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Aptera 2e: Taking Deposits for The Future

Breaking News

Arguably the second most-famous alternative vehicle in California, the super-sci-fi 2010 Aptera 2e went into in early 2009 and is scheduled to begin full production in October.
aptera sideview
photo courtesy of Aptera
by Ross Bonander

Specs:

  • Type: Electric vehicle
  • Class: 3-wheel motorcycle
  • Manufacturer: Aptera
  • Propulsion system: 3 phase motor
  • Top Speed: 90 mph (145 km/h)
  • Zero-to-60: 6 seconds
  • Vehicle range: 100 miles (161 km)
  • Fuel(s): Electricity
  • Fuel efficiency: 200 MPGe
  • Battery system: Lithium-ion
  • Time to full battery recharge: 2 hours
  • Tailpipe emissions: No
  • Price: $25,000 to $45,000
  • Availability: 2010

The manufacturer says...

"At Aptera, our efforts are toward creating the world's most efficient vehicles. we love the promise of a bright future and believe that by thinking more efficiently today, we make tomorrow that much brighter."

Overview

Arguably the second most-famous alternative vehicle in California (second, of course, to Tesla's Roadster), the super-sci-fi 2010 Aptera 2e went into pre-production in early 2009 and is scheduled to begin full production in October.

What's new with the Aptera

The Aptera's been plenty busy since we first featured her at the end of 2007:

A new name. Originally they announced two models; the 1h (hybrid) and the 1e (electric), but they re-focused company and brand into one model, the renamed Aptera 2e.

Some new features. They've added "Eco-chic seating", which features recycled material colored with natural dyes, and "Smart Phone Connectivity" that allows plug-n-play capability of your iPhone.

aptera on the road

Entry into a historic race. Aptera has officially entered the 2e in the alternative class of the Progressive Automotive X-Prize.

A media blitz. The Aptera arrived on Capitol Hill in Washington DC at the end of March 2009, part of a media blitz that began earlier that month and included enormous positive publicity in late May when Jay Leno took the Aptera for a successful test drive.

What we like about the Aptera

The cockpit. Sleek and uncluttered, it features a centralized screen that displays a vision of the vehicle's rear, allowing the driver to keep his eyes straight ahead yet see ahead and behind.

The design. From the back end, it looks like a flying saucer. With the gull wing doors open it looks like an amusement park ride in the shape of a mutant insect. Squint a little to knock out the wheels, and you see a land cruiser from Star Wars.

The solar-assisted climate control. Roof-based solar cells maintain a comfortable cabin temperature at all times, whether you're in the vehicle or not.

The price. Originally, Aptera announced an MSRP of around $30,000. They're now saying the price will range between $25,000 (basic) and $45,000 (loaded). This means that the Aptera will qualify for generous tax credits provided by President Obama's stimulus package.

What we don’t

The airbag . This is one change I find unfortunate. Originally, the Aptera was to feature airbags hidden in the lap belt portion of the seat belt, which would deploy upwards and away from the occupant. The airbags have since been moved to more traditional locations—i.e. in the middle of the steering wheel for the driver.

Conclusions

As of March 2009, Aptera had picked up fully refundable $500 deposits from over 4,000 anxious owners, all of them Californians because they're only initially offering it to Californians. They expect to extend the offer to the rest of the country later in 2010.

My initial enthusiasm for the Aptera has not waned an ounce; if anything, I'm even more jazzed about this most audacious of future cars. Not only that, I've seen some of my initial fears over the Aptera's slim chances of finding a market begin to fade, thanks to the fundamental greatness of the vehicle from bumper to bumper and the serendipitous nature of the collapse of the economy, which have made the Aptera both more appealing and more affordable than ever before.

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