One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles is the recharging process. Many consumers worry that it is too difficult to find a charging station when they need one. Compared to gas stations, electric car chargers are few and far between. While charging networks are steadily growing both in the U.S. and around the world, charging remains a major issue for the electric car industry.
One startup is sidestepping it entirely by designing an electric car that doesn’t need to be plugged in to charge. Instead, it runs on solar power and has a range of up to 1,000 miles.
Aptera might sound familiar. That’s because the company started out more than a decade ago with the goal of making a three-wheeled electric car. However, it shut down in 2011 after it couldn’t secure funding for the project.
Its newest vehicle, the Paradigm, still has three wheels. Aptera hopes that the addition of solar charging and more modern features will help this one catch on. The vehicle features sleek lines and an aerodynamic profile to increase its efficiency. Of course, the solar panel array on its roof is the most important feature.
In a press release, Aptera’s co-founder Chris Anthony says, “With Aptera’s Never Charge technology, you are driven by the power of the sun. Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go.”
He adds, “Never Charge is built into every Aptera and is designed to harvest enough sunlight to travel over 11,000 miles per year in most regions.”
To be clear, the car doesn’t charge while it is driving. Instead, the solar panels add power to the Paradigm while it is parked. Aptera claims that the system adds up to 45 miles of range each day in most environments. Since the top-end model features a 100 kWh battery, the car’s absurd 1,000-mile range seems plausible.
Of course, the Paradigm’s solar power isn’t the only feature enabling that range. Its sleek body allows it to slip through the air without using as much energy as other electric cars. Although the futuristic look could certainly drive some consumers away (no pun intended) it does give the Paradigm a nice boost.
Electric cars are finally catching on after years of going nowhere. The industry is on the verge of a massive boom thanks to companies like Tesla. Meanwhile, mainstream automakers are starting to roll out electrified models of their vehicles.
That being said, most electric cars on the market today are fairly unassuming. They look similar to gas-powered cars and blend in on the road despite the advanced technology powering them.
Models like Aptera’s Paradigm disregard that trend. It will be interesting to see if consumers adopt these unique-looking cars once electric vehicles go mainstream.
Likewise, Aptera is a company that’s worth monitoring. It has a long way to go before the Paradigm hits the road. For now, consumers can preorder their own car with a refundable deposit of $100. Aptera currently plans to deliver the vehicles as soon as 2021.