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Startup Introduces 330MPG Diesel Hybrid Design

A rendering of the Aptera

Accelerated Composites, a San Diego, California-area startup, has designed a two-seat, three-wheel parallel hybrid—the Aptera—to achieve up to 330 MPG and sell for less than $20,000.

The Aptera hybrid is to be built from lightweight composites, and designed to deliver its 330 mpg in normal city and highway driving and demonstrate acceleration and handling similar to that of a Honda Insight.

Accelerated Composites claims that the coefficient of drag on the vehicle will be 0.055-0.06—an order of magnitude lower than any production vehicle on the road.

The production powertrain will consist of a 12 hp (9 kW) diesel engine with a 25 hp (19 kW) permanent magnet DC motor. (Accelerated Composites is designing the prototype with a gasoline engine for cost.) The electric motor is coupled through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT); when the engine is off the car can run on the electric motor alone.

The company plans to use ultracapacitors for energy storage, although it is working with lightweight lead gauze batteries in the prototype. (Lead gauze batteries suspend the electrolyte in a gauze material.)

The Aptera weighs 850 lbs and is made almost entirely of lightweight composites, based on Accelerated Composites’ Panelized Automated Composite Construction (PAC2) process. It accelerates from 0–60 mpg in 11 seconds, and has a top speed of 95 mph.

Depending upon the completion of funding, a prototype could be ready to roll as early as the end of March or April, according to Accelerated Composites founder and CEO, Steve Fambro.



that is no a bad price and it is a two seater

rich easton

The Aptera is a good design concept. There is a market for it, in small quantities, now. A larger market could develop with a four seater having the same frontal area and drag coefficient. The key is price. Reduced weight and drag, with increased safety, come from composite construction. How do you build a low-cost, medium producion vehicle from composites? That is the magic bullet. The top half of the car should be a polycarbonate canopy. The drag coefficient is really low, a jet has a Cd around .1, this is half that. The IC engine should be multifuel, or based on CNG or Propane. They have the size and power in the right place on the chart. This should be a plug-in hybrid. Detroit will move quickly to kill this car and company, they will Tucker-ize them and Nader-ize them. Please, guys, distribute your technology as widely as possible to as many licensees as possible as fast as possible--it is harder to suppress inventions that are widely held than those that reside in one small company of three guys. Please make more details of your design and production method available on the net. Texaco is suppressing the NiMH battery and amorphous solar cells by buying up the patents and doing nothing with them. Look for GM to do the same to this car.

Thomas Wieken

So far the car seems to be pie in the sky. The web site shows some work with plywood on a mock up and not much else.

I doubt they will ever sell one.


I would like to know how they calculated the 330 mpg. That sounds too good to be true. I hope that it is possible, but would like to see the math. Even half of that claim is exciting. I would love to see them make it to production.


Tim Hobby


My compliments, your vehicle, if produced and sold to the general public, would successfully lower the price of gasoline and diesel fuels.

If our government is really interested in autonomy from foreign oil, why don't they order these vehicles for all government employees, and make sure laws are put in place for its operation.

A toast to you and your company; may you change the course of history with your invention(s).

By the way, I want one.

Tim Hobby

Jay Winter Nightwolf

How can I get purchasing information. Will there be a 4 - 5 seater in the near future? I am an environmentalist and radio talk show host. Can we talk about this product in the very near future?


Seems like there would be a market for this type car. For them to be truly practical and to share the road with larger vehicles some changes could take place.
Such as:
For safety sake HOV lanes could also could also be used by this type of vehicle or any vechicle that gets more than 100 mile per gallon.
I see this more as an urban type transporter where high population density dictates lower speeds. I don’t see this type vechicle swishing down an interstate in the Chicago to Miami corridor fighting the big rigs and the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky.
A side benefit in grid locked areas is a higher density of traffic as the car looks to be much smaller than the average car currently on the market.
Technology shifts can mandate a change in thinking. Witness the days when cars were sharing the road with horses and buggies. The shift in the breakup of AT&T and away from a land line voice communication system to a blended one of cell phones, satellites and land lines.

Developing technology such as fuel cells look like it would be a nice marriage with this type of transportation.
Would it be possible to add solar cells to the outer skin for a few extra watts of power?

