The Future is Here: Aptera's Prototype Unveiled

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The Future is Here: Aptera's Prototype Unveiled

by Collin Dunn, Seattle on 03.15.07
Cars & Transportation (cars)
email this article

aptera-on-sidewalk.jpg

When we first encountered the Aptera diesel-electric hybrid last year, it was another pie-in-the-sky concept with amazing performance specs (330 mpg, 0.055-0.06 drag coefficient) but a concept nonetheless. Happily, last week at the TED Conference, the curtain was lifted over the real thing, and a working prototype of the spacey ride was unveiled. Delivering slightly less than originally calculated, the three-wheeled hybrid still sips fuel to the tune of 230 miles per gallon while humming along at 55 miles per hour. The production of the prototype is a hopeful first step for Aptera, whose company, Accelerated Composites (aka Aptera Motors), is making tentative plans to sell it for about $20,000 apiece. Hit the jump for more pics, and stay tuned for details about when you can get one for yourself. ::Aptera Motors via ::Wired and ::Engadget

aptera_front_view_2.jpg

aptera_in_front_of_idealab_3.jpg

aptera_side_and_back_view.jpg

Comments (68)

I'd like to see photos of it hitting a pothole or driving through 6in. of snow, or after a crash test. There are no side mirrors, huge blind spots. I'll stick with the Prius.

jump to top Doug Teed says:

Where is one supposed to put the number-plates?!? (especially the rear one) Looks a bit too much of a Colani dream to me :o)

jump to top Ewout [TypeKey Profile Page] says:

This vehicle is just plain silly. I agree completely with the first poster. This is a totally unrealistic concept, and in my opinion, a waste of time. Sure, they got attention, people (whoever reads websites like this one) know the name of thier company.... for now, but what great innovations have they come up with that can be used in the real world?

Carlos

jump to top Carlos says:

What's the inside look like?

jump to top Ed Carey says:

Uses rear-view cameras. Do some research before you knock peoples hard work.

jump to top hippykrit says:

Give them a break- you can't expect to step right up to a car that's an exact replica of your current one yet does 230 mpg! They're heading in the right direction and maybe a lot of the things they're trying out here will be standard on cars everyone's driving in 10 years. Somebody's got to give these ideas a go in the real world. The first automobile probably wasn't very practical compared to a good horse and carriage either!

jump to top willbyrne [TypeKey Profile Page] says:

People ride motorcycles and modeds to save money and I think this car is a whole lot safer than that. If you like in a snowy place I wouldn't buy that.

I live in Hawaii and I would buy that, depending on the reliability of the powertrain. Hopefully they use off the self parts that are cheap and readily available, and reliable.

jump to top Kanotoa says:

Willbyne you are correct the first automobiles weren't very good, broke down all the time etc. Now onto this concept. Much of what I see in it goes to fight air resistance and some things camera's instead of mirrors will probably end up on production cars. On the practical side much of what I see here doesn't make for a good real world auto. It cannot pass NHTSA crash standards without adding a few hundred pounds worth of bumpers alone. Now if they change the rules and the front is can be a crushable structure and make it cheap enough to replace it maybe. Hows the fuel usage when it's not going down the road at 55. I wonder if your looking at a low drag one trick pony.

Oops, ok I'll leave my other comments stand but 3 wheels so it'll be classed as a motorcycle and so crash standards need not apply. I hope there's a safety cage all the same or I wouldn't want to share the road with the truck and SUV's

jump to top Tim Russell says:

I like it, I don't care about semi's or snow. As far as running into poles go, you only live once. This just plain cool, and I drive a hopped up 928 Porsche so I'm about as green as a wart right now. I'd trade my car in for one of these without a second thought and stop making priuses spin around and around when I blow by them at 140. I need a car like this to keep me from killing myself from pure speed. It looks like redemption for a sinner like me. Plus I'd have something to do with all the biodiesel I made when I got obsessed with it, not to mention a lifetime supply of glycerin soap courtesy of my cool car. I hope these guys and more like them keep coming up with cool solutions to three dollar gas.

jump to top Rev Earl says:

Well if people want 230mpg, then sorry but this is what it will have to look like!

jump to top MY says:

I've been an environmental activist since 1968 - this looks like an airplane with wheels instead of wings and as a single (used-to-be) commuter VERY UNREALISTIC. It holds one person???, no room for groceries or hauling stuff. Waste of time and good minds, and someone's hard earned dollars to put together - in my opinion!

jump to top Jan Jenson says:

