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Aptera Motors, formerly Accelerated Composites,[1] is a maker of high-efficiency vehicles, and is located in Carlsbad, California.

Aptera’s first product, a three-wheeled two-seater named the Aptera 2 Series, is currently under development,[2] though they are accepting pre-orders from California residents.[3] The fuel efficiency of 300 mpg-US (0.78 L/100 km) when plugged in every 120 miles (190 km) would make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world.

The name Aptera is Greek for “wingless,” a nod to their light-aircraft-inspired design and construction techniques,[4] and is correctly pluralized ‘Apteras.’

History

In January 2006, startup Accelerated Composites issued a press release detailing an automobile design that would get an estimated 330 mpg at 65 mph (105 km/h).

The Mk-0 technology demonstrator was unveiled at the TED Conference in March 2007.[5]

In August 2007, it was announced that Aptera was one of the first 30 participants in the Automotive X Prize, where they are considered a front-runner in the alternate class.[6]

On April 22, 2008 Aptera announced that Neil Hannemann, who previously led a number of projects including the Dodge Viper, the Ford GT, and the Saleen S7, was hired as SVP of Program Management & Manufacturing.[7]

On June 24, 2008 they announced that Tony Kirton was hired as Chief Marketing Officer. He had previously worked for “five years as Director of Marketing at Audi of America, Vice President of Sales for Volkswagen & Audi in Great Britain, and Chief Marketing Officer on the executive board of BMW’s South African marketing and manufacturing subsidiary,” as well as independent branding and marketing consulting.[8]

On September 3, 2008 Aptera revealed that Steve Fambro hired Paul Wilbur as Aptera’s new CEO and assumed the title of Chief Technical Officer.[9] This led some to speculate that Fambro would be ousted, similar to Martin Eberhard of Tesla Motors and Daniel Riegert of Phoenix Motorcars.[10] Shortly thereafter, Marques McCammon, who previously worked with Wilbur at both American Speciality Cars and Saleen, Inc., also joined Aptera.

Future Models

Aptera 2 Series

Main article: Aptera 2 Series

The Aptera 2 Series will be a two seat, three wheeled passenger vehicle. It is planned to be available in both all-electric (2e) and series hybrid (2h) configurations, at prices ranging from mid-twenty to mid-forty thousand dollars.[11] Aerodynamic optimization using simulations and light-weight composite construction yields a vehicle which consumes only 80 Wh/mi at 55 mph, about half the energy needed to propel the EV1.[12] On the battery electric model, this means a 120 mile range on 10 kWh of electricity, or around 340 mpg price equivalent.[13] On the hybrid vehicle, it leads to projections of 130 mpg on gasoline alone, or 300 mpg if plugged in every 120 miles.

Aptera Motors emphasizes that safety was not traded off for efficiency, citing crash test simulations and more recently component crush testing as indicating excellent survivability–on par with more conventional vehicles. Real-world crash test results are forthcoming, however.

The Aptera 2 Series features roof-mounted solar panels, always-on climate control, and keyless ignition and entry. An in-car touch screen PC serves as entertainment, navigation, and communication system. A rear-view camera supplements side mirrors for visibility.

Project X

In December 2007, Steve Fambro mentioned “Project X,” a four-wheeled five-passenger model for possible future production.[14] In March 2008 he further mentioned “other projects that are certainly more mainstream” in the works.[12] However, Fambro has also stated that “you’ll know it’s an Aptera,” indicating that its look will remain distinctive.[15]

Historical Vehicles

Aptera Motors' vehicle design has undergone several design revisions, summarized here. These vehicles are not intended for production, but are presented for completeness and to avoid confusion with earlier, outdated designs.

Initial design & rendering

Aptera’s introductory press release claimed their design would achieve 330 mpg, and included computer renderings of the proposed vehicle. The body shape was initially estimated to have a drag coefficient of 0.055 to 0.06, and would have sported a 12 horsepower (9 kW) diesel engine and a 24 horsepower (18 kW) permanent magnet DC motor. The design also called for a CVT and ultracapacitors, and sell for under US$20,000.[16][17]

Aptera Mk-0

The Mk-0 technology demonstration vehicle was built to confirm the effectiveness of the design, and in the words of co-founder Mark Anthony, “just to show people that we weren't full of crap.”[18] Due to its higher than expected drag coefficient of 0.11, it only achieved 230 mpg at 230 mpg at 55 mph (89 km/h). The target price was unchanged at “around $20,000.”

Aptera Typ-1 / Aptera Mk-1

In September 2007, the Aptera Motors website was updated with information on the new Aptera design (dubbed the Aptera Typ-1), and the Mk-1 pre-production prototype was unveiled. The Mk-0 prototype was redesigned by Jason Hill, who worked on the Smart Fortwo and Porsche Carrera GT,[19] with a finished interior and new body styling. At this time, Aptera Motors started to take reservations from residents of California for its pilot models — then called the Typ-1e and Typ-1h.[20] A gasoline engine was used, due to the way diesel emissions are calculated.[21]

In February 2008, the Mk-1 was featured in an advertisement for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.[22]

The Aptera Typ-1 design was superseded by the Aptera 2e. Differences include front-wheel drive, the addition of side-view mirrors, a redesigned interior, and consolidating the rear-view cameras into a wide-angle “fin” on the roof.[23][24]

