If you have not been away from the news in the last few days, you already know Aptera has resurrected. But you are probably curious about how the company plans to deliver its car, what it will offer and, most of all, how it intends to stay alive for the next decades.
Let's start with something juicy: the new Aptera's technical specifications, which we exclusively obtained.
The car will be 175 inches (4.44 m) long, 88 in (2.24 m) wide, 53.5 in (1.36 m) tall, and it has a 109 in (2.77 m) wheelbase. Its front track – the only one, with the single wheel at the back – is 77.5 in (1.97 m) and weight is estimated at 1,800 lb (around 815 kg). The luggage compartment will hold an impressive 25 ft³ of cargo (a little short of 710 l).
By the way, the car still has no name, according to Chris Anthony, one of Aptera’s CEOs. "We are just calling everything the 'Aptera' for now. Once we chose – with the help of deposit holders – our pack sizes and performance options, we will figure out if each variant needs a name or a number," said Anthony in an exclusive interview to InsideEVs.
Aptera's CEO also told us the performance numbers. He has the goal of making the Performance version go from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, while the Standard and Long Range derivatives would have a 0-to-60-mph time of 4 s. The version names are temporary, clearly inspired on the ones adopted by a major EV manufacturer. You know which.
Braking distance will range from 105 ft (32 m) to 120 ft (36.6 m). Top speed will be 110 mph, "rpm-limited by the motors", according to Anthony.
When you look at Aptera’s strategies for the future, they seem to be just waiting for the money to take off. The first money injection needed relates to “pre-production vehicle builds and the engineering required to launch” the company’s “first production lines.” But that is clearly just the foundation of the building Aptera wishes to erect.
The company intends to start production in 2020, but it will already have $1.5 million in expenses in 2019 due to operational costs. When it starts delivering cars, the operational costs will amount to $8.2 million. But the company will also have production costs of $ 4 million.
"We will need to raise another $20 million or more to launch it into limited production with true volume production and the design of other variants possibly requiring more capital," said Anthony.
With a gross revenue estimated at $6.5 million, Aptera will work in a red of $5.7 million in 2020. What is surprising is that 2021 would already bring the company to a profitable operation. In fact, an operation that would make all manufacturers jealous, at 31 percent of profit margin.
Too much? In 2022, Aptera plans to sell with a profit margin of 35 percent. All due to production costs that will go from $21,000 to $36,000 per unit. Aptera plans to sell the car starting at $34,000 for the 40 kWh entry-level vehicle. The top of the line 100 kWh Aptera would cost $59,000.
When you think that you can buy a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus for $38,990* – and that the Aptera car is a trike for two people – it makes you wonder if people will be seduced by the efficiency proposal alone. And for making fun of Toyota as well.
"We feel we have something to offer people that want the best in efficient technology. And because we use so much 'less fuel' versus other EVs and have such great range and other benefits, we believe that consumers will like our offerings at our current pricing strategy," says the Aptera CEO.
Another thing intrigued us in the presentation. The company says it will enter the autonomous car race with “Aptera’s autopilot-system hardware, developed in conjunction with a large Japanese OEM.”
Which Japanese OEM is this? "Our Co-Pilot doesn’t come from an OEM per se, but it was developed in conjunction with large Japanese OEMs via a company called Andromeda Interfaces that one of our founding team members leads here in San Diego," Anthony told us.
Anyway, the Japanese device would mean Aptera “can quickly compete in the autonomous driving arena with Tesla, BMW, and Audi,” according to the image above.
In order to make the vehicle appealing, even to a relatively small audience – a little more than 11,000 in 2022 – Aptera has to prove it produces a safe product. It will do that with “crash, crush, and FMVSS” certification.
Composed of 10 major structural parts, the trike will be easier to build than a conventional vehicle. Aptera says a regular EV has 300 structural parts. As it will not have steel stamping, that will allow the company to start production very quickly.
At Aptera’s new website – www.aptera.us – there is a link for the crowdfunding campaign and to a newsletter on all the news about the future vehicle.
The campaign seems to be going well. Early in the morning, it was a little over $40,000. At the time of publishing this article, it reached $51,139. There’s still a long way to go up to the $1,070,000 goal presented at WeFund.
In one of the last slides of the Aptera’s presentation, we can see the picture of a building with the Aptera logo. We have no idea where it is located, but it is neither the building of Flux Power – the company founded by Chris Anthony and Michael Johnson – nor Famgro Farms, founded by Steve Fambro, the other Aptera CEO.
If you know where it is, don't get confused. "This building is here in Carlsbad, but it’s not our building. It’s aspirational – it’s the building we’d like," said Fambro. Ambition always helps achieve goals. This time, with no resurrection, guys, please. Staying alive is more than enough.
*The author apologizes for writing the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus price "including potential savings" – which was $32,815 – and thanks to M McBride for pointing out the mistake. The article now presents the correct price.