|A rendering of the Aptera|
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.