Financing and production

Fambro himself invested around US$100,000 to found Aptera Motors. Idealab invested “about $1 million,” and “more than $1 million” came from Esenjay Explorations CEO Michael Johnson.[25] In July 2008 Google.org invested US$2.75 million,[26] with the total for the Series “C” investments of about US$24 million.[27]

Aptera Motors is moving into a larger facility in Vista, CA, a move in the works since at least March 2008.[12] As of August 2008, Aptera Motors has received around 4000 refundable deposits for the Aptera 2e and Aptera 2h,[28] and currently aims to deliver first all-electric units to customers in early 2009, and the first hybrids in late 2009.[citation needed]||}}

See also

image (between 170-190 pixels)
APTERA

Current

2e ·

Concept

Typ-1 ·


Automotive X Prize


name of founder/s Corporate website independent


References

  1. John, Fuller (2008-01-08). "Howstuffworks "How the Aptera Hybrid Works"". HowStuffWorks. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/aptera-hybrid.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  2. Baker, Billy (2006-09-01). "The Race to 100 MPG". Popular Science. http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2006-09/race-100-mpg. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  3. "Reserve Your Aptera". Aptera Motors. https://aptera.com/reserve.php. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  4. "Aptera’s 3-wheeler looks as if it could soar". San Francisco Chronicle. 2008-04-16. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/16/HOP1103V8S.DTL. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  5. Dunn, Colin (2007-03-15). "The Future is Here: Aptera’s Prototype Unveiled". TreeHugger.com. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/03/the_future_is_h.php. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  6. "Automotive X PRIZE Announces First 30+ Teams in Multimillion Dollar Competition for 100 MPGe Vehicles". Automotive X Prize. 2007-08-01. http://auto.xprize.org/auto/press-release/automotive-x-prize-announces-first-30-teams-in-multimillion-dollar-competition-fo. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  7. "Aptera Motors Taps Neil Hannemann as SVP of Program Management & Manufacturing". Business Wire. 2008-04-23. http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20080423005330/en. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  8. "Tony Kirton Joins Aptera as Chief Marketing Officer". Business Wire. 2008-06-24. http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20080624005504/en. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  9. "Aptera Hires Seasoned Auto Executive Paul Wilbur as Its New President and CEO". Business Wire. 2008-09-03. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080903005523/en. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  10. Bensinger, Ken (2008-09-03). "Aptera’s Management Mystery". LA Times Blog. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/uptospeed/2008/09/aptera-electric.html. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  11. Aptera FAQ's, retrieved 12/30/2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Kates, David (2008-03-04). "YouTube - Aptera CEO Steve Fambro". AlternativeEnergy.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj718vRrYGM. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  13. Assuming 13.49¢/kWh (DOE Aug 2008 California Residential average) and $3.816/US gallon (AAA Daily Average California, Regular, 2008-09-13); calc
  14. Stewart, Ben (2007-12-21). "Aptera’s Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e: Exclusive Video Test Drive". Popular Mechanics. http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4237853.html. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  15. "Aptera officially launches futuristic, super-efficient three wheeler". gizmag. November 23, 2007. http://www.gizmag.com/aptera-typ1-three-wheel-electric-vehicle/8392/. Retrieved 2007-12-22. 
  16. "330 MPG! Aptera Hybrid Promises Amazing Mileage for Less Than $20,000". Edmunds.com. 2006-01-20. Archived from the original on 2006-10-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20061010013619/http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=108992. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  17. "Startup Introduces 330MPG Diesel Hybrid Design". Green Car Congress. 2006-01-18. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/01/startup_introdu.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  18. "An Aptera guided tour: the factory". Aptera Motors. 2008-04-30. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ogy6_KHE4A. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  19. Eric, Hagerman (2007-12-20). "1 Gallon of Gas, 100 Miles – $10 Million: The Race to Build the Supergreen Car". Wired Magazine. http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/16-01/ff_100mpg. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  20. Ackerman, Evan (2007-09-28). "OhGizmo! » Archive » Aptera Electric/Hybrid Car On Pre-Order for $500". OhGizmo!. http://ohgizmo.com/2007/09/28/aptera-electrichybrid-car-on-pre-order-for-500/. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  21. "Frequently Asked Questions". Aptera Motors. http://www.aptera.com/ask.php. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  22. "YouTube - Change Rolls Into Town". Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. 2008-03-06. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI2iCE51R9U. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  23. "Aptera Newsletter 11/19/2008". Aptera Motors. 2008-11-19. http://aptera.com/newsletter111908/. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  24. "Aptera Newsletter 12/19/2008"]. Aptera Motors. 2008-12-19. http://aptera.com/newsletter121908/. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  25. Bradley, Fikes (2007-09-25). "Prototype gets 300 mpg, company says, qualifies for car-pool lane". North County Times. http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/09/26/business/news/7_01_009_25_07.prt. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  26. Sun, Karl (2008-07-23). "Driving plug-in technology with investments of $2.75 million". google.org blog. http://blog.google.org/2008/07/driving-plug-in-technology-with.html. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  27. Dore, Tisha (2008-07-24). "Aptera Moves One Step Closer to Production of Its Ultra-Efficient Typ-1 Vehicle". Business Wire. http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20080724006373/en. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  28. "Known Pre-orders – Apterawiki". Apterawiki. 2008-08-08. http://www.daughtersoftiresias.org/apterawiki/Known_pre-orders. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 

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