Considering that this thing has 3 wheels rather than the 2 of a motorcycle and the cameras providing visibility, it seems safer than a bike. The 230 mpg makes it more fuel efficient than a bike. I can't wait to see one even though I live where it snows. Simply raising the thing a little higher and giving drive to all wheels would make it work in the snow. That might decrease the fuel efficiency a little, but with 230 to start, hey, you've got some wiggle room, right?

jump to top Deborah Greymoon says:

So Jan Jensen, what exactly about being an environmental activist makes you a better judge of automobile practicality? You call this a waste of time and effort, what exactly have you done for the environment that you think compares to this?
As for my thoughts on it, yes it looks somewhat impractical, but not much more so than supercars and such, which as far as I know also fail to live up to standard crash requirements. As for it being for one person (which I'm not convinced it is), how many cars do you see on the road with one person in them?
I'm not saying this thing is going to ever be economically viable, but some of the criticism being thrown around here is just stupid.

jump to top A S says:

So Jan Jensen, what exactly about being an environmental activist makes you a better judge of automobile practicality? You call this a waste of time and effort, what exactly have you done for the environment that you think compares to this?
As for my thoughts on it, yes it looks somewhat impractical, but not much more so than supercars and such, which as far as I know also fail to live up to standard crash requirements. As for it being for one person (which I'm not convinced it is), how many cars do you see on the road with one person in them?
I'm not saying this thing is going to ever be economically viable, but some of the criticism being thrown around here is just stupid.

jump to top A S says:

I can't believe so many people are bashing this concept! This car is right out of the Jetsons! Tell me you don't want to drive a futuristic and gorgeous vehicle like this!

jump to top Mark Abell says:

Here is my review of it. I've been watching this one since it was announced last year. I am not surprised it didn't make the original 330 mpg.

I am not comparing it to a car! This is NOT a car. It is a motorbike. Covered yes but still a motorbike. So don't talk about safety when hitting a truck or SUV. You are in much more trouble on a motorbike.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst here is how I rate it.

Looks = 8. If you like smooth slicked back vehicle designs like I do it is one of the best I've seen.

Practicality = 7. Yes I say 7! As a 2 seater (one front one back) it is a great commuter car and much better than a motorbike because it is covered from the rain, wind, snow.

Cost = 5. I give it low marks here because I think any "entry level auto" has to compete with a low end motorbike. At around $15,000.00 I would move it up to a 7.

Performance = 6. Not a great motorbike but much better than other low end electrics and it can go on the highway. I am tired of seeing glorified golf carts being pushed as commuter vehicles.

Safety = 6. With in-seatbelt airbag and a decent crash cage it is much better than a motorbike. The lightweight composites are very strong. Not as strong as steel yet but better than nothing (ie. motorbike = 2 if you wear a helmet).

What would I love to see?
1) Crash test results. A shame to do it but it needs to be done. I am sure it would blow away any motorbike and maybe even beat some small cars.
2) Mileage with air conditioning or heat on. You can get creative with cooling to keep consumption down.
3) Built in solar panels. Wait until they get light, cheap and flexible (ie. nanosolar) then put them on.
4) Better batteries. There are such major advances being made in battery weight and life cycle that it should be up to a 250 mile range (all electric) in 3-4 years.

Final conclusion: For $15,000.00 US I'll take one.

jump to top Tim says:

Tim: Nice evaluation...you make some interesting assumption and points.

Jan Jensen: interesting evaluation,you make a whole bunch of assumptions...with no real points or even quality. you have no idea of powertrain, layout etc...


It looks like: plenty of room for 2. space for cargo (i.e. groceries).
It looks fairly larged size, which is good, instead of the micro crap enviros think we need. Safety has alot to do with preception. I preceive it to have good safety...certainly good visiblity to others. (ask a motorcyclist about "being seen").

just some thoughts.

I would like to see the whole shebang and then make a choice. At least if this comes out, people will have a choice.

billy

jump to top billy says:

I saw this thing and their crew at an automotive proving ground in the southwest. Can't say which one as it might give me away. It's bigger than you think and has a long trunk, I think you could put a big ladder in there or something. They really had their sh*t together.

jump to top sf says:

For vehicles to realize the best mileage possible, no matter what the fuel, they need to be completely rethought, like this vehicle. We need to look at airplane, boat and submarine design to cut down on wind resistance.

