The Aptera solar-assisted EV will get a carbon-fiber composite body from the same supplier used by supercar makers, to aid in its quest for 1,000 miles of real-world range.
Aptera recently announced an agreement with Italy’s C.P.C. Group for supply of bodywork. Bodies for the sleek three-wheeler will be made in Modena, Italy, in the Motor Valley that is also home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. All three are customers of C.P.C. Group, Aptera noted in a press release.
C.P.C. will supply “materials and structures” for what Aptera calls the Body in Carbon (BINC). It’s composed of just six main parts, made primarily from carbon fiber sheet molding compound and glass sheet molding compound. This keeps the Aptera 3-wheeler as light as possible, and also allows for recycling up to five times, the company claims.
The combination of carbon fiber and sheet molding compound increases stiffness over standalone sheet molding compound, but still retains that material’s ability to be press-molded, which cuts down on manufacturing time, according to Aptera.
A lightweight body shell helps offset some of the weight of batteries and solar cells. Aptera has claimed that, in normal daily commuting, those solar cells will mean owners may never need to charge. At least some versions will have a 1,000-mile range, Aptera has said, but the company is also taking reservations for an entry-level model with 400 miles of estimated range.
The exotic carbon-fiber coachwork is more than a performance boast point. Aptera has also hinted it might be able to outrun some sports cars. In a video released by the company earlier this year, an Aptera prototype held its own against an Audi R8 in a drag race.
In the same release, Aptera said it had more than 37,000 reservations to date. The company plans to start deliveries in 2023, ramping up to full-scale production of 40 vehicles per day at its Carlsbad, California, facility that same year.
While pricing and full specifications haven’t been finalized, Aptera has been filling in the blanks when it comes to suppliers. Last month its announced plans to use Maxeon solar cells, while battery tech will come in the form of 2170 cells from EVE Energy.
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