While hypermilers, clean technology enthusiasts, and environmentalists are willing to make compromises and even pay extra for extreme efficiency, Aptera definitely pushes the limits of what we’ll put up with. And the general public? They’ve had all sorts of things to say about Aptera’s offbeat and avant-garde styling. One congressman once even said, “The audience for a sperm-shaped, three-wheeled, electric two-seater was never anything but small.”
So, it almost goes without saying that the company has a seriously tough row to hoe. Marketing something so offbeat to the public is definitely going to be an uphill battle, with not only what’s true (it’s a three-wheeled two-seater) but what’s not true. The truth is hard enough to sell, so myth-busting and getting the public to understand the car better is a key part of the sales effort.
So far, the company has put out two videos going over common misconceptions, and it may make more. Let’s start with the first video:
In the first video, Aptera’s digital marketing manager Quincy Hilla tells us about Aptera myths and why they’re not true. These “myths” are based on questions and comments by Aptera customers and people on social media. Like any sane company, Aptera has incorporated criticisms from people into the design process where possible, but they’re finding that some of the feedback requires the company to let people know that what they’re saying just isn’t true.
The first one Aptera addresses is space. Nobody associates a two-seater car with space, but that’s a mistake when it comes to Aptera. Its aerodynamic shape required a lot more space in some places than you’d think, and the overall space is larger than a number of popular sedans. They show us an Aptera chock full of groceries and household goods, and make it clear that the Aptera is almost like a small pickup in some ways. They also show several other things that can fit.
The next misunderstanding she corrects is that it will require a motorcycle license. This is something I’ve written about before, and it’s definitely not true. Almost all states now have an “autocycle” category for vehicles with three wheels, but with traditional seating, wheels, and pedal controls, which allows people to drive them without a motorcycle license. A normal driver’s license is good enough, and you won’t have to wear a helmet.
The next two myths are about visibility. Difficulty seeing the car (especially the wheel nacelles) and parking it looks like something that could be tough, but once again, they’ve thought about that. Cameras help with visibility, and the car fits into standard parking spaces without any problems. The doors even go up instead of out, so you won’t have trouble getting in and out.
The strange split windows also give people pause, and they’ve wondered whether they’ll be able to pull up to the Sonic drive-thru and get a drink in through there. They show a large cup being passed through the window with the part that can be rolled down rolled down, so it doesn’t appear to be a problem. I’ve sat in one, and agree that you shouldn’t have problems.
On Thursday, the company released a follow-up video covering several more myths:
I almost didn’t recognize her at first, but Quincy presented the second video, too (Clark Kent probably would have fooled me into thinking he wasn’t Superman too, it seems).
The first myth from this episode is related to the last myth from the last one: that it can’t fit through a drive-thru. This time, people are concerned that the vehicle’s
warp nacelles outboard wheels will present a problem in tight turning situations. So, they took the vehicle through an In-N-Out drive-thru to show is that it’s definitely doable.
Another problem that’s not directly related to the vehicle are misunderstandings over reservation numbers. Some people think getting an earlier reservation means getting the vehicle sooner than others, but one’s configuration choice and their location will affect how soon they get it. Questions about that should be directed to Aptera, but they do tell us that they’re making the 400-mile car first, followed by the 250, 600, and 1000 mile cars. People living near San Diego will get the first cars (so any problems can be sorted out easily), followed by other people in the US in 2023. Then, globally.
Another fear people have had (including me) is that changing tires could be difficult. They show someone lifting the prototype car by a lift point, using a standard lug wrench to remove the wheel nuts, and then removing and replacing the tire. They don’t show what it’s like with the wheel covers, but they can’t do that until they have a production-ready vehicle. But, with their right to repair philosophy, it seems that they’ll make the process of removing the covers pretty easy.
The final myth was mostly a rehash of the first video. They show it again pulling into parking spaces and people getting in and out to show that it isn’t a problem to pull into a space and get in and out of the vehicle. The doors that go up make room for people to get in and out, but it still looks a little difficult.
If you’re like me, and you don’t park next to other people, I wouldn’t worry, but if you like to sit there with the turn signal and clog up the lot waiting for a space, you’ll probably have some minor inconveniences once you get that prime parking spot (and dirty looks from everyone else).
I’m not going to cover every single video Aptera makes, so if you want to see every video as they come out, be sure to subscribe to their channel. When there’s something important or a few related videos in a row, we’ll keep covering them here to give people occasional updates.
If you think our coverage of Aptera has been helpful and you’re going to make a reservation, be sure to use our referral code and get a discount on your reservation fee. We’ll be using any vehicles we get to do long-term reviews.
Featured image: a screenshot from Aptera’s video, showing the car going through a drive-thru lane.
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