We’ve been following an automotive startup’s journey to get its three-wheeled solar-electric vehicle on the road for more than 15 years, and now the latest teardrop-shaped Aptera prototype has made its public debut in San Diego.
The eye-catching Gamma prototype comes from the latest incarnation of Aptera Motors, which began as Accelerated Composites in the early noughties before running out of funds in 2011 and relaunching a few years back.
The aim is to deliver a two-seat three-wheeled solar-electric vehicle that can roll for up to 40 miles (65 km) per day without having to plug in, with the company aiming for a 1,000-mile (1,600 km) of overall per-charge driving thanks to an efficient electric drivetrain, slippery aero design and use of lightweight composite materials.
By the close of 2021, the company had completed it Alpha testing and began making preparations to develop Beta test mules. At the end of March this year, these mules were made street legal for road tests in real driving situations.
Last month, Aptera started drip-feeding details of the latest development vehicle, including an up-close look at a minimalist interior rocking a yoke steering wheel in front of a digital instrument cluster and a center display for controlling the vehicle, media and navigation, digital cameras that replace the rear-view mirror and assist the traditional exterior side mirrors, increased head/leg/hip room compared to earlier designs and durable vegan-friendly materials throughout.
The reveal this weekend at Fully Charged Live 2022 shows photovoltaic cells on the roof and trunk, amber strip lights atop the front wheel covers as well as a smiling curve to the headlight and braking strip that extends along the sides, always impressive butterfly doors that open when passenger or driver knock on the side of the vehicle, a generous 25 cu ft of cargo space in the trunk, a netted console to keep stuff in its place, and playful plus/minus symbols on the pedals.
The Gamma prototype is the final stage before development moves into the production-intent phase, ahead of full-scale manufacturing at its new facility in Carlsbad, California, as early as next year.
Aptera has so far attracted more than 30,000 reservations, and has inked partnership deals with Elaphe (for electric motors), battery supplier Eve Energy, industrial manufacturing technology company RedViking and others. Folks can reserve a production solar-electric vehicle now for a hundred bucks towards a starting price of just under US$26,000 250-mile (400-km) per-charge version. The reveal at Fully Charged Live 2022 can be seen below.
Aptera Reveals Gamma at Fully Charged LIVE 2022