Aptera Test Drive A Success!

It’s the Aptera — a futuristic car that has generated a lot of buzz lately — and with good reason — the Aperta is a very, very efficient vehicle (just check out the video: you’ll see what I’m talking about). The car’s head-turning design has a purpose: the shape is highly aerodynamic (much like a jet). It ready available for pre-order, and priced at about $27,000. There will be two models of the Aptera: an all-electric version that goes 120 miles on a charge (for 2008), and a gasoline version that will get 300 mpg (for 2009). The car is also said to be very safe, see the safety FAQ here.

Aptera founder and CEO Steve Fambro says sticking your hand out the window of an average car driving 55 mph creates more drag than the Aptera’s entire body. Recently, Popular Mechanics, took the Aptera for a test drive. Here’s their enthusiastic reaction:

Turn the dial to the “D” position, and the Aptera accelerates like many other pure EVs, with a constant rush of torque. The powertrain pulls strongly up to 50 mph or so (the fastest the streets on our route would allow). Interestingly, when you floor the accelerator, there’s a moment when the rearend jacks up slightly as the torque is applied. It’s a slight feeling, as it is on some shaft-drive motorcycles — and it’s kind of fun. It makes the acceleration feel stronger than it is.

Here’s a video clip of the test drive:

Website: Aptera

Comments

  1. Nick says

    Looks kinda flimsy. What does it have for safety features? That 300 mpg is all well and good but pretty useless if I end up having to get scraped off the bottom of a hummer.

  2. William Bennett says

    The 300mpg value is nonsense since you still have to charge its batteries from your wall socket in addition to the gas. Calculating things this way, a pure electric car gets infinity miles to the gallon.

  3. John says

    This looks really neat! If only I had 27K lying around…

    @ Nick: They mention some safety features in the video (specifically about frontal collisions), but I still have some questions about side collisions. I didn’t see any safety features there.

    And I know they mention that the car is nice and roomy, but from a practical, average consumer standpoint, there is no (as far as I saw) trunk, which is something of a dealbreaker for a lot of people.

    All that said, the green value of this vehicle and the wow factor make it a serious contender for the specialty market it seems to be designed for.

  4. Dilbert says

    “They mention some safety features in the video (specifically about frontal collisions), but I still have some questions about side collisions. I didn’t see any safety features there.”

    Play it again John, your question is answered.

  5. says

    Wow!! 27 thousand and you look cooler than anyone else on the road!

    I really need to try this out, though I don’t think it will fare well in Canadian winters.

  6. W says

    Dear John,

    The side impact door beam and door structure is constructed to be TWICE the required strength of a normal passenger car, even though they don’t have to do it.
    Airbags? got ‘em. Roll bar? got it. Cross-car beam? got it. Composite structural frame? got it. Crumple zone? 45 inches up front with an angled “firewall” to provide greater deflection.

    Safety first. Energy performance next. Brilliant.

    Trunk space? go check the picture of the trunk open and all the crap that fits. Golf bags? 2. Surfboards? 2 up to 7ft. Grocery bags? up to 15!
    Big enough trunk for ya?

    It will only be sold in California.

    Dear Mr. Market: define ZERO.

    W

  7. Looking for Version 4.0 says

    Can’t think of a place where I could drive “up to 50mph” and still feel safe. Good concept, but give me 100mpg instead of 300mpg and make it go up to 85mph, please. Until then, it is just another fun electric car that Ed Bagley Jr. can tout on his way to collect St. Elswhere royalty checks. Not much for anyone else.

  8. jeriatric says

    Does the fact that it’s only going to sold in California means the all electric version has a cold weather performance restriction? I didn’t catch any mention of an in-car heater, de-icer for the windows, and flush headlights. Would these be Hybrid only options?

    Just because we live ‘up north’ shouldn’t deprive us of a major innovation is driving or relegated to driving only in the summer. Gasoline cost more in the winter.:-)

  9. jeriatric says

    I did catch the part about climate control but I can’t imagine how much an all electric heater would drain the batteries in ‘cold country’.

    Will the hybrid version be regenerative?

    I looked in vain for the pictures of the trunk space features that W mentioned. :-(

  10. Bob says

    Looking: The car goes up to 90mph. Popular Mechanics only took it up to 50mph in their tests because of speed limits where they were driving.

  11. Matt says

    Hmm. I’d really love one. I don’t care about looks, that’s why I drive a Scion xB now. This aptera is has many great features, and looks aside, it looks roomy enough for two. If $27K was in my budget, I’d be getting one immediately.

  12. safety first says

    its great and all that its designed to withstand twice the standard force of impact… but a car made from diamonds wouldn’t necessarily protect the squishables inside (the organics anyway) if it got hit by a hummer weighing 10x more and going 70 mph. that said, it looks light enough (and prob has to be for fuel eco) that a motorcycle could side-end it and send it tumbling… and crumpled frames aren’t all that aero-d. not to mention the expense of fixing ever minor dent to maintain said aero-d.