All the flaming and negative attitudes are going to do is get us stuck in the rut of stagnant design that already exists.

jump to top Aindriú M. says:

Form follows function, keeping up with the Jones's feeds the big three's scheme,It's not going to be cheap or safe to save the world from man,some in this world would have you walk to work if they had their way.Count your blessings and if you can support these new technologies.

jump to top Cory says:

How many previous posters actually went to Apteramotors.com to read up on this trike before posting all their negative comments? This vehicle (if they can sell it under $20K will definitely be worth it. It seats two (side by side not one in back) and has enough storage space for a surf board, a golf bag, groceries, etc. Winter months might be a problem but I would keep my old car for those days with lots of snow. Compare this to the Sparrow (now the NmG) which is all electric but still costs more per mile than the Aptera, seats only one, can only travel about 30 miles per charge and costs $25K!

jump to top Jeff Cole says:

When I saw the Aptera car my first reaction was wow, I want one! It looks sweet. I like reading about all the cool new idea cars that will give us an alternative choice from the gas hogs the big companies want us to buy. But it seems like most of these super gas misers are one or two seaters. I would love to see a four seater aptera and sacrifice 100mpg. Then I could buy one to use as a second car. I have kids and there is no way I can buy a car that only seats two. There is only a small market for two seaters. Making a four seater would put it in competition with the Civic, Focus, Aveo etc.

jump to top Ray Byle says:

I hope the manufacturer is going to make the rear tire a "run-flat" type. I didn't see any info on a spare tire. I've owned a trike (harley) in the past and I can tell from experience that the tire running down the middle of the road will be the tire that picks up debris (flat-tire city). There is a reason you see smart cyclists riding in the tire path of the motor vehicles. Its to avoid the road debris (nails, sharp scrap metals, oil patches, etc...). Other than that minor thought, I'll be curous to see more about this vehicle.

As far as costs are concerned...the manufacturer should first concentrate on getting this trike to market as cheaply as possible. Since it is classified as a "motorcycle", forgo the automotive safety features. This would greatly cut initial production costs. Once volume production cuts the costs more, then and only then, start to introduce the safety features.

An example to follow is look at how the imports got a toehold in the U.S. market....economical barebone vehicles that were cheap to produce and sell. And yes, they were death traps (I once owned a used '72 Honda 600Z).

This manufacturer has the luxury of NOT having the "import" stigma that Honda, Toyota, etc... had to overcome in the 60's and 70's. Walmart is another example. Yes, a lot to their product comes from China and is of questionable quality. Its the $ numbers that the average public pays attention to. (P.S. Walmart prices are NOT really cheap. They just do a magnifcent job of making you THINK they have the lowest prices...kudos to their marketing department).

A lightweight 3 wheeled vehicle will never be able to compete with a 4 wheeled heavily weighted vehicle when it comes to safety, unless there is some technology I'm not currently aware of. The Big Boy manufacturers know that weight is the biggest deterent to high mileage. If they could come up with a safe super lightweight vehicle (less than 1400#) cheaply, they would. Safety features add weight. Weight reduces mileage.

The success of getting the public to buy this vehicle is to concentrate it as a "nearly" all-weather motorcycle for economical daily commutes to and from work that can be used in rainy and cold (not snowy) weather and is easy to park in urban spaces. That should cover about 85% of the weather in the snowy northern states.

Again, ECONOMICS, will be the selling point. Economical to build, buy, and operate (K.I.S.S.).

jump to top Ken Merunski says:

Don't get stuck in the minutia on this one...

It's not this particular car or company that's important. It's the underlying technology that's exciting.

Utilizing hydraulics to collect energy from braking to be reused to accelerate is awesome.

Just think of the energy savings that would result from collecting the energy of every auto in the US starting and stopping for one day.

Truly a paradigm shift is imminent.

jump to top D Larkin says:

Have you seen video of the early Aptera prototype?

http://www.myspace.com/theaptera

jump to top Aptera_LUVR [TypeKey Profile Page] says:

Dude, this car is going to turn hed. Imagine showing up in Miami Beach with this dream car. The Ferrari owners will be green with envy. You will be a big hit,

jump to top hdrkid says:

I love this car. I want to use it in a futuristic music video that will air on MTV. Somebody call me.

917-916-6844

jump to top Lamont Liquid says:

If we all allowed to travel free via a bird or fish wouldn't you agree?

Birds or fish has a perfect aerodynamic and so as the Aptera Motors. Please try not to classify these as futuristic. Birds and fish are looks futuristic too but its actually an ancient design. I designed a road recumbents' shell to look like a fish with aileron similar to aircraft.

