The Much-Awaited Hybrid Electric Car From Aptera Debuts in California

We've been hearing a lot about Hybrid and All-Electric cars with high mileage promises for quite some time now. But looks like finally the long wait is over as one of them succeeds to move from R&D to actual production! Aptera has officially unveiled two vehicles (which look more like mini-planes to me!) that could change the future of automotive design, and is ready to find its place on California streets by end of 2008! Modestly-priced at 26,900(all-electric) and 29,900(plug-in-hybrid), both the Aptera's Typ-1 models are sure to create a buzz, especially as they boast a really attractive mileage figure of 300 miles per charge!!

"Aptera" is a greek word for "wingless flight". And just as the name and shape suggests, this car looks more like an airplane rather than a car. With 3-wheels, a perfectly aero-dynamic design, and doors that flip open upwards, the Aptera looks like something out of a stylish James Bond movie! Through extensive fluid dynamics modeling and materials engineering, the Aptera team has created the most efficient, lowest-drag shape that can surround two occupants side-by-side, and has safety as a priority in the design.

Some Features
The car has three wheels, making it eligible for most carpool lanes(HOV), even with only one person in the vehicle. It also has "two plus one" seating offering ample room for driver and passenger while an infant seat (for newborns to age three) can be located in the middle behind them. Storage room is also generous with enough space to fit 15 bags of groceries, two full-size golf club bags or even a couple of seven foot surf boards with the infant seat removed. Solar cells embedded under the roof operate an always-on climate control system, ensuring the interior never gets too hot or too cold. The dashboard display and info-entertainment system is controlled by an in-vehicle computer, which also controls the "Eyes Forward" vision system which gives the driver complete situational awareness without taking their eyes off of the road. And yes, it also comes with an Advanced drive computer with GPS navigation, CD/MP3/DVD player and XM satellite radio!!

Is this Car Safe?
Unlike many 3-wheel vehicle designs that were abandoned in the 80's due to their instability the Aptera has two wheels in the front and a single rear wheel eliminating any tendency to roll-over. The Aptera also features traction control for more stability control.

Performance Specs
So how fast witll this mini-plane travel on the road, you'd think! Well, the Aptera team and the conducted test trials claim that top speed for the production model will exceed 85 mph, going from 0-60 in under 10 seconds.

A Few Concerns
I love the concept, and the design meets the requirements for an efficient Hybrid Car. But they say the top speed is around 85mph, so can you imagine trying to drive this car in the HOV lane at around 60-70mph?? If you do, be prepared for some swearing and honking!:) Also, despite their safety commitments, I find it a bit hard to imagine that such a design could be stable and safe, and car doesn't really start "flying" in the high-california-winds!! So take a moment and check out the detailed Specs and FAQs on their website.

Aptera is initially going to be launched exclusively in California only, but slowly the team would expand to other US, Asian and European markets. Jump over to their website and take a look at more pictures and cool videos. If you like what you see, they are accepting fully refundable $500 deposits from California residents.

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1 comment:

Alternative Fuel Vehicles said...

Its doesn't look a car, rather a spaceship or an helicopter type. Great concept behind the design, its really unique.