This electric tadpole is set to shock California commuters later this year.
Don’t adjust your screen or rub your eyes. What you’re seeing is not a wingless plane or a rolling tadpole, but rather the preproduction Aptera 2e, a three-wheeled electric vehicle from Southern California–based Aptera Motors, which was founded in 2004. And, yes, it’s a real car with real production plans. If you live in the Golden State, you may see it “swimming” your road by the end of 2009.
What Is It?
Inspired by a teardrop-shape—which aerodynamicists will tell you is the most slippery shape extant—the body (or should we say fuselage?) is constructed with composite materials and can hold two passengers. The front wheels sprout from the body and are completely covered, as is the single rear wheel that drops from the flattened tail. Twin Cessna-like doors and a flush tailgate are the only apertures through which the cabin can be accessed; we have yet to learn how to get to the electric motor should the need arise.
The preproduction vehicle is equipped with a lithium-based battery of undisclosed capacity and is propelled via front-wheel drive. This 2e is not the first iteration of the design, adding over previous versions aerodynamic side-mounted mirrors and wider door openings. The vehicles seen here are the first of a planned set of Apteras that will undergo internal and external evaluations for fit, finish, performance, and durability in preparation for the beginning of production in October.
How Fast? How Much?
“We’re getting close to finalizing our final prime-time vehicle, but there’s still a lot of work to accomplish to manufacture an ultra-high-efficiency vehicle,” says Aptera president and CEO Paul Wilbur, whose 25 years of product planning and development, marketing and finance experience for Ford, Chrysler, and other manufacturers will certainly come in handy for the small manufacturer. “Just look at the 2e and you understand that it’s an aerodynamic marvel. We now have to make the final refinements in the upcoming months, squeezing out every ounce of positive performance.”
Just how much performance is he talking? According to Aptera, the 2e will go from 0 to 60 mph in under 10 seconds, top out at 90 mph, and achieve the energy-consumption equivalent of more than 200 mpg in the standard EPA driving cycle. Driving range is about 100 miles per charge.
The expected cost is between $25,000 and $45,000, according to Aptera, although we speculate that it will end up closer to the latter, given the abundant use of high-tech materials and the company’s certain desire to quickly recoup development costs. Initial sales will occur solely in California (where else would you launch such an oddity?), but Aptera plans to distribute the 2e to the rest of the United States by late 2010. It claims to have received nearly 4000 deposits for the vehicle.
Hardly a household name—at this point anyway—Aptera is shaping up to be no fly-by-night organization. In addition to CEO Paul Wilbur, the company has also recruited other well-known executives, folks like former Saleen and Chrysler/SRT executive Marques McCammon, who serves as CFO.
We assure you this won’t be the last you hear of the 2e. We’ve already arranged to be one of the first to perform independent testing of this prototype, the results of which you’ll see within a few short weeks.
0 Responses to "Aptera 2e Electric Car Production and Pricing Announced"