Diesel powered is like driving a brown sugar versus a refine white sugar. Brown sugar has better taste than the refine one. Diesel could convert to bio-diesel using used Frenchfries oil. Just pour in a petroleum additives plus used oil and go.

jump to top David Cajudo says:

The naysayers on this thread have simply been brain washed by Detroit. They have you believing it's quite logical to move a 150 pound person around using 8,000 pounds of steel with the aerodynamics of a brick. 9-passenger SUVs spend most of their time on the road with just one person inside and their 4x4 capability is never engaged. Detroit has gotten us to purchase vehicles because of features we will only use 10% of the time, if that.

In 100 years, which will be more laughable, this vehicle or the big iron box you have now?

There are millions of motorcycles on the road that only seat one or two people. There are millions more cars that seat two people. My motorcycle doesn't have seat belts or a roll cage or any of the stuff that belongs in your living room, not your vehicle. My Harley cost $20,000, weighs 800 pounds and I'm lucky to get 40mpg. If you don't think what Aptera is doing is great and long overdue, you're just not paying attention.

It's just plain physics. If a vehicle is not lightweight or aerodynamic, it's going to take a lot more energy to move it. No new fangled powertrain is going to overcome this fact. It will soon be quite evident that hydrogen and fuel cells are completely impractical. An Altera-type vehicle, running on biodiesel will be about as clean and efficient as we will get for the next 50-100 years.

jump to top Steve Stout says:

Wow! I cant believe you used a harley as an example for motorcycles. $20K for a m/c that does less than 40MPG.

A better example would have been a 250cc Ninja (new ones cost 3,500) with REAL MPG around 65-70. A lot faster than any economy car.

Couple of things this Fish wins over a motorcycle are:

A shell that protects its passengers(from weather, and bugs), as well as offering room for groceries.

Greater visibility; now drivers cant claim they "didnt see the motorist".

and.. I cant really think of anything else.

On the downside:

This thing is slow compared to that 250cc Motorcycle. hey, people still drive Geo's.

With its larger body, you maneuver similar to a car (probably same as a harley.. haha JK) cant split lanes (for CA drivers). This means you are stuck in traffic wasting fuel.

In a way, this is a motorcycle trapped in a car's body. Perhaps CA freeways are not what its meant for, but, it will fill a certain niche in this transportation biz.

jump to top ac_post says:

The idea of a 3 wheeled car is not that radical. In the uk they have built a car for years called the reliant robin which has one wheel in the front which both runs the drive train and steers. In the 50's and 60's here there were a number of trials of 3 wheeled cars in the united states. Bucky Fuller built a number of them, they just never caught on. The impacts in terms of effecency are obvious though. Rubber on concrete is not that effecient. The less rubber you have touching pavement the better.

jump to top Carl Burdick says:

Personall I just deposited my $500 for a place in line. I love it. 2 + 1 Passenger space, AC, Airpags and Space to shop what more do you need.

jump to top Grip says:

I also just put down my deposit for an Aptera. I've been watching this for over a year and I'm ecstatic that it's going into production. I will be keeping my old car (which wouldn't sell for more than $4k at this point anyway) for Chicago winters and larger cargo needs. I realize most people can't afford to keep a second "utility" car, but that's what I'll be doing quite happily.

jump to top U of C law student says:

This vehicle is headed exactly in the direction needed to make America energy independent again. None of the established US automakers have proposed anything near this efficient. When they first saw the Aptera they may well have wet their pants.

Three cheers for the team at Aptera... from an American.

jump to top Rick Hamborg says:

As a designer, I applaud their efforts. The world is changing and Detroit is dead. Snow could be a problem because of traction with only one driven wheel and its low weight but, once the streets are plowed, It's still a more efficient solution than a motorcycle. I especially like their careful attention to details such as the positive gas pedal and the negative brake pedal, that's something else. They've even have a modern green logo, doors that open at a 45 degree angle, cameras instead of unaerodynamic mirrors, and the body seems to be formed of a composite formulated from small airplane aerodynamics. We all should try to accept their 21st century solution to our transportation needs no matter what we've gotten used to or been marketed to by the oil-rich countries and propagandists. The Aptera is a quality piece of engineering. They will not go unnoticed. I want one.

jump to top Joseph Young says:

Why are fuel efficient cars always ugly? Just stop trying to be futuristic and more people will buy them.

jump to top Kennis says:

Uh, you are looking at the OLD prototype and not the latest version. Check around to see how it has progressed and improved...a ton.

