Meet Paradigm, The Solar-Powered Car That Can Go 1,000 Miles on a Single Charge

By Elijah Labby Thursday, December 17, 2020

When Steve Fambro founded Accelerated Composites in 2006, he had a mission: develop a car that could drive an unprecedented distance per gallon of gasoline. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that it had created a car that could do just that. The car, dubbed the Typ-1, could go an estimated 330 miles per gallon at 65 miles per hour.

Accelerated Composites is now called Aptera, and the company is boasting an even more impressive offering: a solar-powered electric vehicle that the company claims can drive a thousand miles without needing to be charged and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

The car is the definition of futuristic, with only three wheels, solar panels lining the body, and an exterior made of “lightweight composites that are many times stronger than steel.” This exterior, the company says, allows it a remarkably small amount of drag.

Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony says the car’s Never Charge solar panel technology will allow consumers the freedom of everyday travel (about 40 miles a day) without having to worry about charging the battery or filling up a gas tank.

"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 said.

The car will come in two models — called the Paradigm and the Paradigm Plus — and will be priced between $25,900 and $46,000, or more for customizations. Pre-orders for the car are available on the company’s website and production will begin in early 2021.

Aptera’s Financials

One of the fascinating aspects of Aptera’s rise is its previous struggles compared to its current success. The company’s first effort, which was approved by regulatory officials, was unable to raise the funds sufficient to keep the project going and led to its (albeit temporary) shuttering.

But Aptera is back, raising over $1.5 million in future equity agreements — a form of investment that promises stock for investors at a later date when the company is up and running and publicly traded — on WeFunder, a website that allows users to invest in up-and-coming startups in the tech, healthcare, infrastructure, retail, and food sectors, among others.

Funding issues are not uncommon in the startup space — anyone who has attempted to start their own business, whether in Silicon Valley or otherwise, will tell you as much — and that makes Aptera’s rebound that much more impressive.

Nathan Armstrong, Aptera's Chief Technology Officer, seemed to think that Aptera’s past financial troubles have actually worked out for the best and have positioned the company to manufacture its vehicles at the ideal time.

"Once the idea of Aptera was born, it became obvious that ultra-efficient aerodynamics and lightweight design is how cars should be built. The time has never been better for Aptera to make its comeback,” Armstrong said in a post on Aptera’s Twitter account.

The Broader Electric Vehicle Market and Aptera’s Future

Skeptics, upon the announcement of Aptera’s newest round of funding, doubted that consumers would invest in a company that was previously unable to produce a vehicle. However, electric vehicle technology has advanced a sizable amount since Aptera’s inception, and consumer hopefulness about the possibilities of this technology has evidently followed.
The global market for electric vehicles is growing at a rate of over 22% annually and is expected to reach $802.81 billion by 2027, up from $162.34 billion in 2019.

This growth is remarkable for a global economy that still overwhelmingly relies on fossil fuels for transportation and signals a paradigm shift (no pun intended) as far as electric vehicles are concerned. This growth has been spurred on by legislative changes across the country to promote the development of these kinds of vehicles, as well as other private companies like Amazon leading the charge by investing heavily in carbon-cutting measures.

Because of this, all eyes will be on companies like Aptera in the coming years. Aptera’s innovative approach to design and focus on sustainable power has the potential to make them a standout in this area, and many are eager to see the company succeed.

About the Author

Headshot for author Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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