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Aptera Motors, formerly Accelerated Composites,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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,<ref name = "PopSci1">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> though they are accepting pre-orders from California residents.<ref name="ApteraReserve">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> and is correctly pluralized ‘Apteras.’


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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> This led some to speculate that Fambro would be ousted, similar to Martin Eberhard of Tesla Motors and Daniel Riegert of Phoenix Motorcars.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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.<ref>Aptera FAQ's, retrieved 12/30/2008</ref> 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.<ref name="Youtube1" /> On the battery electric model, this means a 120 mile range on 10 kWh of electricity, or around 340 mpg price equivalent.<ref>Assuming 13.49¢/kWh (DOE Aug 2008 California Residential average) and $3.816/US gallon (AAA Daily Average California, Regular, 2008-09-13); calc</ref> 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.<ref name = "PopMech2">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In March 2008 he further mentioned “other projects that are certainly more mainstream” in the works.<ref name = "Youtube1">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> However, Fambro has also stated that “you’ll know it’s an Aptera,” indicating that its look will remain distinctive.<ref name="gizmag">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.”<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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,<ref name="Wired">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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 caled the Typ-1e and Typ-1h.<ref name="ohgizmo">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> A gasoline engine was used, due to the way diesel emissions are calculated.<ref name="ApteraFAQ">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In February 2008, the Mk-1 was featured in an advertisement for Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.<ref name = "Touchstone"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref>

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.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

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.<ref name = "nctimes">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In July 2008 invested US$2.75 million,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> with the total for the Series “C” investments of about US$24 million.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Aptera Motors is moving into a larger facility in Vista, CA, a move in the works since at least March 2008.<ref name="Youtube1" /> As of August 2008, Aptera Motors has received around 4000 refundable deposits for the Aptera 2e and Aptera 2h,<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> 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)


2e ·


Typ-1 ·

Automotive X Prize

name of founder/s Corporate website independent

External Links