Ugly is only an opinion. The mini is relatively fuel efficient, not pretty in my eyes, but not ugly either.

Post the new shots and info and get with the program

jump to top Scott says:

Ha, some interesting comments. I daresay the naysayers (many of whom call themselves card-carrying environmentalists...ahem) have the typically emotional response of a liberal blog. Conversely, the measured defensible responses that sound like engineers are the ones you typically see supporting conservative postions.

Isn't it ironic, don't you think? ;-)

(PS...cardcarrying conservative aerospace engineer here, who drives an Insight and gets 60+ mpg)

Greg

jump to top Greg says:

About SUVs: They need to be out of the roads, and the sooner, the better. They cause much trouble presently (such as parking in a compact space and often blocking TWO compact spaces, blocking your view while on the road etc), or will cause much more trouble for our future (they're killing our environment, needless to say).

So, I would be extremely sad, if SUVs also prevent people from buying cars like this one, being scared to be ran over by an SUV or a humongous truck.

If everyone were driving cars like this one, then the overall damages in crashes would also go down!

IMO, if you expect that SUV and truck drivers will come to their senses on their own, and switch to something that actually makes sense to drive, you're delusional. There should be severe annual taxes for the owners of such monsters, for all the hassle and damage that they cause. I'd say targeting their precious money is the only way to make such a driver do something logical. Moreover, all that money can be used for green-research! (in an ideal world, that is)

Obviously, if you NEED to drive an SUV or a truck for a real reason, such as actually needing to drive off-road for your job, or carrying bulky and heavy load on a regular basis, and can document this, then you'd be tax exempt or would get a tax-relief of some sort. Otherwise, pay through the nose, if you WANT to, but not NEED to drive such a monster.

jump to top GT-Force says:

rear view mirrors .... please remember micro digital cameras with macro lenses can give the potential of no blind spots.... paired with organo transistorised flexible substrate displays with power consumption in the range of miliwatts....
need I say more.... :)

jump to top David says:

I get 70-80+ on the highway in my 2001 Honda insight depending on speed and driving condition. I average 58 miles per gallon. I commute 150+ miles per day....I am a software quality engineer.

I REALLY LIKE this first generation vechile. I'd be interested in putting this to the test. I belive it is very practical and can even make money FOR you if you add a body wrap. Yes, I also drive and own motorcycles as well. If these folks get their production up and running, I'd like to have one immediately over here in Texas.

jump to top BarrettBlake says:

I agree with some of the posters that the car looks much too strange to achieve wide acceptance. The American car buying public, in general, aren't ready for something as radical as this. For a start, they perceive no threat or problem with how they're doing things at the present time. SUV's are OK and there is plenty of fuel to run them. The auto industry has a long history of manipulating the public mind to sell them features they don't need and additionally, convincing them that a vehicle is "NEW" when its actually exactly the same as last years model but different bodywork. The American car industry is languishing in a mud hole, bogged up to the axles, and he situation is entirely of their own making. The EV-1 was the only car to be manufactured in the US that had any chance of pulling them out of the ditch and they axed that to mollify the oil industry. So it'll be up to the little guy to break through with the designs and vehicles we'll need over the next twenty years and the lumbering behemoths of GM and Ford will play catch-up while trying to re-package their ghastly automotive flotsam to try and compete. Either that or buy up the successful startups and kill them. Streetcar anyone?

jump to top BenRo says:

As for the question: "Who would buy one?"

*raises hand*

jump to top arcanelogic says:

Please read all the specs before commenting. The car is bigger and safer than you think.

I love this car and I want one. Regarding saftey, check out the web site; it's really not that hard to navigate provided you have an attention span longer than that of a five year old. Also, I am sure it is safer than my husband's motorcycle and his parents' roadster. Regarding capacity, it can fit 15 bags of groceries in the trunk, or two surf boards. It seats two adults in front and one small person (e.g. child) in the back, which makes it more practical than a motorcycle or a roadster.

It looks different. Different is good. Different is necessary to acheive certain goals. Anyway, why do you want a car that looks like every other car. One of the big problems with current car designs is their poor aerodynamics. A car shaped like a brick is never going to get the kind of specs that this one has.

jump to top Jessica says:

We are in the process of looking at one, my neighbor just put her deposit down on one. Our concerns are:

top speed (southern california hwy)
insurance
financing

but for a commuter vehicle here in San Diego, it is perfect.

