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This solar car company just got $21 million to produce its innovative, sun-powered vehicles: 'Thinking outside the box'

"It's hard for me to envision that this won't be cost-effective."

Aptera Motors

Photo Credit: Aptera

Aptera Motors, a solar electric vehicle startup, was awarded a $21 million state grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC). The grant will allow the company to scale production of its EV for the mass market, making it one of the few remaining startups trying to do this.

The grant — combined with Aptera's Accelerate crowdfunding campaign, which has raised close to $8 million across 544 vehicle reservations — will help Aptera make significant progress in delivering its high-efficiency Launch Edition solar EV.

With a shape stemming from fluid dynamics laws along with lighter battery packs, the vehicle is more affordable than others and first-in-class for aerodynamics and range.

There are many reasons to consider an EV over a gas vehicle. First, they're better for the environment. In fact, they're key to removing carbon from the transportation sector, which comprises over 15% of the world's pollution. Aptera's EV production, specifically, is helping to lower this harmful carbon pollution while keeping manufacturing local, which helps to create jobs and strengthen California's economy.

EVs are also getting more range than they used to, with the 2021 median range in the U.S. being 234 miles — up over 240% from 10 years prior. And, contrary to what you might think, they can save drivers money in the long run, when you factor in the fuel and maintenance you'd be paying for with a gas vehicle. Maintenance alone can save up to $12,000 over an EV's lifetime.

When you consider the added benefit of a solar EV like Aptera's that uses the sun's rays to create an extra 15-45 miles on clear days, it's almost a no-brainer. Shorter drives and office commutes will likely cost drivers nothing.

"Aptera represents California's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to electric vehicles, harnessing the power of the sun to go further on truly zero-emission solar energy," CEC Commissioner Patty Monahan commented. "The Energy Commission is proud to fund Aptera to manufacture the world's first mass-produced, three-wheeled solar car. Meeting California's goal to zero out pollution from transportation over the next 15-25 years will require innovation and thinking outside the box."

And, U.C. Berkeley Energy Professor, Dan Kammen, believes the technology will "make good financial sense for many consumers." 

"Solar panels are so inexpensive," he said, "and integrating them into the skins is so easy that once you get over that initial learning curve, those initial couple thousand vehicles out there, it's hard for me to envision that this won't be cost-effective."

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