Last year, EcoGeek brought you a little story about a 330-mpg, three-wheeled car. The guy who was building it said that it they were indeed going to build and sell them, indeed...for less than $20,000. We were skeptical, and rightly (the price has risen). But they've done it. The prototype has hit interstates, and they're taking reservations for delivery in "approximately 12 months."
The current prototype gets to 60 mph in about 11 seconds and has a top speed of 95 mph.
The company says that the $500 reservation fee is absolutely refundable at any time, and simply buys you a spot on the list. You can then have input into what the vehicle will be eventually called, its graphics, and accessory options. Then the $500 will be credited toward the cost of the vehicle upon purchase.
The Aptera is fuel-efficient because it is extremely light, and it keeps itself so light in a few ways. First, the engine is tiny, one cylinder, but that's OK, because it's only ever used to charge the batteries. It also stays light by doing away with one of the wheels. This also helps because then, according to American safety regulations, it is technically a motorcycle, and so doesn't have to jump through any of the normal safety hoops. This keeps weight (and costs) way down, but it also makes it pretty fantastically unsafe (but, of course, no less safe than a motorcycle.)
But it certainly is more comfortable than a motorcycle. The extreme aerodynamics keep things efficient but also spacious. Two bucket seats, a wraparound cockpit which gives excellent wraparound visuals.
The lack of side-view mirrors is compensated by rear cameras that display on the central video monitor. Oh...and speaking of awesomness, it has solar panels on the roof that power an air conditioner that keep the car cool on any sunny day....even when you're not in it!
The Aptera also offers some real technological advances. The high efficiency makes it a perfect electric vehicle, and it will come in both electric and hybrid diesel versions. There's no word on the range of the full electric version, but there is a price point for both.
Aptera has listed the full electric at $26,900 and the diesel hybrid at $29,900. As noted, the diesel hybrid will be a series plug-in, just like the impending Chevy Volt. This means that the car will run 100% on electric power, but a diesel engine will charge the batteries when they get low.
The engineering behind series hybrids is pretty complex, but Aptera says that they're getting the details ironed out. Sadly, we don't have our grubby green fingers on those details yet, but hopefully we will soon.
Hopefully the $500 reservation will be more than an investment in the start-up. They certainly need to figure out what to expect in terms of demand. It's hard to sell a $30,000 motorcycle. But for folks looking to save gas and turn some heads, the Aptera could be a no-brainer.
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