Here is a thought for someone, we have looked into harnessing wind and wave for their energy potential what about the movement of air generated by passing motor vehicles. Small wind turbines could power low watt road signs and glow strips for shoulder edge markings.

I have never understood why so many people think companies like GM and Ford are against improved milage in transportation. They tend to sell what the consumer will buy. Toyota and Honda certainly would have no problems coming out with a hyper efficient people mover.

Texaco and BP may not like it but if you think about it they are energy distribution companies. A shift to hydrogen, if that technology ever develops, should not be too difficult for them as long as the consumer is there to plunk down their plastic.

If GM really wants to make a comeback and really wants to reinvent itself it would hire Burt Rutan to design the car of tomorrow and then build it like he says without mucking it up. Then get the government to give tax incentives, and motoring right of ways, and special privileges to people purchasing any vehicle that would return milage of better than 100 miles per gallon per passenger.

I wont even go into the paradigm shift of lowered dependence on OPEC and the reduced emissions benefits.


while it is a good design, it's not all that special or innovatove, it's just a cockpit of a jetfighter on three wheels... the designer was into planes, and the rest is just using the simple less displacement equals better mileage and adding hybrid tech to it. It would do well in eutopia, but I don't think people are going to want to give up their huge vehicles that they don't need, making it only slightly safer than a motorcycle in all but the most urban environments.

Susan Smith

I want the car. I love it. I will take a Hunter Green. Tag Green Machine. $18,000 I will test drive, you are not crazy. You will make it I have faith in you an I don't Know you. Let me know when mine is ready. Thank-You Love Susan Smith

Taylor Lasker

she thinks we don't have to read all of this are you on my side??


ugly ass hell but 330 mpg and 0-65 11 second sad to say if it give me that i buy it i hope they make it with 4tires and make it look nicer to the eye if not i still buy it


Yes I'd buy a diesel hybrid. R:)

Jonathan Meuser

Does the Aptera come with any optional fuel tank/fuel filter/fuel line heaters for running biodiesel all winter?



Does the vehicle lean on turn? i.e. lean into the turn like a motorcyle, instead of rolling away from the turn like a car.

- the 2 benefits of this is to make it more stable in turns.

- Allow for a narrower wheel base. If it is narrow enough, you may fit 2 vehicles in a single lane. A big benefit in congested cities.

What about the tires and the spare?

- regular tires w/ no spare tire, run flat tires, or never flat tires.

The front wheels needs to be farther up, not back like a previous poster stated. It will prevent nose dives when love tapped from the back. :)

What will power the AC? Would it be belt driven compressor like now?

- You should test the idea of an electrical driven AC system instead of the belt driven AC systems. Think of it as a mini fridge system for the car. You will have more control of the cooling, more design freedom (it doesn't need to be mounted on the engine). Is the cab small enough and insulated enough to use the Peltier heating/cooling?

Heating could be electrical assisted also. You can have a mini electric ceramic heater if the engine does not produce enough heat.

LED lights for all lighting conserves battery.

no need for tape/cd players, play music connected from personal usb drive or ipod type drives. Just plug it into the player and play.

and most importantly, would it have room for a set of golf clubs? :)


Would like more info

Tom & Melody DeGraziano

Please, please, how do I "sign-up" for one?


in spite of all the well founded (government intervention, alternative opportunites) and not well founded (more efficient tractor trailers, three wheels/two seats) skepticism, one thing i am certain of is that my consciousness of our current state won't allow me to be anything but sick upon turning over a conventional internal reciprocating combustion engine to negotiate these cities we live in which were designed around them.

how is that for a sentence?

disgard it on its emotional basis, then deny that when you yourself are no longer emotional, you will be dead.

we need these. supercapacitors, a diesel engine, negligible drag. this is just intelligence.


I emailed the company back on the 14th of February to ask about when the car would be available for purchase and have gotten no reponse from them. And the last press release was like 1 year ago on their site.. did they go out of business?


Put a fourth wheel on it, and you might be able to sell some


man i think u should produce this vehicle in india or thailand or china so that u can reduce the cost of vehicle further down ,use govt's incentives there,sell to thier market nad make a good buck at the end of the day.tamil nadu govt will be happy to give you facilities here in india
contact me for more details

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