Date posted: 01-20-2006
CARLSBAD, Calif. — Accelerated Composites LLC, a small startup company here, said it is developing the Aptera, a two-seat hybrid passenger car delivering 330 mpg at a steady 65 miles per hour — at a price under $20,000.
The company said the car, which may be ready for production in two years, will have acceleration and handling similar to that of the Honda Insight hybrid. The first Aptera prototype may be ready by March.
The prototype under construction will be powered by a single-cylinder, 12-horsepower diesel engine and a 24-horsepower DC electric motor, and will have a continuously variable transmission. Power is delivered through a single rear wheel mounted on a composite swing arm. The car is expected to have an electronically limited top speed of 95 miles per hour and an estimated 0-to-60-mph acceleration of 11 seconds.
The company says the key to the efficiency of the three-wheeler is an aerodynamic body wrapped around a flat-panel composite structure. The company has developed a composite construction technique that significantly lowers costs.
What this means to you: Toyota isn't the only one working hard on hybrids. The smallest startups have their own ideas, too.