Aptera to Use Tesla’s Charging Connector Design in Upcoming Solar EV

Image: Tesla

Electric vehicle (EV) startup Aptera recently confirmed plans to adopt Tesla’s charging connector and port design, which Tesla recently open-sourced and renamed the North American Charging Standard (NACS), for its upcoming solar car (via Electrek).

Aptera is a California-based company that’s working on a battery- and solar-powered electric car with a claimed range of 1,000 miles. The company says its EV will be incredibly efficient, thanks to its extremely lightweight, three-wheel design and a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.13.

Tesla’s charging connector is smaller and lighter than rival standards like CCS, allowing Aptera to cut down on unnecessary bulk. An early prototype of the Aptera sEV featured a Tesla connector, likely for that exact reason.

Back in July, Aptera launched a petition urging the U.S. to adopt Tesla’s connector as the new standard for EV charging. The petition has accumulated over 40,000 signatures.

Aptera announced its decision to use Tesla’s NACS connector in its upcoming solar EV and thanked its community for supporting its petition in a recent email:

Remember when our founders started a conversation about the need for a greater emphasis on efficiency and accessibility in EV charging infrastructure? Steve and Chris launched a petition urging policymakers to implement Tesla’s connector and plug (now NACS) as the standard for EV charging in the U.S. With your support, the petition continues to gain momentum. It has received over 40,000 signatures and counting. And just four months later, Tesla announced its decision to open its connector design to the world. We are willing to bet the buzz you generated around the petition played a part in this, and we look forward to incorporating NACS in our sEVs. Thank you for challenging the status quo.

Aptera plans to kick off production of its all-electric solar car in the coming months. It starts at $25,900 and the company has already amassed over 37,000 reservations, each of which requires a $100 deposit. Deliveries are expected to begin sometime next year.

There’s a good chance Aptera had a hand in Tesla’s decision to open its charging connector design to everyone. Tesla is now working with the relevant bodies to codify NACS as a public standard.

That said, the move could also help make future Tesla Superchargers eligible for government funding.

The U.S. government recently announced billions of dollars in subsidies for EV charging stations, but installations must work with EVs “from more than one automaker” to qualify. Even if one other automaker adopted Tesla’s NACS connector, the company’s Supercharger network would become eligible for the incentives.