If you want an EV to take camping, several companies are eager to sell you an electric pickup truck. But Aptera seems to think its solar-supplemented three-wheeler can fill that role just as well—if, perhaps for day-camping.
Aptera recently completed its second "alpha" prototype, which the company named Sol, and released a video showing the car being taken on surfing and camping outings near San Diego, where the company is based. That indicates the slim EV has room for a surfboard, and it's a somewhat different angle from Aptera's other recent marketing, which focused more on efficiency.
Aptera has pitched the three-wheeler as a "never charge" vehicle, anticipating that drivers will be able to rely on the built-in solar array most of the time. The vehicle has 180 solar cells embedded in its bodywork, covering 32.2 square feet, and Aptera claims that, in most regions of the United States, it will be able to go more than 11,000 miles a year on solar power alone.
Aptera Sol alpha prototype
The company is also targeting 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 110 mph. In another video released earlier this year, the company also showed off aggressive handling maneuvers and moose-test scenarios, in order to dispel doubts about the three-wheeler's balance and stability.
The vehicle uses Elaphe in-wheel motors at all three wheels, but Aptera has indicated it plans to bring in its own battery technology, as well as its own user interface, and possibly some 3D-printing techniques as part of the assembly process.
Aptera started on the original concept for this vehicle a decade ago before running out of funding. In its reconstituted form, the company completed a $4 million funding round in February, and reportedly had close to 10,000 reservations for the three-wheeler as of April. Pricing starts at $25,900, and the company has said the first production vehicles will be completed in 2021.