The Aptera 2e has received nearly 4,000 deposits in anticipation of an October 2009 launch date. The final price has not been set, but will be between $25,000 and $40,000. The initial release has been limited to California residents.
From a first glance the car doesn’t really look like a car, which is by design. “Open up any book on automotive design and styling. Look at how they begin drawing a new concept vehicle. They almost always start with a rectangle!!!!” says founder Steve Fambro. “65% of the gasoline we use as a country is used by our cars just to push the air out of the way.”
Increasing efficiency through aerodynamics became the driving design force behind the Aptera 2e. “Why wouldn't we design cars to push the least amount of air out of the way as possible?” Fambro says, and references streamlining design influences from birds and fish. “By radically lowering the drag of our vehicle, we more than triple the efficiency compared to any other vehicle on the road.”
They don’t stop with the shape of the vehicle. Calling steel “last century’s material,” the 2e embraces far lighter composites. The efficiency of the vehicle is enhanced further by the lower rolling resistance of the three wheel design.
The prototype has a curb weight of 1760 pounds, with the production model slated to weigh in at 1500 pounds. The battery range is projected at 100 miles with two 180 pound adults and 250 pounds of cargo.
In performance mode the vehicle is said to have a 0-60 time of less than ten seconds, and a top speed of 90 mph. Recharging overnight requires nothing more than a standard 110-volt plug.
The interior is well referred to as a cockpit, with the aerodynamic lines of an airplane interior blending with that of a wheeled vehicle. Gullwing doors sweep up and out, serving both the function of ease of entry, but adding to the aircraft inspired aesthetic.
A center console has a navigation screen with internet connectivity, and has capabilities beyond the normal point-to-point directions. It can locate the nearest charging station, and calculate the ‘greenest’ route to a destination by calculating the lowest battery load per route.
Overall, the Aptera 2e shapes up to be a real disruptor in the traditional EV market. The 2e addresses nearly every major hurdle or stumbling block of earlier EVs: 110-volt charging, 100 mile range, exotic looks, performance, technology and at a price point maximum of $40,000.
Aptera 2eEnlarge Photo
Aptera 2e, revisedEnlarge Photo