If you’ve been riding passenger on the road to solar mobility with us from the beginning, we’ve cruised through three phases of development together. Just in September, you met Gamma – our latest phase of development and model to represent the vehicle’s production-intent functionalities and features. But before that, there was Beta – the test mules we used to integrate production parts and to evaluate dynamic and transient vehicle behavior.
With one glance, you might be able to tell that we refined Gamma’s wheel pants, body, and nose structure. But what about the details that aren’t immediately obvious to the naked eye? We went through multiple iterations of completing ergonomic studies, validating our aerodynamic profile, and light-weighting our parts – resulting in:
- A 1% larger body – including redesigned wheel pants
- Integrated production solar panels
- Lighting with maximized efficiency
- Refined vision assist system
- Production-intent body control
Gamma’s body is 1% larger, which increases interior volume and provides more space for our lightweight battery packs. If you are thinking, “1% is a minor change” you might be surprised! When it comes to an ultra-efficient vehicle like Aptera, any tweak to the design is consequential because maintaining the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile is so crucial for its performance.
We also got by with a little help from our friend: Artificial Intelligence. And after thousands of iterations with AI computational fluid dynamics, we achieved the following:
- 4 inches of growth in length, increasing our cargo space.
- A different shape of wheel pants (which are absolutely crucial to the vehicle’s aerodynamics as air gets compressed between the body and tires)
- A lower and pointier nose
- A patent on the suspension, effectively making our drivetrain more efficient.
And overall, these changes lowered our aerodynamic profile. Now let’s dive into the rest.
Integrated Production Solar Panels
One of the most exciting and more noteworthy additions to our Gamma vehicle is its integrated solar package. Unlike Beta, Gamma features fully functional solar panels that trickle back into its fully operational battery pack – a major milestone achieved by our solar team. While we have been testing our solar technology on various rigs since the beginning, this is the first time we have had our solar technology fully integrated into a completed vehicle.
Whereas most solar panels lay flat, Aptera’s design must accommodate mobility and movement. As a result, the vehicle has no flat surfaces. This means each solar panel is compound-curved and made up of flexible, IBC monocrystalline cells built to last up to 15 years. But, please, take it from the experts: The solar team can tell you all about the process of getting our solar panels into production here.
You may notice our nose is not only pointier, but our headlight design has changed. Thanks to advancements in LED lighting, we can now use lower power options to project high and low beams from the front of the vehicle. With this, we maximized our efficiency. But even with technological advancements and the power of the sun on our side, Aptera is no exception to federal regulations.
As an autocycle or motorcycle, our sEV must comply with regulations to include a center headlight no more than 8” off-center. To abide by this, we developed a center projector beam that shines high and low beams out of the front of the vehicle. And in the rear, we implemented a single-efficient LED reverse light and one for the charge port and license plate.
Refined Vision System
Gamma’s vision system consists of two screens directly in front of the driver’s line of sight, making it easy to see both the left and right blind spots at a glance. With a total of 4 cameras; one left, one right, one narrow-rear, and one wide-rear for parking, the driver has impeccable visibility around the entire vehicle.
Despite our advanced vision system, you may notice that Gamma features side mirrors. To comply with legal requirements, we added them to the vehicle. If it were up to us (and unfortunately, it‘s not), we would rely on the superior visibility provided by the four cameras in our vision system. But until then, we will continue to drive the regulatory battle in a positive direction in the name of efficiency and a more sustainable future.
Production-Intent Body Control
Aptera’s body control design minimizes the complexity of the wiring harness, and Gamma is our first vehicle demonstrating this approach. In most vehicles, all of the wires needed for body controls, like the motor and door ajar sensor wires, connect to a central computer from separate points, resulting in many cables and added weight.
Gamma, on the other hand, is equipped with small, localized control boards. Our door controller is in the door itself, the rear hatch controller is in the rear hatch, and so on. Because of this approach, only three wires run from each location back to the central computing system, upholding our radically simple and ultra-efficient ethos. It’s a massive accomplishment made by our low-voltage team.
From here, we will continue to finalize our production-intent design, Delta, lock in production parts, and test and validate those parts.
We look forward to sharing our progress as we continue to approach production. In the meantime, if you would like to help us shift the status quo to one that is built on clean, green, renewable energy – please visit https://aptera.us/move/.