Syntroleum Receives $12 Million in Committed Equity Financing
Phoenix Motorcars to Produce EVs in Mexico; VW to Participate in Venture

Aptera Motors Unveils Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Versions of Typ-1

Aptera
The Aptera Typ-1.

Aptera has officially introduced the all-electric and plug-in gasoline series hybrid (extended range electric vehicle, EREV) versions of its Typ-1 three-wheeled vehicle. (Earlier post). Both versions will be priced at less than $30,000.

The all-electric model has a range of 120 miles. The plug-in series hybrid has achieved more than 300 miles per gallon with a total range of more than 600 miles. All-electric range is between 40 and 60 miles. The electric version is slated for delivery in 2008, with the EREV model to follow.

Since the Typ-1e (electric) and the Typ-1h (plug-in series hybrid) have different battery needs, this may result in different battery manufacturers for the two models. The Typ-1e is designed to use a 10 KWh pack, while the Typ-1h uses a smaller pack. The cycles and DOD (depth of discharge) are different for both applications. Aptera will announce further information regarding the battery lifespan and warranty policy well before it begins manufacturing the Typ-1.

Although the first Aptera prototype used a parallel diesel hybrid powertrain, the company found that “it’s impossible” to get a small diesel engine certified for emissions in California. Aptera switched to a small, water-cooled EFI gasoline engine with closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter coupled to a 12 kW starter/generator for its Typ-1h.

Solar cells embedded under the roof operate an always-on climate control system, ensuring the interior never gets too hot or too cold.

The Aptera Typ-1 safety features include a front crumple zone, a front end that re-directs crash energy in a frontal impact, steel and composite side and rollover protection as well as driver and passenger side airbags.

The car has “two plus one” seating offering room for driver and passenger while an infant seat (for newborns to age three) can be located in the middle behind them.

Fully refundable reservation deposits of $500 are now being accepted from California residents on the Aptera website (http://www.aptera.com). The company will initially deliver vehicles in Southern California, then in northern California and to other regions nationwide. To date, the company has received more than 400 pre-sale deposits.

Aptera is backed by Idealab and Esenjay Investments with initial financing allocated to building the Typ-1 all-electric and plug-in hybrid prototypes. Aptera is currently raising additional capital to begin manufacturing.

Comments

Jonas

Yep, cool vehicle. And we need people to stand out. I firmly believe that if less eco-conscious people merely *see* this on the road, they will at least be reminded of the fact that they have to ask themselves some questions.

Each time such a vehicle passes them by, something in their brain will go 'ping'. And that's the key.

Social theories about mass change have shown that it doesn't really take that many people to induce change.

HealthyBreeze

These raindrop-shaped tricycles have always had an advantage on weight and Cd, but traded interior volume, and stability while turning. You get around both of those by upscaling, but are limited by the width of a typical car lane on the highway.

At the end of the day, this is going to have some of the same challenges the Honda insight had. It's really a 2-seater, so that limits the potential market. If all you deliver is superlative mileage but with big tradeoffs, the market is not big enough.

I think the exotic styling actually helps, ala Prius, because it will be conspicously green, which attracts some buyers.

At 15,000 miles per year, over an 8-year ownership span, and $4/gallon average gas price, the Aptera (assume 150 mpg real world) at $30K purchase price costs $33,200. An $18K insight goosed to get 75mpg would cost $24,400 and have more storage space. A $21K 50-mpg prius would cost $30,600 including gas. A $16K 30-mpg econobox would cost $30,000 including gas. Both of those last 2 have 5 seats.

If the Aptera truly gets 300 mpg, that only shaves off $1600 in operating expenses (diminishing returns).

So...I'd really like to see a 5-seater with big crush zones that averages 90+ mpg, and costs less than $24K up front. PHEV, low Cd, cost-effective carbon fiber, save every ounce...it seems like it should be doable.

DarkDiver

Ok. Now put a European designer on it to make it look a bit sexier, and maybe I'll buy one.

Bill

Since it's a 3-wheeler, it can fold up like a Chery on impact and still be perfectly legal to sell.

And according to this article, the company itself markets the 3rd seat for "newborns to age three"

This is essentially an expensive NEV, for surface streets, not suitable for highway use.


This is essentially an expensive NEV, for surface streets, not suitable for highway use.

Right, because going 90 mph is not suitable for highway use.

l1

Better stop selling the Miata, Corvette, Tesla Roadster, Exige, Sky, Solstice, and Boxster - they only have seating for two people.

Seeing as one and two person households account for a mere 60% of households, clearly there's no market for a two seater with some storage that gets 300 mpg. Best buy a land tank - you never know.

Cervus

If it works more power to them. I hope they sell enough to be profitable. It is rather eye-catching. But three wheeled vehicles have not historically sold well.

As for me, I may just Fly the Road.

gavin walsh

"So...I'd really like to see a 5-seater with big crush zones that averages 90+ mpg, and costs less than $24K up front."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loremo

George

What, Jack changed his name to ""?

Bill

It's not suitable for highway use because it doesn't meet crash standards, regardless of how fast it can travel.

In the end, this is a NEV with a $20,000 premium over other models.