I have a motorcycle, and get around 40 mpg with it (BMW 1150GS, sweet bike). But when the rain is out, or it gets a tad bit chilly, or the wife wants to commute without "helmet head" we then commute in a Toyota Landcruiser, and it sucks gas like a hog. AND the cost of a barrel of oil just hit $90.00 a barrel folks! our gas just shot up to 3.25 a gallon for the cheap stuff, and it isn't done yet. If we can get the three questions above answered to our satisfaction, they can consider another one sold. We are going down to their plant and see what it is like in person, but I suspect that we will end up with one in our driveway. One more thing to think about...

How many Americans have to die for a barrel of oil? How may Iraqi's? and regardless of their excuses, that is why we are in Iraq. (My opinion)

jump to top Erick Carpenter says:

The "future" would never change, if we listen to the skeptics! (*Like Carlos! The 3rd comment above, who never invented a thing, but, calls this "silly" when it's an actual achievement! Plus, they can change it as they work out the kinks, if any!) It's "FUN" to see the actual concept become a working, tangible, "REAL THING"! No mirrors necessary, as the rear cameras work fine and the license plates can be placed several places in the back. It's just hard to explain where, but if you see where, then you'll smile and say; "Ohhhhh, I see"! Don't worry about that stuff and remember this; It's better to dream a dream that can change the world for the better, than to condemn the dreams of others who make their's reality! Especially, if it's for the good of society, not for it's destruction! There's another fun vehicle to check out too and you may like that one better. Look on YouTube and type in: " Carver "! That's all! But watch "ALL" the videos about it. You can check out the Aptera on there too and there's many more cars to check out too! So, give these guys a break. They make an interesting car! It "DOES" work! Maybe not in deep snow, lol, but it works well in many other areas. If you add folding wings on top, maybe it could fly! lol Just kidding. But, we were thinking of buying one of these. My husband wants the Carver though. Don't give up on dreams. Have many! Dream simple, or dream BIG! Get thinking and change things for the better of us all. I bet you could think of something wild and fun too! Draw it! Show it! That's how things get better! Just, don't give up so easily and remember!!!, DO NOT condemn others for their dreams when they turn out like this wonderful thing!!!

jump to top Kimberlee says:

I live in Kentucky, and although I have a few concerns, I will be reserving a Typ-1e (total electric version) in the near future.

This vehicle seats 2+1, which simply means two adults side-by-side, and a small person (child) behind them. I'd liken this to the "jump seats" in some extended cab pick-up trucks, as far as space is concerned. The cargo capacity appears to be quite good, and I love the interior design asthetic. It's uncluttered, modern, yet somehow not cold or uninviting. True, the exterior is a bit radical in appearence, but then the 230mpg fuel rating is redical as well. ;)

I will be using this vehicle as my daily driver. I commute approximately 40 miles round-trip into downtown Louisville, all by my lonesome. My current Focus gets respectible gas milage for a non-hybrid, but I just cannot justify its continued usage when a viable and low-cost option is available (~$27k). Now to look into those personal wind turbines... but I digress.

I do have my concerns. Given that my location is not in say, California, New York, Illinois, or Washington, then I do have concerns when it comes to servicing my Typ-1e. Delivery is another concern given these very same reasons. It will be interesting to see how Aptera will handle customers like myself who do not reside in LA, NYC, Chicago, or Seattle. Kentucky, despite its natural beauty, is usually not very high up on the list when it comes to intial product launch locales. :( Maybe they will have a certified mechanics program? (j/k, well sort of...)

I for one would still love to hear more about the details. The subtle details and nuances that will allow me to make the vehicle truely my own. For example, it white the only exterior color available? Is the only interior color pallatte the tan and mustard beige one that they show? How about an electric blue (pun intended) and a white and kelly green interior (think of most cartoon pictures of the Earth)? Will this vehicle be able to tow anything- like a bike rack? Or will Yakima be able to outfit my Typ-1e with a roof rack for my mountain bike?

I for one think Aptera has done an excellent job. They strove to create something new and their aspirations have become reality. What I appreciate is that the $500 deposit is fully refundable. If for some reason I should change my mind at any time (up to signing the purchase agreement in 10/08), I can bail and Aptera returns my $500.

So in the end, the decision will be in the hands of the consumer. The Aptera to me is just one more option in a growing list of choices. If its design is too redical or too limited for your tastes, then that is your peroggative. The really great thing is that we are beginning to see a new crop of choices from new manufacturers, and IMHO, more choice is always healthy for competition, and is hopefully healthy for our planet as well.

