wheel drive. That would suffice for most of my needs, but fewer of my wants. I have a heavy foot, but have never had a super responsive vehicle. I think that it will be a blast to punch it way more than I should. I think that this demand surge will be easier on the larger battery and generate less heat. Same as charging – less heat as power is spread across more cells. If they use the identical cooling system for all variants, then this may be an incorrect assumption. So I certainly could be wrong in my thinking, but there are some other considerations. If there are delays in getting the 60kwh and delays in getting the AWD then I am hoping they can be the same delay days of doing without an Aptera. Also I believe that a little heavier vehicle may be a better ride for me personally. I have not made a final decision on the full solar and won’t until I see the view from both models. My plan is to never charge if I can get away with it. If I am wrong about this, please let me down gently, don’t just burst my bubble!🙃
MemberJuly 7, 2023 at 5:41 pm
The question of how much battery is needed is valid and something that all drivers need to assess.
I visit relatives that live 400+ miles away, but I do this infrequently. But there are a lot of factors to consider.
Some questions that factor in the decision of what to buy:
– distance between recharging opportunities
– speed of replenishing the battery (some are reporting 5 minute recharge technologies, others, 10 miles / hr. of charge)
– effects of speed, terrain, weather, road conditions, tire conditions, etc. on range
– frequency of long trips
– degradation of battery over time
– trip distances over minor roads where charging opportunities are less common
And there are probably others. I would opt for a 400 or 600 battery range because too many of these factors would affect the overall range of an electric vehicle over a long trip, say from SF->LA. Starting with a full 400 mile battery ensures at least one stop for recharging and the charge point may or may not exist in the small towns in the middle of such a trip.
So trip planning (and confidence that the locations one picks actually have working systems) becomes a vital issue. A 250 mile battery just won’t (in the current infrastructure) just won’t provide the security I’d need before such a trip.
Many times, such as in the case of the article you cite in the post, the author does not consider the inconvenience of running out of charge or the magnitude of that inconvenience.
These parameters change with each new improvement in battery technology that affect capacity, recharge rate, weight reduction, etc. Even new tire technologies may provide additional range, even if nothing else changes. Given the current factors, a minimum range of 300 seems to be a requirement for the larger travel distances in western states.
Who wants to run out of battery charge in eastern parts of Nevada? Having made this particular trip, I think it is safe to say, “absolutely nobody.”
MemberJuly 7, 2023 at 7:47 pm
You asked: “Who wants to run out of battery charge in eastern parts of Nevada? Having made this particular trip…”
I’m guessing you’re talking about “The Loneliest Highway” US-50 between Fallon and Ely. Or Maybe US-93 between Garnet on I-15 and Wells on I-80?
Neither route has Superchargers though supposedly one station is being built in Ely.
Originally I was going to get a 600 mile range FWD, but due to the pricing I went for the 400 mile model FWD. However, when the LE was announced, it had everything I wanted (except the color) so I decided to switch to it even though it is AWD and not FWD. Carlsbad to Prescott is a tad under 400 miles so figure I’ll have to do a short charge break on the way home.
MemberJuly 12, 2023 at 8:08 pm
Exactly what I was thinking. My son just moved to Michigan and I will likely make this type of trip at least once by car. Whether 50 is the worst possible highway in the US is questionable, but there are places where I simply would not want to have to camp to rely on solar regeneration alone.
MemberJuly 8, 2023 at 5:00 am
I am on board with you Ray. I believe that most of our driving is done way below the extended ranges, so why haul all the extra weight around.
I believe the battery packs ultimately need to be modular, so that pack sizes can be easily adjusted for intended trip range. Also this configuration would allow quick battery swaps instead of quick charges.
Until then I will take what they give me for my Aptera drive daily drive.
As far as hauling extra weight, being a motorcyclist, I feel the same way about the extra seat. I would love to see a single seat model. The efficiency would have to be amazing.
I vote 100 mile range high speed single seat daily driver. WooHoo!
ModeratorJuly 8, 2023 at 7:16 am
Winnie, cutting edge idea: single seat with 100 mile range. The efficiency factor would be off the charts. Also like the idea of being able to plug in an extra pack for longer trips. Afraid that is a pie-in-the-sky notion though given that each pack would weigh several hundred pounds — how to lift it into position even if some magically engineering would allow a plug-and-play connection.
MemberJuly 26, 2023 at 1:35 pm
I was thinking more on the lines of community batteries. Pull into a fuel station attendant (using a monorail of some type, standardized vehicle design would be required, etc, etc dreaming) pulls the battery and installs the fresh battery. Beats all the charge time ideas. Batteries could be pulled cooled, charged and prep’d, for the most efficient recharging and battery care, with fastest in and out of charging station.
I’m old enough to remember service stations that gave the car a once over while fueling.
Roll in and by the time they are done cleaning the windshield the robot has the battery swapped. Of course I guess the robot could clean the windshield too.
MemberJuly 26, 2023 at 3:13 pm
Your idea sounds like the entry level Nimbus One EV. Reviewed by AOC during his visit to Fully Charged. Single seat, top speed 50mph, removable/swappable batteries (by hand) range 93 miles (without swapping out a battery(s)). $200 A month to rent, $9980 to buy. Meant as A city car. Production schedule similar to Aptera and about as firm (Not)
MemberJuly 8, 2023 at 11:31 am
Well, there is the Electra Meccanica Solo…, no wait they had to recall all of them and went belly-up.
OK, the Elio G might… oh, they’re also out of business apparently.
Ah, the Arcimoto FUV…, no it is tandem seat; maybe you could remove the rear seat for less weight and better range?
MemberJuly 27, 2023 at 10:16 am
Man, it is crazy with all the Tesla charging stations being built along highway 5. I am sure Tesla is building in other areas too. Just an example, at Kettleman City they added about 80 more super chargers. I have seen 20+ super chargers being built in at least 3 or 4 road side stops from Santa Nella to the Grapevine. This means my 404 mile drive from Martinez to Victorville I can easily get by with the 250 mile Aptera with an average stop to stretch or change drivers about every 2 hours and not worry about finding a charge. Depending on prices, I will definitely consider getting a 250 mile hotrod Aptera and change out the wheel motors for a higher power using faster motors and see if I can get that 0-60 time below 3 seconds. weeeee and woohoo.
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Vernon Michael Gardner.
MemberJuly 27, 2023 at 3:37 pm
What about Tehachapi and Four Corners especially the former after the climb from Bakersfield?