  13. fitz says

    If a Hummer hits any other vehicle at 70mph,like a motorcycle, Mini Cooper, Geo, Honda Civic, person on a bicycle, 2 people on a tandem bicycle, horse and buggy, skateboarder, the people are pretty much vaporized. If we use a Hummer as the standard for safety does that mean our streets would be totally filled with JERKOFFS driving competing versions of the Hummer. Could the world handle that many complete JERKOFFS on the road at once in cars
    that big. I look at Hummers as unsafe to other cars. We shouldn’t have cars on the street like Hummers. They’re fine for driving over people in a war zone but not practical in the US of A. OK frat boys need em and others of their ilk. A lot of thought went into designing the Aptera. The Hummer was designed to run around in the desert dodging bombs.

  14. says

    No J.C. You are not. | Fitz, Hummers and other mall monsters are not safe for other vehicles, but that has *never* been a government standard that the automakers have to meet. An SUV driver is twenty times more likely to kill the occupants of the vehicle they hit than is a car driver. (due largely to the height and shape of the front undercarriage which skips over the doors of shorter cars and crushes the occupants) By that token, I should be allowed to mount reactive armor on my Toyota to blow up any vehicle that comes close to me and protect my life.

  15. says

    Um william, if you look closlely you will notice that the “gas engine” term used loosely. The car is still going to run solely on electric power. The “gas engine” is just simply a generator that will keep the batteries charged (extending the range to over 300 miles).

  16. Crosius says

    If the Aptera can function through a cold Canadian winter, I want one. I wonder how difficult it will be to replace the windshield. (my municipality sands icy roads and most cars go through a windshield every few winters)

    It’s got everything I bought my current (economical compact) car for, plus a huge efficiency increase and a vastly improved aesthetic.

  17. John says

    One rear drive wheel? I can’t imagine this vehicle performing well on snow or ice. I don’t think we’ll see any here in Alaska anytime soon.

  18. Crosius says

    I’m cautiously optimistic. A tire isn’t a track, but there is an example of a rear-driven tadpole vehicle that works just fine on ice and snow – the snowmobile.

  19. martin says

    On a dark and wet night with: lights on, wipers on, radio on, heater on- two kids, wife & dog- would I get out of the drive. ?
    A very nice design study indeed.
    It is recyclable; good job.
    Recycle it into a Honda.

  20. johnb says

    I can’t wait for a Canadian model! At least sell the frame, I can winterize it myself.
    Electric blanket on the battery to enhance cold weather performance, winter tires, and a move to front wheel hub motors in place of their conventional rear drive.

  21. johnb says

    I didn’t see side airbags. As funny as it sounds, some sort of external expanding airbag might be something to consider when you fly over the car you hit.

    I wonder how many minor changes would be required to extend the wheel suspension so one could add a bottom wing, tail, and motor and make it into a airplane? ;-)

  22. Christine says

    This car is simply amazing! This car is really freakin sweet.

    In response to those who were questioning the trunk, would it be smart to have a car and not a trunk? Come on now…

    I can’t explain it, this car is just brilliant!

  23. Simon says

    Hmm, Well it looks ugly, it can only seat two people, it doesn’t seem to have any room for luggage and it doesn’t look as though it would win if it took on a 4×4 in an accident.
    Is it the successor to the Powell Motors Homer?

  24. Omnipotent says

    I will buy one of these as soon as it becomes available in Washington State. I can’t justify $4-5 a gallon and only see an industry average of 20mpg in america.

    This will be my next car.

  25. CHRISTOPHER from Philadelphia; Pa. says

    I Love this Car and it’s Mileage possibility. Will You be Making one of these cars that’ll Support the 300 Miles Using both options of Fuel and Electricity ?

  26. CHRISTOPHER from Philadelphia; Pa. says

    Wha I Meant is if the Car can hace a Switch within the Car For Us to Select Using the Fuel Option or the Electricity . All Built within the One Car

  27. says

    well…..
    the out side is grim look like it came from space
    but in side it groovey,
    chang the style but keep the in side then maybe yuu would get more buyers!!!!!!!!!
    chow for now!!!!!

  28. nwoR-uavReaperHF says

    Thiscar looks great.loremo has 4 passangers.
    Question:can this car drive thousands of miles without brakingdown through the Nevada roads without over heating?ifitneeds repair where to go?
    This car is like a gyrocopter motocycle stylish
    Ready to take off from the ground! Which would
    You all prefer motor wise!?well I’m located in
    Irvine this car has my thoughts!I hope this
    Car company becomes number one in green cars
    OrangeCounty ! best of luck!

  29. says

    Pity the prairie dogs, they see one coming, hunker down so one wheel goes either side of them then get squuissshhed by the centre rear. Ouch!

  30. Anonymous says

    Maybe Im just a nerd, maybe everyone thinks other wise. but you would look like a fucking baller in this car.

  31. says

    I have been told that the production of the Aptera car has now been halted due to the lack of funding. The company has now filed for bankruptcy.

    It is a shame as Aptera was a very promising venture with a lot of potentials which undoubtedly will be the foundations for any future development in the electric car industry.

    The Aptera electric car has become a legend on its own rights like the mythical city which the electric car took it’s name “The ancient city of Aptera” in Crete. http://www.just-crete-co.uk

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