These days the best electric cars have pretty impressive ranges, but the charging times are still quite long. At least compared to filling up your car with gas. But what if your car was able to travel so far that recharging was barely an issue?
Aptera (opens in new tab) thinks it has the solution, in the form of a three-wheeled electric car called the Paradigm Plus. It has a range of more than 1,000 miles, can top up via solar power and production is due to start later this year.
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Currently, even the best electric cars struggle to top 400 miles of range, so how the heck can Aptera offer 1,000 miles of driving on a single charge? To put it into perspective, the driving distance from New York to Los Angeles is just under 2,800 miles. A car that goes 1,000 miles before recharging would only need to recharge twice along the way, and would still have plenty of power to spare when you arrive.
How does it manage this? Well it’s largely down to the vehicle’s light and aerodynamic design. Which explains why it only has three wheels, and why it looks so weird.
The Plus only weighs 2,200lbs, and has an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.13. It can go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, has a top speed of 110mph, and offers features such as all-wheel drive and vectorized torque for better stability.
But most importantly, that light and aerodynamic design allows it to go far further than the competition.
The Aptera Paradigm Plus has a big-ol’ 100kWh battery, which is the same size as the one in the 412-mile Tesla Model S and 360-mile Model X. But in the Paradigm Plus, that battery is good for 1,000 miles.
And there’s more — because the Paradigm Plus is also able to top that up with built-in solar panels.
Aptera says you can travel up to 40 miles a day on solar power alone, which could mean if you only drive short distances each day, you’d never need to plug it in at all. It’s a similar approach to that of the forthcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5, which also has a solar panel roof option.
If you do need a recharge, the company says that a rapid DC charger will add 500 miles of range for every hour — so in theory, it should only take a couple of hours to fully recharge. That said, if you have to resort to a 110v mains socket, you’ll only recharge at a speed of 13 miles per hour, meaning it’ll take more than three days to go from zero to 100%.
A car like this sounds expensive, and it kind of is. Though not as expensive as you might think. The top-of-the-line Paradigm Plus is $46,900, which is slightly more than the long-range Tesla Model Y. That costs $44,690, and can handle up to 326 miles of driving on one charge.
The standard Paradigm, which only offers 400 miles of range, currently costs $29,9000. While not 1,000 miles of driving, that’s still impressive. In fact a Tesla Model 3, with 263 miles of driving range, costs $32,690.
Of course there are optional extras that will push that price up, including all-wheel drive and solar panels on the hood and trunk. But it’s not an absurd amount of money, all things considered.
While the design doesn’t look like it offers much in the way of extra space at first glance, the Paradigm’s spec sheet (opens in new tab) reveals there is 25 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s more than the 15 cubic feet in the Tesla Model 3, though significantly less than the rest of the company’s cars.
In other words, while you may not have space for more than a single passenger, there’s still a decent amount of trunk space for you to utilize. Though the fact you don’t have any rear seats to fold down means you can’t increase that capacity when you need it.
On top of this, you can add optional extras, including level 2 autonomy features that include lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking. It’s not even close to full autonomy, but they are useful features to have on long drives.
If you want to pick up an Aptera Paradigm, you can reserve your own custom model right now (opens in new tab). The reservation will cost $100, and Aptera is aiming to get the first cars on the road later this year.
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