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Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by TEG, Oct 11, 2007.
Steve Fambro interview
Great video and write up now on Popular Mechanics:
Aptera Electric Typ-1 e - Video Test Drive - First Look Details and Slideshow - 300 MPG - Popular Mechanics
There were a few items in the article that I hadn't read before that struck me as interesting about this vehicle.
The one that turned my head was with the number of units sold. I already knew that 580+ Californians had plunked down $500 pre-orders. But according to Steve Fambro, the company need only sell 300 cars to go into the black. Hello?! They'll be turning a profit before they finish delivering the advance sales?
It seems to me they could drop the price a little. That would boost interest and they'd still get in the black by the end of the first manufacturing year.
A surprising thing to me was that the production car will have windows that can roll down. I don't see how that's going to work, unless they only roll down like 1/3 of the way, maybe.
Is it even a good idea for this car? I mean. . . Driving with the windows down would play hell with all their carefully designed aerodynamics, plus you're adding the mass of the window motors and mechanisms, plus the car has a solar-powered ventilation system already (so you won't need to crack a window when parked in the sun). . .
I guess enough people asked for it that they felt it was necessary. Surprises me too.
I have to use my ID badge to get through the gate at work in the morning and wondered how I'd do it on a rainy day without windows that roll down. The same for toll booths and parking garages. Then I realized that the doors provide a degree of cover and don't extend past the wheels, so that would work just fine for me. Even better than windows that roll down, actually, because the location of the wheels mean it is a long reach from the driver's position to the carry-out window and I'd have to open the door anyway.
Last week I followed a guy in the drive-through lane at a restaurant. His window must have been broken, because he opened his door to pay and receive his food. Quite awkward.
So yes, the open-able window option is hard to live without.
It looks like a more real world design than the Meyer's NMG 3-wheeler. It has fresh styling and appears to be have good production quality. It reminds me of a wingless Cessna or Lear jet. I particularly like the use of solar cells, rear cameras, and heat pump/thermoelectrics. I don't see how they be profitable at for $30k but hat's off to them for offering yet another all-electric alternative...
In a conventional car, yes.
But look at the Aptera with the doors open and note the position of the wheels. The door was designed to swing up and out of the way. Because the wheels extend out from the body of the vehicle 16 inches, you'd have to hang way out of the window to reach an ATM machine or grab the pneumatic tube at the bank. The shape of the car makes roll-down windows fairly useless for drive through anything. The doors, on the other hand, open with minimum obstruction.
All of which makes me wonder, as Tony does, why they'd add the expense, complication, weight, and possible drag of roll down windows. Or will they? PopSci says "windows that roll down", but that was not a quote. The Aptera FAQ says only "Yes the windows will open". Perhaps windows that 'open' are not the same as windows that 'roll down'. We shall see.
Since this is the Tesla Motors Club, I'm going to wonder out loud about some Aptera technology that Tesla might want to license - PAC2.
Once upon a time, Aptera Motors was Accelerated Composites. They had developed a composite material process called Panelized Automated Composite Construction (PAC2), which is what makes the Aptera so strong and light weight. From what I understand, it is much less expensive and can be scaled up in production rates better than conventional carbon fiber methods.
Sounds like something the WhiteStar can use, perhaps? And I don't think the guys over at Aptera Motors / IdeaLab would say no to another revenue stream.
I Like the Aptera
The Aptera is really fascinating to me. If I wasn't already committed to the Tesla Roadster (and the promise of sports car performance!), and if the electric range was longer, and if the Aptera was going to be available in Texas anytime soon. . . Hmm, that's a lot of ifs. But my point is, it's an attractive vehicle.
I have a Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged -- published in 1934. It has two pages of photos showing different kinds of automobiles: Roadster, Electric Brougham(!), Runabout, Coupe, Sedan, Touring Car, etc. . . And of course they all look totally archaic by today's standards.
I was just looking at the Aptera and thinking, many of today's cars -- especially SUVs -- look just as archaic by the side of it. This is the 21st Century car, arriving just a few years late.
Another thought I had when looking at it. . . Is it manufactured like a small plane? Would it make sense for small plane makers to get into the car business, or for an electric car company to partner with an aircraft company?
Most small airplane companies have good knowledge of how to build lightweight, aerodynamic vehicles, which might come in handy for an EV manufacturer. But I think they all lack any idea of how to make vehicles that would pass safety standards. Small planes are delicately constructed, and crack up in just about any collision -- like, say, in a collision with a table.
I find myself becoming more of a fan of the Aptera typ1e as times passes and more about it is revealed. The first time I saw it I thought it a bit odd but it's really grown on me. I have to say, I think I would rather have it than the Tesla Roadster. The Roadster is hawter and has much better range and performance but I find the Aptera to be a very elegant (simple) solution.
Unfortunately, at present, I can't afford either.
This has been bugging me. Specifically, PopMech says the windows will roll down, but the Aptera FAQ says only that they will open. An earlier FAQ said that they were working through some design options, but gave no indication of what they might be. I can't imagine that they'd promote 300 MPG, and then give you the ability to raise the drag exponentially.
So I sent them a comment asking them to clarify what 'windows that open' really means and what the purpose would be. We'll see if they respond.
Anyone know of a real person that actually put a down payment on one of these? Better yet, someone willing to start apteramotorsclub.com? I'm just curious about the reality of all those out there that would actually place the payment as opposed to those that say "I will..."
I see some names I recognize over at ApteraForum.com - Aptera Car Forum -
But the Yahoo group, ApterasSuperMPGElectricTyp-1e : & 1h seems more active and has a database of members who put in a deposit. There are only four so far, but that database assumes that (a) you are a member of the Yahoo group, and (b) you don't mind listing yourself as a future owner.
I saw it in a commercial the other day. The whole spot had glimpses of the car and a big reveal at the end. I believe it was the poster-boy for SCE or someone else that was trying to take credit for energy saving.
Thinking back, It might have been for Constellation Energy. They have been saturating my news channels.
But I must say those pictures are very nice. Somehow I think they make the Aptera look more normal in a good way. They definately tickle my must have gene Of course I kind of like the idea of a really spacey EV, a bit like the Prius effect to the n-th degree. I only don't like the Apteras snow capabilities, as in none Looking outside the last 3 hours just saw about 3 inches of snow in late march...
Well someone just sent it to me. Glory be:
Plugs and Cars
It was Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.
Plugs and cars? *ahem
This post on ABG has the Touchstone ad plus an interview with Steve Fambro giving away some upcoming plans. Bonus video of interview with Aptera designer.