(Please forgive me for any typos, MS Vista is being rather slow and refusing to open Word '07)

jump to top Sojourner says:

The vehicle is of great interest to many. However, should you give a $500.00 deposit to a start-up company that later files Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 you might find that you're deposit is not going to be refunded. Buyer beware.

jump to top Mike says:

The vehicle is of great interest to many. However, should you give a $500.00 deposit to a start-up company that later files Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 you might find that you're deposit is not going to be refunded. Buyer beware.

Seeing as they have 10s of million in venture financing, I'm not too worried about my piddly $500.

Go Aptera!

jump to top Anonymous says:

Perhaps you were an investor in Enron. They had hundreds of millions. Buyer beware.

jump to top Anonymous says:

The Aptera reservation page states that the $500 reservation fee will be held in escrow, separate from Aptera and is refundable at any time. Maybe not as risky as others claim.

jump to top Prestadude says:

Perhaps you were an investor in Enron. They had hundreds of millions. Buyer beware.


Your persistence on this red herring makes me suspect your motives.

The Aptera is fantastic and gorgeous, and I wish them all the best.

jump to top Anonymous says:

The Aptera meets 90% of my travel needs, for the rest I'll keep my diesel car on standby. We all have to start thinking about air polution and all the problems connected with oil.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Early Porsches were criticized, now look at their values. I've had several Porschesnow I think the Aptera is beautiful

I love it, just wish they'd open the ordering up to the rest of the country, I'd put my $500 down in a minute.

jump to top Jack says:

The Aptera meets 90% of my travel needs, for the rest I'll keep my diesel car on standby. We all have to start thinking about air polution and all the problems connected with oil.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Early Porsches were criticized, now look at their values. I've had several Porschesnow I think the Aptera is beautiful

I love it, just wish they'd open the ordering up to the rest of the country, I'd put my $500 down in a minute.

jump to top Jack says:

Barely got into reading some of the comments before I got into comments that obviously came from people who knew nothing except they had seen a picture of this.
Yes, it has a trunk
Yes, it uses a camera to see out the rear.
Yes, it's a motorcycle and is licensed as such.

No, I don't want to have to deal with semi's either in this or in my present car.
No, I don't need 4 seats.
No, I don't relish the idea of driving on my roads in this at present as there are so many rude drivers who would make life miserable for me.

Yes, when all the gas is gone, the semis are history and SUV is a bad dream, I'll be in 7th heaven in one of these.

Like the idea. Neat.

If you need something that leaves rubber and costs an arm and a leg to drive, this ain't it, bubba.

Bring it on.

jump to top Jim says:

This is a delightful model T for the future.

jump to top Eric Gates says:

I think this is a great beginning,230 mpg is a great feat considering the monstrocity gas guzzling Suv's on the road today.
The same vehicals that make the highways so unsafe if gradually replaced with the same like vehicals would improve highway safety.
Today there is such a wide gap in the weight of passenger vehicals that makes it impossible for everyone to remain relatively safe from each other.
Only when those air riding tanks are removed from the highways and roads will we see some improvements in safety areas.
Yes one can fit two 7 foot surfboards in the trunk of this car,and one day I beleive we will become more efficiant and will be driving on a single magneto wheel that would make it virtually impossible to flip on it's own,when mounted in the centre,it would retain little resistance,as it would have no moving parts in contact with the wheel at all.
Sure some say it looks furistic when it compares to other car/bike designs,but the bais indeed is on nature,and likewise we know the powering force in the universe as far as movement goes comes from gravity,if we continue to research and develop those movements then indeed we could very well become self efficiant,making our transportation modes weigh less will cut back on the destruction of the highway maitenance costs,and should be reflected in huge savings via taxes,government would have to reduce the local taxes on vehicals where applicapable,because there would be no arguement of need.
Finally the companies and bussinesses that have been making a fortune off the rest of the cars paying for new roads,will have to start footing the bill.

Funny, ugly and pretty is in the eyes of the beholder. Reminds me of the cockpit of a small plane.
Huge SUVs in my mind meet the ugly definition. Nobody in their right mind needs one. So why are so many on the roads. No, probably don't want to know.
I'd love one to commute in (88 miles a day). Get me out of the occasional weather. Neat idea.

Now when do they come to where I live and how do I get repairs done? Always a problem.

jump to top Oren says:

Well? What happened with her? I did send my $500. About a week or two ago, I was sent an email saying they were refunding the 500. It did show back up on my credit card statement. Just looking around to see what was up.

jump to top ClamLeggs says:

AHA ill stick to my SUV and survive crashes thank you very much...

jump to top Calibear says:

AHA ill stick to my SUV and survive crashes thank you very much...

