New Atlas: Aptera opens orders on 1,000-mile solar EV that never needs charging
...what if your daily driver was the closest thing on the road to a solar racer? An EV truly designed with ludicrous levels of efficiency as the primary goal? Something so aerodynamically slippery that it makes a mockery of the production car world? Well, that's the Aptera. And its manufacturers claim that its 180 small solar panels, making up an area of more than three square meters (32.3 sq ft), will harvest enough energy that many drivers will never have to charge it.
The top-spec Aptera can self-generate as much as 45 miles (72 km) of range per day in ideal conditions, which is more than twice the average daily mileage of American car owners. And that doesn't have to be a terribly large amount of energy, thanks to its extreme frugality...
3 sq m = 600W in bright sunlight. A typical car uses in the ballpark of 20kW at 100kph, but this car has a .13 Cd vs .3 - .4, so it will use a third the power, say 6kW. So solar only supplies at best 10% of the power needed while driving. Aerodynamic drag is a square or cubic function, so to get down to 600W you're going a third the speed, say 35kph. Conversely, though, if your commute is less than 1/9 of your work time, you can drive to work at full speed, then have it recharge for your commute home at full speed, then recharge off mains in your garage.
But I wouldn't want to be doing 100kph on those skinny tyres... better to stick to 35kph in case you need to brake hard.