Aptera released a video update on Monday showing the company’s three and only Alpha prototypes. Once these vehicles are completed, the company moves on to building Beta vehicles, ”of which there will be between 6 and 12 vehicles.
For those who are not familiar, Aptera intends to build four phases of vehicles: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. Alpha vehicles are just the first prototypes to validate the most basic things, but also to give people a better idea of what the vehicles will look like. Beta vehicles will have functional, packaging and manufacturing improvements, but will generally be ugly and designed only for safety and function testing. Gamma vehicles will be production candidates to iron out final production issues, and Delta vehicles will be production vehicles.
If you want to get your own production vehicle, be sure to place your order here. The link gives you $ 30 off your Aptera pre-order and also gives me credit for my own test and review vehicles. I’m going to take mine on some pretty wild rides and I might even test it against the hardest thing a vehicle can face: teenagers.
What the company learned from alpha testing
During the Alpha phase, the company identified several ways to improve the headroom (apparently something the test pilots wanted more), give more room to the batteries and also improve aerodynamics despite increasing the size of the vehicle. This means the Beta vehicles will be a little different, but the frontal area has only increased by around 1%, so it won’t be extremely noticeable.
The Alpha phase also helped the team identify ways to improve vehicle dynamics. Handling, turning radius, handling and stability were analyzed by Roush, a company known for its work on performance vehicles. This means that the Beta vehicles will be much better than the Alphas. The redesigned suspension will also be optimized for mass production, so Aptera will be able to build enough for anyone who gets one (that would definitely include me!).
Beta vehicles will also have a revised body structure to make them easier to mass-produce. The weight will be reduced and the door mechanisms will be better for customers.
By working with Elaphe, the manufacturer of the wheel hub motors, Aptera was able to find ways to help the company better match the motors to the vehicle. One great thing has been to change the routing of the power cables, which will allow them to hide under aerodynamic covers and stay out of the way. The company is also working with other suppliers to ensure that other power systems, such as batteries, are also best suited to vehicle efficiency goals.
Like everything else, the battery will be designed for faster mass production. The cells will be designed to be combined faster with the BMS systems in production, allowing production to go 10 times faster.
Ergonomics have also been greatly improved. As previously mentioned, Aptera found the headroom to be somewhat lacking, but also made changes to the position of the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and other controls to better accommodate a larger party. Population. This will make the vehicle safer and more comfortable. Aptera seems to take human factors very seriously compared to the biggest maker of electric vehicles, so hopefully they come up with something that works great for drivers.
You can see a short video on all of this here:
Or watch a long, highly detailed video here:
What to expect in beta testing
As the company begins to show off beta development, expect to see more of the above-mentioned improvements appear in the videos. They won’t look as polished as the Alpha cars, but they will be able to see if the design improvements they made after the Alpha phase really work well in the real world. Considering the expertise we’ve seen Aptera working with (companies like Roush, Monroe, and others), beta vehicles should be significantly improved over Alphas.
As we can see in the first video, the upper and lower control arms are much thinner and sleeker than the Alpha tubular arms. In a vehicle as aerodynamic as the Aptera, every little thing can make a huge difference. The new design also has the wires (which are huge because they drive the whole vehicle) neatly stowed away where they can’t obstruct the flow of air. This means the company still takes the goal of 1,000 miles of range very seriously.
The rear suspension has also changed from a one-sided bar like on many motorcycles to a double-sided unit, which should give much better performance. I don’t yet know how the tire changes will go, but we’ll have to wait and see. Aptera seems to be very determined to make a very functional vehicle, so I don’t think that will drop the ball on something as common as changing a tire.
The Aptera solar team has also made tremendous progress. Solar panels are designed to last at least 10 years, despite running smoothly under conditions that would destroy most home solar panels you would put on your roof. Not only must it be able to cope with wind, frost and hail like other panels, but it must also be able to withstand the vibrations, harshness and speed of a car in the real world.
Aptera is recruiting
At the end of his last video, he says the company is hiring and encourages people to check out the company’s LinkedIn page to see what jobs it is hiring for. I took a look to see what they were doing on it.
On a technical level, Aptera is looking for battery engineers, harness and connectivity engineers, as well as a chassis design engineer. The company is also looking for people responsible for communications, public relations and social media to help market the company. This shows a good mix of promotion and technical skills for a company in its current development cycle.
Do you feel like I’ve helped you understand Aptera better? If so, feel free to use my Aptera referral code here. You get $ 30 off your pre-order and I get a credit on my order.
Featured Image: Screenshot of the improved suspension for the Aptera Beta test vehicles.
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