Trolling hippies, dummkopf?

jump to top Anonymous says:

First of all, let me say, I love the car. The aerodynamics are what they should be. If you look at the shape of a raindrop you can see that nature has already given us an aerodynamic shape as close to perfect as possible. We can thank wind resistance coupled with surface tension of water for creating the natural aerodynamic shape. And this car appears to have successfully copied the shape of a raindrop.

However, the car's shape is also similar to a wing's cross section. Therefore, for optimum aerodynamic efficiency, possibly the height of the rear wheel should be automatically varied to adjust the body's angle of attack due to its winglike shape to ensure neutral or perhaps slightly positive lift. This could be controlled through a feedback circuit such that power required to maintain the road speed is minimized by finding a happy medium where the rolling resistance of the tires is reduced at a slight cost in induced wind resistance. Airplane pilots do this automatically except they maintain zero rolling resistance and adjust angle of attack to create either level flight, climbs or descents (flying).

Also, recently I heard rumors that the Aptera's diesel would be replaced by a small gasoline engine because such small diesels could not be made compliant with california emissions standards. I propose that the ultra small diesel engines, such as the ones used in the Aptera be allowed to operate on any roads, not only in California, if using biodiesel. It's well known that BD is carbon neutral. Perhaps even all diesel engines, regardless of their size or absolute quantity of emissions should be completely exempt from emissions laws when using bio diesel since they consume no fossil fuels whatsoever.

jump to top stinkfoot says:

"AHA ill stick to my SUV and survive crashes thank you very much..."

The defense rests, as long as the SUV doesn't meet a tank bigger than it, people like this will be on the roads. When the gas is gone, SUVs will be parked in their yards and going nowhere.

You can't crash if you can't get fuel to drive sir.

Some people will remain clueless as to how they appear forever.

jump to top Floyd says:

Great comments.

too bad the photos above are not the latest and greatest version.

check it out driving! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfv7wMXarig

looks smashing!

W

jump to top W says:

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

jump to top sid says:

possibly the height of the rear wheel should be automatically varied to adjust the body's angle of attack due to its winglike shape to ensure neutral or perhaps slightly positive lift.

No, you want negative lift, not positive. You want the car to press harder on the ground as the speed rises, not try to get airborne.


That said, my reaction to this car is that it's a good answer to the wrong question. If you go to their site, you find that their handwaved mileage numbers are [cough] artificial, and artificially high. They mention - almost as an afterthought - that the real mileage over distance is expected to be on the order of 100+, not 200+.

The question they're asking is "how do we produce personal transportation that is like today's, but cheaper to operate".

The right question, though, is: "how do we move people from place to place on demand at the lowest possible total cost?"

The right answer to that question is going to be a mix of terabit internet to reduce the need for physical travel, HPVs in dedicated lanes, powered light/fragile vehicles of various capacities in dedicated lanes for carrying multiple people and/or cargo, and powered mass transit vehicles in dedicated lanes for heavy cargo and/or long distances.

jump to top Mairead says:

Comments above disparaging the safety of this vehicle are well intentioned, and certainly going from a suburban to an Aptera would be not only a leap, but a leap of faith. But here's another perspective:
As a 65-year old ex-Navy fighter pilot and present Goldwing & sportbike rider who's within 5 years of hanging up his leathers, this "car" (I know it's a motorcycle, legally) is very exciting and probably will be my next "bike".
And considering it costs only about $7500 more than a new 'Wing, the cost is more than reasonable.
It's great- not for everyone, to be sure, but- still it looks like fun- a real "recreational vehicle"!

jump to top Locke Perkins says:

That said, my reaction to this car is that it's a good answer to the wrong question. If you go to their site, you find that their handwaved mileage numbers are [cough] artificial, and artificially high. They mention - almost as an afterthought - that the real mileage over distance is expected to be on the order of 100+, not 200+.

One important fact that you bothered to leave out in your criticism of the fuel milage is that is is based on a a 350-400 mile trip! there is still no other car available that can go that distance and still get 130mpg. The 300 mpg is ased on a communter distance of 3 times that of an average daily commute. This projection is astounding. I have a 2500 gmc diesel and the only reason I have that is to pull a boat. I am looking into placing a downpayment for one of these as soon as a few questions are answered. It is time that the public truely accept radical ideas that will not only make us more energy independent but goes a long way in preserving the environment.

jump to top Mark says:

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