Aptera Motors has announced Paradigm, their first solar electric vehicle (sEV). The American automotive start-up has said that the car requires no charging for most daily use, and that its top model, the Paradigm+, offers a range of up to 1,000 miles on a full charge – the longest range of any production vehicle to date.
The start-up cites the vehicle’s innovative features to multiple breakthroughs in a number of areas, including lightweight structures, low-drag aerodynamics and cooling, material science, and manufacturing processes. The top model’s 1,000-mile range comes courtesy of its 100kWh battery capacity, while models with smaller batteries, from 25kWh to 60kWh, are respectively capable of travelling for up to 250 miles and 600 miles. Another feature is the Paradigm’s Never Charge technology. While the vehicle can be plugged in to charge, it leverages a system of solar cells built into the car’s body structure to provide up to 45 miles of range per day. In a document addressing the vehicle’s specifications, Aptera noted that solar technology can be added to the hood and rear hatch – providing up to 24 miles of additional range per day.
The Paradigm is powered by a pair of liquid-cooled electric motors which, on its top model, can achieve 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. Likewise, the front wheel drive model can achieve 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds – both have a top speed of 110mph. The Paradigm+ utilizes its three-wheel drive to deliver vectorized torque control technology – allowing for increased comfort, stability, and the ability to handle inclement weather.
Aptera’s sEV also adopts features that streamline the user experience of its vehicle. In addition to its 15-inch touchscreen and driver display, the car’s UI features adjustable settings that allow drivers to understand how they can conserve energy and extend the range of their vehicle. The car’s premium features extend this user-oriented approach further, with options for off-roading, camping, and SAE level two autonomy showcased among other upgrades.
The start-up’s announcement comes after a long development cycle that started in 2009 – when the first prototype of the Paradigm was shown to the press. However, just two years after this, Aptera went into liquidation. Its two founders then explored other ventures before relaunching the company in 2019. This relaunch most notably encompassed a crowdfunding investment campaign which, to date, has gathered over $1.5m from more than 1,500 investors.
This recovery allowed Aptera to quickly continue work on their sEV. The startup began taking $100 reservations for the Paradigm (400-mile range) and Paradigm+ (1,000-mile range), alongside an option for users to design and reserve their own custom vehicle. With what the company describes as a “rapid, high-volume and cost-efficient” production, Aptera hope to deliver the Paradigm in 2021 with a price range between $25,900 and $46,000+ – dependent on the customer’s selected range and options.
The advent of Aptera’s sEV follows the news of many governments and OEMs pushing for electrification in the next few years. Most notably, an increasing number of automakers are announcing the electrification of their existing vehicle lineups before 2030 – most likely in response to the UK Government’s ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles from 2030, and the emission targets set by the EU.