The Aptera has received a lot of press during the past couple of months, thanks in part to two critical characteristics: One- Its radical three-wheeled design. Two- the hybrid gas-electric version claims to be capable of 300 miles per gallon! How? The inventive drastic reduction by means of weight and drag.
Although many concepts remain just that, a “concept,” the great news here is that the Aptera Typ-1e hits California streets sometime this year. The Aptera looks like it has been time-warped from the future and brings with it some relatively radical innovations. The skin of the car is constructed of epoxy resin and let’s not forget that is has only three wheels, two in front, one in the back.
The high-tech touches include rear and side-view cameras instead of mirrors to further reduce drag, the car has displays fed by the embedded cameras that show a 180-degree view of the rear and side area of the car. A roof-mounted solar panel also provides just a little extra juice. Its safety features include a front-end crumple zone to protect passengers and air bags. This electric version of the car tops out at 80 mph and it can go 70 miles at that speed between charges.
The Typ-1e will be able to charge from any stand 110-volt outlet, according to company specs. The laminate composites have reduced the weight to 1500 pounds and the coefficient drag of the sleek and low-riding frame is the lowest among any car ever to legally cruise on public roads. The vehicle seats two in the front, with one seat in the back big enough to fit an infant car seat. The seat can be removed and used as a cargo area which will hold up to15 bags of groceries or two full-size golf club bags.
In 2009, the Aptera Typ1-h is expected to make its debut. And a more conventional model currently in the design phase called “Project X” or even perhaps Typ-2, projecting plans of a four-wheeled chassis including seating for four to five passengers.
Like many of the electric vehicles you can buy right now, the vehicle is registered with the Department of Transportation as a motorcycle, which also implicates that the vehicle has circumvented expensive and time consuming safety regulations. A motorcycle classification and the electric drive train put the Aptera in the vying for carpool lane allowances with only the driver onboard.
The Aptera was born on in the mind of the current CEO, Steve Fambro. He started this entrepreneurial trip as a bored biotech engineer daydreaming about alternative ways to get to work. The company got its kick-start from the start-up incubator company, Idealab. The company has secured $500 refundable deposits from 400 anxious consumers and is currently in its second round of financing.
This unique and challenging business start-up is a fine example of how ridiculous gas prices are spawning encouraged entrepreneurs to jump into the car business which is still dominated by gas-guzzling heavy weights.