Soon, some electric vehicle drivers will be able to run errands and then power up their vehicles without plugging in. They’ll just need sunshine.
Steve Fambro is co-founder of Aptera Motors Corp. His team created a three-wheeled electric vehicle with built-in solar cells that provide enough energy to cover many people’s daily driving needs.
“It’ll operate like a normal electric vehicle,” he says. “But all the while, you’ve got this imaginary extension cord that’s charging you up — 20, 30, 40 miles a day in some places.”
The vehicle, which is slated to go into production next year, looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
“Imagine a shark without the fin,” Fambro says.
He says that aerodynamic shape and the vehicle’s lightweight materials help maximize efficiency.
That allows the solar cells to power up to 40 miles of driving each day.
“In a regular EV, it just wouldn’t be efficient enough. You know, you would cover the whole thing in cells and the car might go five miles, 10 miles, something like that,” Fambro says.
The efficiency also allows the Aptera to have a large range. When it’s been plugged in and fully charged, the Aptera with the largest battery pack option can go up to 1,000 miles.
So pairing hyper-efficient design with solar cells can help reduce the need for fossil fuels.
Read: Don’t get fooled: Electric vehicles really are better for the climate
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media