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June 4th, 2012

Aptera Comes Back from The Dead

One of the more intriguing and aesthetic car designs in recent years was the Aptera 2e delivered by the fledgling California based electric car company, Aptera. Seeming to bear more in common with a helicopter or small aircraft, its design stands out from the pack and caused many to take notice. After what seemed to be an endless series of delays, difficulties with financing, and the departure of some key members of the company, a chapter 7 bankruptcy resulted on December 7 of 2011. An innovative piece of design and engineering may well have been relegated to “could have been” without ever reaching manufacturing stage.

Enter a Chinese investor in consortium with Jonway Group and a group of American investors who have a minority stake and the newly named Aptera USA is now back in the game. The newly re-branded company has now announced its intention to bring the Aptera 2e to market by the first quarter of 2013. The series of setbacks, both design and engineering related, had the effect of creating skepticism that the vehicle would ever reach the light of day now seem to have finally been resolved.

The 2e in itself has what may be the most distinctive and futuristic appearance of any of the new breed of electrics that have recently been coming to market. The two seater’s unique hyper aerodynamic design combined with the use of composite materials make for an extremely light curb weight of 1,800 lbs. In addition the drag co-efficient is rated at 0.15 which will make it the most aerodynamic car on the street. The net result is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles yet achieving the equivalent of 200 mpg. The battery pack will be a 20 kWh lithium iron phosphate supplied by A123 Systems and the motor 82kWh supplied by Remy with an anticipated range will be 120 miles between charges. The vehicle has three wheels which caused it to be classified as a motorcycle and has been cited as the main reason for Aptera not being granted approval for a department of energy loan, which may have hastened the demise of the first incarnation of the company.

The price of the vehicle is expected to be somewhere in the 25,000 to 30,000 range. The composite body chassis will be manufactured in China which will in turn be shipped to the for final assembly of the batteries and electric drive train which will happen at the Santa Rosa assembly plant. Aptera will also open what they refer to as a cyber showroom at their 30,000 foot Santa Rosa facility. The company was initially located in Carlsbad about 45 minutes north of San Diego but will now be based in Santa Rosa over an hour north of San Francisco. They believe they can deliver 25,000 vehicles by 2013. As of the writing of this article the molds to manufacture the Aptera 2e frame have been sent to China and the first phase of manufacturing is expected to start later this year.

With the release of the Ford Focus Electric and the Coda this spring as well as the announced (early) June 22nd roll out of the Tesla Model S 2012, things are shaping up to be a positive and optimistic year for proponents and enthusiasts of electric cars. We are pleased to see Aptera’s design and engineering efforts of the past several years will likely be realized by an actual production car in early 2013 and look forward to its arrival.

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Article Written By: David J. Mazovick


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Design Engine Industrial Design Training Pro Engineer
 
 

 

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