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Aptera in Action Video: Driving the Planet's Greenest All-Electric Three-Wheeler!

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Aptera 2e, photo by Jason H. Harper

Aptera 2e, photo by Jason H. Harper

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Like any other profession, auto writers often know each other. We swap stories, ask each other's advice, and occasionally brag.

So when a friend called to say he was about to test-drive the Aptera 2e, our only reply was, "Damn!" We were intensely curious about the three-wheeled, all-electric, ultra-aerodynamic mileage machine.

We convinced our friend, Jason Harper, to take lots of pictures. But he actually did one better: He drove it, thrashed it, and shot a bunch of video. Not just factory video, but actual, on-the-road, this-is-what-it-does footage. We're happy to offer it here, along with his driving impressions.

What's it like to drive? Harper says: This thing is a blast, with its stable, tight handling, and it attracts as much attention as a spaceship. The cockpit is comfortable, with great visibility, and the only downside to the single rear wheel is that it transmits pretty much every bump directly into your backside.

The Aptera 2e is from a startup outside San Diego founded by engineer Steve Fambro and boat-builder Chris Anthony. They asked a very simple question: How much gas could you save if you made absolutely the most aerodynamic vehicle on the road?

With a raised tail, fully faired front wheels, and gullwing doors, the 2e is their answer. Its coefficient of drag, quoted at 0.15, is the lowest of any modern road vehicle. (By comparison, the 2010 Toyota Prius touts its lowest-ever Cd of 0.25, though it's a four-seat, five-door midsize car.) And this Aptera model won't use any gasoline at all, because it's entirely electric, offering a 100-mile range from its 17-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

Anything this odd-looking will have a few quirks. The 2e is only a two-seater, for one. For another, the Feds consider it a motorcycle, which means different safety standards (and a different driver's license). Aptera emphasizes that the composite body has a standard crumple zone and is fully crash-tested.

Jason reviewed the Aptera 2e for Bloomberg News, and then did "Behind the Scenes" and "Aptera electric-car video" posts on his own blog. It's modestly titled "Jason H. Harper" (His subheading is "Writer. Travel. Auto. Adventure."--you get the idea, right?)

This may not be the last we see from these guys either. Cofounder Chris Anthony has returned to his boatbuilding roots with what he calls the world's first hybrid sports boat.

Aptera 2e, photo by Jason H. Harper

Aptera 2e, photo by Jason H. Harper

Enlarge Photo

[For the record, earlier Aptera videos can be found from Popular Mechanics, InsideLine, Wired, and of course Aptera itself. Plus, YouTube lists more than 150.]

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  1. "Tires squealing?"

    That tire squealing means there's some deal breaking drive dynamics problems going on there.
     
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