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Aptera Partners With Italian Composites Manufacturer To Accelerate Production

Aptera is doing things very differently from other vehicle manufacturers. It doesn’t take a deep dive on the vehicle’s design and technology to know this, because Aptera’s vehicles are obviously very different. They look a lot more like an airplane than a car, and they’re covered in solar panels, which gives you a big clue that they’re different — way, way different.

In many ways, efficiency comes down to two things: mass and resistance. The more a car resists being moved (air drag, rolling resistance, and drivetrain inefficiencies), the more energy it takes to move it. The heavier it is, the more those other factors will drag things down and the more energy it will take to get it moving.

While I could write a great many articles about how the various Aptera systems whittle down on these inefficiencies, there’s one important one to understand from news that came out earlier this month. The company is cutting down on vehicle weight drastically by using a composite structure. Not only does this save weight, but it does it without sacrificing safety and strength. Plus, it will be relatively easy to manufacture.

This month, Aptera came to an agreement with the C.P.C. Group specializing in composite bodies production based in Modena, Italy — well known for its impressive manufacturing of cars and motorcycles.

C.P.C will be supplying the materials for Aptera’s BINC, which is short for Body in Carbon. The six-part composition of the BINC meets Aptera’s goals of simplicity and sustainability — it can safely be recycled up to five times while giving off an incredibly low amount CO2 in its lifetime. The majority of the structure is made out CF-SMC (Carbon Fiber Sheet Molding Compound) combined with SMC (Glass Sheet Molding Compound).

“Aptera represents a shift away from conventional thinking of the past. We desire to be a part of this future, which is why we’re joining Aptera’s movement,” said Franco Iorio, CEO of C.P.C. “We’ll be building the bodies for their unique solar vehicle in the heart of the Motor Valley, allowing Aptera to scale up manufacturing right away to meet the high demand for its first vehicle.”

Carbon Fiber-SMC is a type of SMC that contains shorter fibers, which allows for more intricate molding. Not only does it offer a higher level of stiffness and strength than standard SMC, but because it can be press-molded, the production time is reduced significantly. By utilizing Carbon Fiber-SMC, Aptera will be able to deliver vehicles to customers in a timelier manner.

“C.P.C. Group was founded in 1959 as a modest company that manufactured models by hand. In the last decade, we have switched to composites and established ourselves as one of the most reputable companies in the world for specialized composite solutions in automotive applications. We count Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Maserati, BMW, Lotus among our customers.”

At its final assembly location in Carlsbad, California, Aptera plans to deliver 40 vehicles per day. It has already received over 37,000 reservations. More details about vehicle specifications, final pricing and timing will be shared soon.

“When we came together at C.P.C. along with Sandy Munro, we realized the true synergy where the world’s most efficient vehicle can be made with the most efficient process.” said Aptera co-founder Steve Fambro. “For several months, our engineers have been working closely with C.P.C to finalize our Delta design, and now those efforts are being realized as we take an important step forward towards high volume production.”

All images provided by Aptera.

 
 
 
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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals. Follow her on Twitter for her latest articles and other random things: https://twitter.com/JenniferSensiba

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