Tech

# Aptera's three-wheeled electric car can run on solar energy alone

If it's overcast you can charge it from a wall plug, but the idea is that you may never need to.

U.S.-based startup Aptera has developed a three-wheel car that, it says, can run 1,000 miles without requiring its drivers to recharge it like a conventional electric car... assuming there's enough sunshine, that is. The two-seater Aptera vehicle is powered by solar panels and a battery and is engineered to be as aerodynamic as possible, maximizing its range while using the bare minimum of energy.

Its creators call it the "Never Charge" car, a cunning bit of marketing copy that relies on a few caveats. Aptera says on average American drivers cover 29 miles on a daily basis. Use the calculator on its website to input where you live, and how many miles a day you drive, and you can work out roughly how often you'll need to plug the car in. If your mileage is low enough and your locale sunny enough, you should (you guessed it) never need to charge it... unless a nuclear war, volcanic eruption, or other freak weather event blocks out the sun with clouds for weeks on end.

The "first-ever" — The startup says that Aptera can cover 40 miles on a daily basis and if you want, a wild 11,000 miles on an annual basis without adding to your utility bill at all. This makes Aptera — according to its makers — the first-ever never-charge ride. Dezeen did the math for the rest of us, noting that if you were to drive an average of 25 miles every day in an Aptera vehicle in the United Kingdom, you'd have to charge the ride about 1.46 times every year. Given how little sun the U.K. gets, that really is remarkable.

Try the Aptera calculator — If this talk about solar-powered adventuring excites you, you might want to check out Aptera's calculator and run your own numbers. I ran a test on the estimator. I live in Los Angeles, which of course falls on the sunnier side of Aptera's chart. I claimed I drive 35 miles daily (at the moment, of course, I tend to drive zero). By Aptera's calculation, I would have to charge my car 3.29 times a year. Which is very impressive indeed.

What Aptera says — "We are building an efficiency-obsessed brand because we want to inspire people to do more than just drive their cars," the company says. "We believe super-efficient, safe, fun-to-drive vehicles are at the heart of managing the Earth’s natural resources for the sake of future generations."

Business Insider reports the Aptera car will cost between \$25,900 to \$46,900. The company will start deliveries in 2021. I love it, myself, but perhaps that because it looks like something straight out of The Jetsons.

UPDATE: A concerned and eagle-eyed reader contacted us to point out Aptera's checkered history of false starts, problematic prototypes, and missed deadlines. In short, as with all crowdfunded, futuristic technologies making bold claims, we suggest healthy skepticism and won't be investing ourselves until we see a safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and can book a test-drive.