Aptera Inks Deal With Elaphe, Will Eventually Have In-Wheel Motors Made in the U.S.

The Aptera uses in-wheel motors from Elaphe 7 photos
Photo: Aptera
Aptera Gamma prototype renderingAptera Gamma prototype renderingAptera Gamma prototype renderingAptera Gamma prototype renderingAptera Gamma prototype renderingThe Aptera uses in-wheel motors from Elaphe
Aptera already has 25,000 reservations for its solar trike, which keeps growing. This is what made us believe that Elaphe would make its in-wheel motors in the U.S. right from the production start. Both companies have now confirmed that it will not be like that: these motors will first come from Slovenia and will eventually be manufactured on American soil.
Unfortunately, the companies did not reveal much more about the deal they closed. They only mentioned it involved “several hundred million euros” and that they have “a detailed plan to scale production in Slovenia, and then extend production to the U.S.”

Another bit of information Aptera and Elaphe have released is that the deal involves creating a 160,000-square-foot (14,865-square-meter) research and development (R&D) center with a production capacity of 100,000 in-wheel motors per year. We suppose it will be in Slovenia. If Aptera only sold front-wheel-drive trikes and all that production was exclusive to Aptera, that would be enough for 50,000 vehicles per year. If all of them had motors on all three wheels, we’d have enough to manufacture 33,333 trikes every year.

If demand increases in the U.S., that production will have to increase fast. An Elaphe plant in the country would be more than necessary, especially considering that the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck also uses the in-wheel motors Elaphe produces. The Slovenia plant would be perfect for an Aptera facility in Europe. Instead of exporting the trikes from the U.S. to other markets, the company already said that it would be better to have small local assembly lines that could deal with the demand from each market.

Apart from Europe, Aptera would probably want a factory in China. Being the world’s largest car market is just part of the appeal. The Chinese government also incentivizes NEVs (new energy vehicles) because its massive cities have a vast pollution problem caused by combustion-engined cars. Aptera could turn into an excellent transportation alternative in sunny Chinese areas.
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Editor's note: The gallery presents images of the Gamma prototype, equivalent to a pre-production version of the Aptera.

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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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