Carlsbad-based solar electric vehicle startup Aptera has signed an agreement with the C.P.C. Group to produce its specialized composite vehicle bodies.
C.P.C. is located in Modena, Italy in the heart of the Italian Motor Valley, where legendary supercars and motorcycles have been manufactured for decades. The company’s customers include high-end sportscar makers Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Maserati, BMW and Lotus.
Aptera said earlier this year that it expects to begin producing its unique three-wheeled vehicles in 2023.
C.P.C. will be supplying materials and structures for Aptera’s BINC, which stands for Body in Carbon. In keeping with Aptera’s ethos of simplicity, safety and sustainability, the BINC is composed of only six main parts − and can be recycled up to five times, giving it an ultra-low CO2 lifecycle.
The majority of the BINC is made of carbon fiber sheet molding compound (CF-SMC), combined with glass sheet molding compound (SMC).
Carbon fiber-SMC is a lightweight material consisting of a random arrangement of short fibers that make it possible to mold intricately shaped parts. The specialized material offers much higher stiffness and strength than standard SMC. Because it can be press-molded, this process substantially reduces manufacturing time for the BINC and will allow Aptera to begin delivering vehicles to customers more quickly, company officials said Franco Iorio, CEO of C.P.C. Group, is a fan of Aptera’s unique business model.
“Aptera represents a shift away from conventional thinking of the past,” Iorio said. “We desire to be a part of this future, which is why we’re joining Aptera’s movement.”
“We’ll be building the bodies for their unique solar vehicle in the heart of the Motor Valley, allowing Aptera to scale up manufacturing right away to meet the high demand for its first vehicle,” Iorio added.
C.P.C. Group was founded in 1959 as a small artisan company manufacturing models solely made by the expert hand of the model maker.
After switching from aluminum to composites, during the last decade C.P.C. has established a reputation for specialized composite solutions for automotive manufacturers.
Steve Fambro, who co-founded Aptera with Chris Anthony, hailed the new partnership up with C.P.C.
“The world’s most efficient vehicle can be made with the most efficient process,” Fambro said. “For several months, our engineers have been working closely with C.P.C to finalize our Delta design, and now those efforts are being realized as we take an important step forward towards high-volume production.”
Fambro said Aptera currently has over 37,000 reservations and plans to begin deliveries in 2023, ramping up to a full-scale production rate of 40 vehicles per day at its final assembly location in Carlsbad.
Earlier this year, the company announced partnerships with Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies as a supplier of solar cells and China-based EVE Energy to supply lithium-ion batteries for its vehicles.
The company said in early November it would share “more details about vehicle specifications, final pricing and timing in forthcoming announcements.”
Aptera’s initial eco-friendly models will have the longest range of any production vehicle − with up to 1,000 miles per charge and the ability to travel up to 40 miles a day on free power from its integrated solar panels.
CEOs: Chris Anthony, Steve Fambro
NOTABLE: Aptera’s aerodynamic body design is so efficient that the entire vehicle exerts less total wind drag than just the side-view mirror on a Ford F150.