California to get 'space age' three-wheel EV
From Logan's Run to shopping run
'Leccy Tech Another day, another odd looking 'leccy car from a start up. Today, it's the turn of Californian car maker Aptera to foist its vision of the future of the automobile upon us, and it's shaped like this:
The first three pre-production examples of the 'leccy three-wheeler, dubbed the 2e, rolled out of Aptera's Vista, California factory last week. As if that wasn't exciting enough, the firm also handed out a comprehensive spec sheet at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference that's taking place in Long Beach at the moment.
According to the company, initial sales will begin in California later this year – production officially starts in October - with availability right across the US following in 2010. The price? "Between $25,000 and $45,000" (£17,302-30,756/€19,548-35,187), which suggests quite some options list.
Oh, Sir Clive, where art thou?
The two-seater front wheel drive car – though technically a motor bike as far as US Federal safety authorities are concerned – will have an electric motor capable of delivering 60lb ft of torque from a lithium-ion battery pack rated at “10-13kWh” - presumably the higher number is an optional upgrade that will increase the basic 100-mile range.
No, we didn't forget to ask what the 'leccy motor's power output is. Apetra just ain't telling.
The Jetsons' EV?
Performance-wise, Aptera reckons buyers will see 60mph in under nine seconds and then roll on to a top speed of 90mph helped by a more-slippery-than-a-wet-fart-in-a-thunderstorm coefficient of drag of just 0.15.
Other features include a roof covered with solar cells, fancy gullwing doors, two cup holders and cargo space for up to 15 paper grocery bags - or presumably plastic ones for the less eco-minded.
My other car is a flying saucer
According to Aptera, it has 4000 deposits for the 2e, though at only $500 a go – and fully refundable - it isn't too difficult to see a some of those not turning into firm sales.
Aptera reckons it will be building 100,000 2es over the next five years, providing jobs for 5000 Californians. Ambitious claims both, given the current state of the US car market. ®
Some options NOT mentioned
the 2h (extended range electric) carries a small petrol generator - claimed at 300 miles (about 480 km)/gal
2h is to go into production a year or 3 after the 2e.
base price is 25k, 45k probably includes the 2h option - as the original pricing structure was set at 26k (full electric) and 30k (extended range) -all prices USD
As for safety - F1, indy car both have vehicles that are capable of travel in excess of 200 mph, weigh in at or under 1500 lbs, and *most* crashes drivers walk away.
Since the vehicle has 3 vs 4 wheels (in the US anyway) this classifies it as motorcycle rather than a car - the safety standards *are* different. OF COURSE. hard to get a (2 wheeled) motorbike with side impact air bags, or front crumple zones (duh!).
However, as stated - and there are many standard safety features - including airbags.
for those still curious or interested in seeing exactly what you are deriding :
this is a short test drive video, and a discussion about the construction of the Aptera (www.aptera.com) by one of the designers/founders.
Finally - funding - google
Go - because this is the way to go
Mr Kev quotes the width as 91" (2.3 m).
Most cars in the UK measure in the region of 1.7 m wide, being 1.9 - 2 m with wingmirrors. Even a BMW X5 is only ~1.9 m + wingmirrors.
Picture the proximity of driver and passenger and the size of the seats in relation to the vehicle.
Look at the pictures of the Aptera 2e from the front.
If the vehicle is 2.3 m wide, then those seats are on the small side. I reckon that with ~1.6 m cabin (the seats do appear pretty close together) that the overall vehicle in those pictures is more like 2.5 - 2.6m wide.
Either way it's far wider than the roads are built for. It'd be like everyone driving bus-wide cars.(Routemaster double-deckers were ~2.45 m)
"5in ground clearance"
Not much good around town then - not many speed bumps that this can get over.