If you want a NEV, you can find them with 4 seats for a third of the price.

coal_burner

When GM was designing the EV-1 their aerodynamicists found something very interesting. On average the crosswind component hits A car at about A 20 degree angle from the front. The aptera seems to be designed extremely aerodynamically from the front, but that 20 degree wind direction would play havoc with those wheel pants. If the car is nudged slightly sideways by the wind then some of the range will be burned off as wheel scrub. When GM designed the EV-1 and when Honda designed the Insight, they both went with truncated airfoils for the body to reduce that (and to make their cars look more normal).
That said, I love the car/bike and would probably buy one if they had kept the price at 20K.
I've been designing A three wheeled vehicle similar to this for several years. It's probably going to take me about 12-15,000 to build so i'll just stick to that instead of 30,000 for the Aptera.
One other thing has to be remembered about 3 wheeled vehicles by prospective buyers in sometimes snowy environments. Pretty much all of the other vehicles on the road in the winter are 4 wheeled vehicles, so snow ruts are lined up for other 4 wheeled vehicles. The rear tire of A three wheeled vehicle in this configuration will ride (and slide) on the berm of snow and slush between tire ruts when it snows.
Not A problem for most, but it's just one of my concerns with my own 3 wheeled designs.

Ben

If safety is such a concern how do people ride around on motorcycles, wouldn't the fear of death put everyone in a hummer? This "car" is probably much safer then existing 3 wheeled bikes, and sure safety conscience won't want one, but there still is plenty market left especially with its looks, I could see trendy yuppies drooling over it now!

Here a question: if you have a car that is reliant on its very very low weight of 850lbs and your moving three people combined weight of ~500lbs how much have you reduced the mileage and acceleration?

It's not suitable for highway use because it doesn't meet crash standards, regardless of how fast it can travel.

By that logic, motorcycles aren't suitable for highway use. You're also making an unfounded slur ("it doesn't meet crash standards"). It hasn't been crash tested yet, so you're just making that up.

In the end, this is a NEV with a $20,000 premium over other models.

NEVs are limited to 25 mph. This one can go 95 mph.

Try contributing a useful comment.

Get a life, Jack.

KennyM

Rear ending this vehicle might be your worst nightmare...

Patrick

Motorcycles don't sell on the auspice of fuel economy (compare the number of sport bikes and overly large harley types sold versus 25hp entry level bikes and scooters with better fuel economy).

$30,000 is a very steep price to pay for someone who is looking for a motorcycle (yes, this isn't a motorcycle but the comparisons are being made).

Does this vehicle perform like a miata, corvette, elise/exige or porsche?

With all of the 2-person households out there how many 2-seater only cars are sold (to these 2-person households not in total)? If a 2-seater high gas mileage vehicle is in demand by consumers, why did Honda's Insight fail?

Aristotle

petitio principii

Charles S

"Does this vehicle perform like a miata, corvette, elise/exige or porsche?


With all of the 2-person households out there how many 2-seater only cars are sold (to these 2-person households not in total)? If a 2-seater high gas mileage vehicle is in demand by consumers, why did Honda's Insight fail?"

I think you may have answer your own questions. There are plenty of households that can get used to a two-seater, but the Honda Insight failed because people place more VALUE on performance than fuel economy.

It's a matter of misplaced cultural value, not a problem with a two-seater design.

Did the Honda Insight get 300 mpg, have plug-in capability, and look like an airplane without wings? Did Honda push for the Insight to succeed?

The Excursion failed. Is there no demand for SUVs?

Jim G.

The Insight was puzzling. It sold so poorly I've wondered if Honda intended to sell it only temporarily to gather data for a serious run at it in the Civic. I like the way the Insight looks, definitely more than this car. Though I wish them good luck. Someone is going to do electric right eventually.

Patrick

Charles, it was a redundant question and you are outlining precisely my point.

It will be a hard sell because of people's cultural values in the US.

John Hamon

bla-bla-bla-bla judging by the comments people seem to forget we need to get on track and into the market. The features we need right now are: 0% pollution and good range which you are getting here BRAVO! On the other hand it is over-priced only by 12,000.00 dollards. Is this car being marketed by petro companies and include the cost of freedom? Great now we have to pay them for nothing. Nice engineering accomplishment can't say I like the squat duck look with its' wide front wheel stance, but than the VW beatle got popular and it wasen't for its' looks. BREAK A LEG

Stop being a DICK, Patrick.

JD

Even though series hybrid is a no-brainer, Aptera should be commended to having adopted it.

Kerry

http://autos.msn.com/advice/article.aspx?contentid=4024974

Per this MSN Auto article [article not dated], legislation prohibits the sale of these types of vehicles throughout the U.S. because of our friendly eco-conscience politicians and their big-pocket ideologies ... You can't actually buy this .... unless you live in California, New York or six other northeast states that follow California's tougher pollution rules. Only there can you buy this ... or the roughly two dozen other models that meet so-called Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standards, PZEV for short.

Our country is so green that we actually have legislation against it ... what hyprocracy! The next best thing is that GM will get kickbacks from the Gov for their attempts to produce hybrid vehicles of which electric is not even an option.

Let's keep the options open, the blood flowing, the ideas generating from these startups ... electric was an option in the Model T days ... why not today!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/jay_leno_garage/4215940.html?series=11

The comments to this entry are closed.