Update 8/12: Headline and any reference to the vehicle has been changed to “Gamma Alpha Prototype.”
Aptera offered a hands-on look at a prototype of the Gamma Alpha solar-powered vehicle today, which is as crazy looking as it is efficient, thanks to a world-class drag co-efficient and incredibly sleek design.
The Fully Charged Show was given access to what Aptera called the “Alpha prototype” of their upcoming Gamma model. This vehicle was significantly more finished-looking than the “beta prototype,” where the complete drivetrain, suspension setup, and software were being tested, yet also looked quite different than the vehicle that was teased earlier this week.
Incredible efficiency with a world-class drag coefficient
The prototype shown in the video above has a 0.13 drag coefficient, which is significantly lower than other EV offerings on the market. The Lightyear Zero solar car has a 0.20 drag coefficient, while the Tesla Model 3 holds a 0.22 rating. The Lucid Air Dream Edition has a 0.21 drag coefficient, while the Tesla Model S Plaid has a 0.208.
Drag coefficients are a significant factor for electric vehicle efficiency. While Aptera has already achieved a world-class energy usage metric in terms of miles driven per kWh. The Tesla Model 3 will offer 5 miles of range per kWh, but the solar-powered Aptera Gamma prototype will give drivers an efficiency rating of double what the Model 3 will offer, and that is in no way an insult to the mass-market sedan from Tesla, which was noted as the “poster child of efficiency” by Fully Charged.
Polarizing interior designs
The Alpha Gamma prototype had some significant differences compared to the teased Aptera interior. A more normal-looking steering wheel replaced the ever divisive yoke, the driver dash screen was revealed to be the rearview mirror system, and the center divider/console appeared significantly more finished with a center armrest and center storage area. However, the interior matched the teaser image’s minimalism, lacking many physical controls, sunshades, and air conditioning vents.
One area shown on the video that was absent from the teaser images was the door. The interior door panel included a leather strap that would hang down to help close the door when sitting, a set of window controls that control the Subaru SVX style split windows, and otherwise remained sparse, matching the rest of the interior.
Technical information shared in the video includes Aptera’s “skin cooling” technology, whereby the vehicle’s underside is used as a heat sync to cool the batteries as the vehicle drives. The charging port was a Tesla connector underneath the rear license plate. And finally, the UI was described to have a lot of features that aimed to help the driver increase range whenever possible, mainly discouraging the use of AC and seat heaters.
Aptera has over 27,000 reservations for the Gamma so far. With the company holding a plan to start deliveries by next year, the vehicle could be introduced with a starting price under $20,000, which is amazingly affordable considering the efficiency the vehicle could ultimately offer.
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