Aptera Solar-Powered Vehicle Set To Roll in 2023, Lightyear Puts Brakes on $250K SPEV

    Aptera, a developer of a futuristic-looking, solar-powered passenger automobile, has pulled the wraps off its first manufacturing automobile, which it says might be rolling off the meeting line this 12 months.
    According to the corporate, the all-wheel-drive, three-wheeled, two-passenger automobile may have a variety of 400 miles, can dash to 60 mph in 4 seconds, and has a high pace of 101 mph.
    Although designed to attract most of its energy from the solar, the Aptera automobile may also be charged from a normal 120-volt outlet.
    In a location with very excessive solar publicity like Southern California, the common American driver would by no means must plug in, based mostly on the each day common of 29 miles, the corporate defined in a information launch.
    In places with medium solar publicity, comparable to New York or Chicago, drivers could have to plug in about thrice a 12 months. At 13 mph, an in a single day cost ought to final 150 miles.


    Meanwhile, Lightyear, developer of a extra conventional-looking passenger automobile, on Monday introduced it was suspending manufacturing of its US$250,000 Lightyear 0 solar-powered automobile and redirecting its assets on its Lightyear 2 product, which is anticipated to start out promoting at just below $40,000 and have a variety of 500 miles.
    “Recently, we launched a waitlist for Lightyear 2, resulting in more than 40,000 subscriptions of individual customers, and we already had approximately 20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners,” Lightyear CEO and Co-founder Lex Hoefsloot stated in a press release.
    “We hope to conclude some key investments in the coming weeks in order to scale up to Lightyear 2, an affordable solar electric vehicle available for a wider audience,” he added.
    ‘Ambitious’ Goal
    Chris Jones, chief analyst at Canalys, a worldwide market analysis firm, defined that Lightyear 0 was at all times solely a showcase for what’s attainable with photo voltaic and anticipated to be delivered to a couple hundred prospects.
    “It was hoped these influential, wealthy, early adopter customers would become evangelists to help build awareness for what is a new vehicle category,” Jones instructed TechNewsWorld.
    “The second model from Lightyear will be priced in the sweet spot for EVs for its planned 2025 launch,” he stated. “We’ll get the full reveal this year, but crucially it’s a five-seater car — and it looks like a car.”

    Lightyear has opened the waitlist for its second manufacturing mannequin, the Lightyear 2. So far, the corporate is pulling again the curtain slowly to disclose what the automobile will appear like.  (Image Credit: Lightyear)

    “Aptera, on the other hand, has gone for a less-traditional, more radical look,” he continued. “It’s a design that will appeal less to customers.”
    He known as Aptera’s declaration that it might be producing automobiles this 12 months “ambitious,” particularly since it might have to get funding very quickly if it needs to satisfy that purpose.
    Capital Scarcity
    “2023 is a terrible time to be raising capital,” noticed Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for e-mobility at Guidehouse Insights, a market intelligence firm in Detroit, who has been overlaying Aptera since 2007.
    “Companies that are much better established are having a hard time right now, so I don’t have much confidence that Aptera will get to the point of delivering any notable number of vehicles this year,” Abuelsamid instructed TechNewsWorld.
    If Aptera can begin delivering SPEVs this 12 months, it could need to ship them outdoors North America.

    “Some European markets and Southeast Asia are better prepared for such cars,” asserted Roger C. Lanctot, director for automotive linked mobility at Strategy Analytics, a worldwide analysis, advisory, and analytics agency.
    France, for instance, has a program known as véhicule san permis, designed to permit drivers with out licenses to function automobiles with decrease security requirements.
    “There is a market for solar-powered vehicles, though it may not yet be a mass market,” Lanctot instructed TechNewsWorld.
    He added that Aptera would probably must leverage automobile sharing to show shoppers to the idea of solar-powered transportation.
    Too Many Angles
    Once Aptera’s automobiles make it to market, they might encounter extra issues.
    “Their technology is pretty much cooked, but the weight disparity and relative flimsiness of their design will create problems for them in the market,” stated Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst on the Enderle Group, an advisory providers agency in Bend, Ore.
    “The Aptera offers better protection than a motorcycle, but I expect the interest in the car will decline once the first accident occurs,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.


    Enderle maintained that photo voltaic know-how wants additional growth earlier than it may be used to energy a automobile that appears like a traditional vehicle.
    “You need to reduce the vehicle’s weight and size to even have a remote chance of getting solar to work,” he defined.
    “The Aptiva design doesn’t look like it would fare well in a multi-car collision, given how much lighter the vehicle is,” he added.
    Abuelsamid identified that photovoltaic cells have a peak producing effectivity with a reasonably slender angle of the solar. At extra excessive angles, they generate little or no vitality. Since a automobile usually doesn’t have a variety of flat surfaces, the cells are in any respect kinds of angles, and the automobile itself might be at an infinite variety of positions relative to the solar.
    “Solar cells are likely to be most useful for auxiliary power such as powering climate control and other systems to reduce load on the battery,” he stated. “For a small vehicle like the Aptera, it has limited useful surface area for cells, as well.”
    Forced To Compromise
    Lanctot famous, nonetheless, that 70% of all automobile journeys are between six and 12 miles. “So solar can be a very practical solution, which is why companies like Sono Motors and Squad Mobility are getting into the business,” he stated.
    Sono Motors, based mostly in Germany, makes a automobile that costs by way of the solar, {an electrical} socket, or each concurrently. The photo voltaic vary of the automobile is 70 miles per week, though its battery has a variety of 190 miles. Its high pace is 86 mph.
    Squad makes two solar-powered automobiles — a two-seater, with a most pace of 27 mph, and a four-seater, with a high pace of 44 mph. The vary for the automobiles is 12 miles a day.


    “With solar, one way or another, you are forced to compromise,” Lanctot noticed.
    “Sono and Squad compromise on safety to deliver a lower price,” he continued. “Lightyear compromised on price — super expensive — to deliver equivalent performance to ICE/EV. Aptera compromises on cosmetics — three wheels — to get to a lower price and acceptable performance, sacrificing interior space as well.”
    “There is a niche in the market for these vehicles — for each of them — but it is a niche with the limitations that that implies,” he stated.
    “The Nissan Leaf was greeted with some skepticism because of its limited range when it launched, but it found a firm place in the market and remains popular,” Lanctot defined.
    “There is definitely a home for solar vehicles, but it likely represents tens of thousands of vehicles for Aptera, Sono, and Squad, not millions.”

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