Aptera Motors has unveiled its inaugural Launch Edition, the first series of over 40,000 orders for a fleet of what the Carlsbad-based startup describes as “ultra-efficient vehicles that will bring solar mobility and freedom from the grid a reality.”
Steve Fambro, Aptera co-founder and co-CEO, said on January 20 during a live web event introducing the Launch Edition: “We’ve solved the equation for a more efficient way to travel by harnessing the power of the sun, and we’re excited to introduce our Launch Edition vehicle to the world.”
Aptera’s Launch Edition, a two-seater capable of going from 0 to 60 in four seconds, was created with “one purpose in mind — energy efficiency,” Fambro added. “Its unique shape, ultra-lightweight and ultra-strong materials allow Aptera to slip through the air using a quarter of the energy compared to other electric and hybrid vehicles on the road today.”
Equipped with roughly 700 watts of proprietary solar technology, Fambro said Aptera’s Launch Edition will drive “up to 40 miles per day directly from the sun’s rays, making it possible to never plug in to charge again.”
The company also announced this month that via the new Aptera Accelerator Program, the first 2,000 Launch Edition vehicles produced will be prioritized for early deliveries to investors. Through March 26, anyone who invests $10,000 or more will be added to the company’s “leaderboard.”
Past investors who contribute over $10,000 also will have their total amounts (including past investments) added to the investment leaderboard. Investments over $10,000 receive a $100 coupon to waive the vehicle preorder reservation fee and a 5% discount (up to $2,500 value) off the final purchase price.
The investor who contributes the most to the Accelerator Program during the January to end-of-March period will receive the first delivery slot in the queue, and the remaining 1,999 slots will be prioritized according to the largest investment amount.
The Accelerator Program has come caveats: Customers must take delivery of their vehicles from Aptera’s Carlsbad assembly location. “As part of our Right to Repair philosophy, we will make Aptera parts and repair documentation available for service needs, if any should arise,” a company release said.
The company also announced this month that it is working on closing a Series B2 funding round. “We have many great conversations underway with large investors,” Fambro said. “However, this process takes time.”
‘Stellar’ Charging Infrastructure
With Aptera’s solar technology, consistent access to a charging station or even a plug and socket isn’t necessary. Aptera’s Launch Edition comes integrated with a solar charging package allowing most people to drive for weeks, even months, without ever having to plug in to charge. In a location with very high sun exposure like Southern California, the average American driver would never have to plug in, based on the daily average of 29 miles. In a location with medium sun exposure such as New York or Chicago, owners will only need to plug in roughly three times per year.
Aptera’s efficient vehicle platform can utilize any standard power outlet in the world to charge the vehicle. When plugged into a 120V outlet, Aptera’s Launch Edition can still charge over 13 miles per hour or roughly 150 miles overnight, according to the company.
In partnership with Italy’s CPC Group, Aptera has developed an efficient and streamlined process for manufacturing their Launch Edition vehicles. These methods allow for quicker vehicle deliveries and a better use of raw materials.
One of the most important aspects of this process is Aptera’s specialized composite body, or Body in Carbon – BinC. The resulting BinC takes much less time to assemble and yields quality and repeatability that is truly a new paradigm for manufacturing composite vehicle bodies and closures, especially when compared to other steel or aluminum vehicles.
After the company’s Launch Edition production line in Carlsbad is up and running, Aptera expects eight different assembly plants to open around the globe by 2028.
The company is finalizing the fourth and final phase of its product development, Delta. As part of this phase, Aptera will complete crash testing and validation. Once completed, Fambro said Aptera plans to scale quickly into full-scale single shift production of 10,000 vehicles per year. From there, Aptera will expand its output to dual shift 20,000 vehicles per year out of its Carlsbad facility.
“While our delivery timeline is funding dependent, our goal is to begin production by the end of 2023,” Chris Anthony, co-founder and co-CEO said. “Once we meet our fundraising objectives, we will be able to provide a more accurate delivery timeline.”
“Our Launch Edition is our chance to show the world something that’s never existed before,” added Anthony. “Our identity at Aptera is about transformation, reinvention, and surprises. The Launch Edition is our chance to lead a movement that’s for everyone. We are solar mobility, and we are the future.”
Co-CEOs: Chris Anthony, Steve Fambro
BUSINESS: Electric vehicle manufacturer
PRE-ORDERS: 40,000+ from customers in 112 countries
NOTABLE: Aptera’s unique body shape is so efficient that the entire vehicle exerts less total wind drag than just the side-view mirror on a Ford F150.