2023 Aptera Launch Edition solar-powered car unveiled

It sounds too good to be true.

A car that can drive for free, powered by the sun.

But that’s what Aptera Motors promises, thanks to an enormous array of solar cells embedded within the carbon fibre body of its Launch Edition electric car.

The brand unveiled the production version of its breakthrough machine in January, pitching it to investors as a car that could change the way people drive.

More than 700 watts of solar cells energise a floor-mounted battery that promises to deliver more than 600 kilometres of range.

Solar panels draw in about 60 kilometres of range per day that can be stored in the battery, or augmented by public fast chargers on road trips.

Compact electric motors mounted within all three 16-inch wheels deliver a combined 150kW of thrust, enough for a four-second sprint to 100km/h and a top speed of about 160km/h.

Aptera says its car weighs less than 1000 kilograms and has an ultra-low drag design with aerodynamic efficiency similar to that of solar powered racers.

The brand plans to introduce the car in Australia.

An Aptera spokesperson told Australian electric vehicle website The Driven in 2022 that “we’re working through regulations to begin delivering to Australia in 2023”.

The three-wheeled, two-seat car is not as practical as bigger rivals such as the Lightyear One, but promises to be more affordable.

The all-wheel-drive launch edition has a projected price of $US33,000 ($47,000), though its exact price and arrival time is dependent on Aptera drawing in enough investment to commence production.

Chris Anthony, Aptera co-founder, says the company hopes to begin production by the end of 2023 but that timeline is “funding dependent”.

“Once we meet our fundraising objectives, we will be able to provide a more accurate delivery timeline,” he says.

“Our Launch Edition is our chance to show the world something that’s never existed before.

“Our identity at Aptera is about transformation, reinvention and surprises. The Launch Edition is our chance to lead a movement that’s for everyone. We are solar mobility and we are the future.” 

Originally published as The solar-powered car that promises free driving

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