As Aptera gets closer to production, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’m going to take mine to push it to its limits. I think this is an important part of telling the story of the first 1,000-mile rated EV, and it gives us a preview of what’s going to be possible as battery technology improves and long range EVs eventually become more common. So, this idea for a long EV trek I’ve come up with isn’t just an Aptera story, but something we’ll be able to learn from about the future of EVs in general.
While things like London to Beijing or Alaska to Chile are possible, I won’t have weeks or months to devote to this kind of a trip without some serious sponsorship. Instead, I decided to see what the wildest thing I could do in North America would look like, to keep it realistic and something I could pay for out of my own pocket.
In a nutshell, what I’m looking at doing is going from the southernmost point in the continental US to the northernmost driveable point in North America.
Before you look too hard at the map, keep in mind that this is only a preliminary plan. I let A Better Routeplanner do basically whatever it wanted from Florida to southern Canada. Between the extended range of the Aptera (around 600-700 miles on the highway) and the OK availability of DC fast charging stations up that far, you could choose just about any route you’d want.
The other caveat is that the app doesn’t know what the final situation will be on charging stations for an Aptera. It’s apparently going to have a Tesla plug, but how fast it can charge at a Supercharger is an unanswered question at this point. For something like the Alaska highway, it would probably be a good idea to have a CCS adapter and a portable EVSE for RV park use, along with a splitter to press two 30-amp RV park stalls into service to charge EVs.
But, along this preliminary route, that would only be necessary at two points in Alaska. There’s soon going to be a J-1772 station at one of the overnight stops, and most of the rest of the highway is covered with DCFC already (at least enough to accommodate a vehicle with that kind of range).
So, as you can probably see, even a task like driving from the southernmost point in the continental US up to the northernmost point a car can drive to isn’t a big deal if you’ve got a vehicle with 1,000 miles of EPA range. I still think it needs to be done just to show people that EVs have evaporated yet another excuse, though.
Earl Is The Worst, & I’m Also The Worst. So, I Have To Visit Earl.
I’m not going to lie, Ohio has never interested me enough to pack up the family and drive out that way. I’m sure there are people who can tell me all about Ohio’s cool stuff, but either way, any opportunity to visit the Earl of Frunkpuppy in Ohio is gone. But, he’s in Alaska now, so if I’m going to be up there, it makes sense to meet up and plot our mean tweets about Elon in person, right?
But seriously, though, I’ve already been talking about visiting Earl and his family up there, and will probably do that as long as he’s still living up there.
— 🐶Earl of FrunkPuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) September 1, 2022
On the return trip, I really don’t think I’ll want to drive all the way back, so I’m likely to just use the Alaska Marine Highway System, also known as the Alaska Ferry. That’s another one of those “bucket list” items that I’d want to fit into an Alaska trip. This would give me a pretty good chance to check out more of coastal Alaska, and get some photos of the Aptera in those places along the way.
Once back in the Lower 48, things would go back to being routine and easy again, so there’s not much to write about there.
Things I’ve Thought Of So Far
Being a desert dweller, and given how far north I’d like to travel, I’m definitely doing this in the summer. I don’t think the road up to the North Slope is even open during winter, and that seems like a dumb way to die even if it were open.
I’d really like to do this trip independently without a support vehicle, but I think I’d need to carry tools, spare tires, and other things for safety that might be too much for an Aptera to carry. I probably won’t be able to figure out how all that works out until I have one, unfortunately. But, I’ll probably do more articles as I get closer to the final planning about what emergency supplies I can fit inside it.
I know I’m going to need to extensively research every charging spot, especially once I get into areas where there aren’t DCFC stations within reasonable range. I’ve seen some videos and articles by people who’ve made the journey, and showing up to find that a plug isn’t what they expected or things are broken is common. I’m in touch with a couple of people who’ve done this, and I’ll be getting a lot of information from them as it gets closer.
Could This Become An Ultimate EV Test?
One of the ultimate automotive accomplishments for EVs has been the Cannonball Run from New York to Los Angeles. As charging has gotten faster and batteries got bigger, these times have been shrinking. The most recent record I’m aware of was set in a Porsche Taycan, which is the fastest-charging commercially-available EV right now.
As infrastructure improves and EV technology improves, the time it takes to go from the Southernmost to the Northernmost will shrink. I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to do it in one sitting, but being able to do it without any L2 charging stops would be a great accomplishment that neither vehicle or infrastructure is able to accomplish today.
Featured image: A screenshot from ABRP showing a preliminary trip route.
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