Aptera, the electric car that promises 1.600 km of autonomy

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Ten years after a first prototype that had never succeeded, the creators of the Aptera, presented as the "most efficient electric car in the world", comes back with a promise of autonomy very ambitious.

Nearly twelve years ago, Futura introduced you to Aptera Typ-1, an amazing electric car whose goal was to seek maximum energy efficiency through advanced work on aerodynamics. Result, a design in " drop "closer to an airplane than a car, two seats and three wheels for a range of about 200 kilometers. Cited to be marketed in 2008 in its electric version, the Aptera never saw the light of day, the company finally going bankrupt in 2011.

But now the project is reborn from the ashes, carried by its original founders who decided to try again the adventure under the name ofAptera Motors. In the meantime, opinions have changed significantly in favor of zero emissions and the technologies have come a long way. Thus, although it has retained the outline of its design, the new Aptera is even more ambitious than its big sister. She wants to be the first electric car to offer up to 1,600 kilometers of autonomy on a load. Several battery configurations will be offered, between 40 and 100 kWh.

The Aptera will weigh only 800 kg

To reach this level of energy sobriety, the car must be as light as possible. The structure of the Aptera will be made of composites plastic impregnated with resin. Recourse to the3D printing for parts in metal will create structures lighter than what would be achieved with conventional CNC machining. As a result, with its 60 kWh battery, it weighs only 800 kg.

For now, Aptera does not have a working prototype yet. The company is working to raise funds to finalize the design, develop the production engineering and build three prototypes that will be presented to the public next year. Prudente, the young push does not intend to accept pre-orders before having been able to guarantee a delivery date to each buyer. Let's hope that the project has a happier destiny than a decade ago.

In video: less than 1 liter per hundred kilometers for the Aptera

Article of Jean-Luc Goudet, the 20/12/2007

This strange car in the shape of a drop of water offers little volume interior but consumes only 0.78 liter every 100 kilometers in city use.

Result of a multi-year industrial project, the Typ-1, Californian manufacturer Aptera, will be marketed at the end of 2008 in electric version (Typ-1 e) and the following year with an engine hybrid, electric and gasoline (Typ-1 h). The manufacturer had studied a hybrid version with Diesel cycle, more efficient according to him, but the emissions ofhydrocarbons unburned and oxides ofnitrogen (NOx) would have exceeded the standards imposed by the State of California. With its hybrid engine, the Typ-1 h drops to 0.784 liter per hundred kilometers (300 miles per gallon in UK units).

This figure must however be taken with distance because, with the hybrid engine, consumption depends on the route and more precisely the proportion of time during which the car runs on electricity only. If the vehicle accepts the charge of its battery from an external source – which is the case of the Typ 1-h -, the calculation is even more difficult since, at the limit, you can drive without gasoline. When it only draws in its battery, the Typ-1 h and has a range of about 80 kilometers (it is 200 km for Typ-1 e). Beyond that, it will be necessary to burn gasoline … For a long journey, of more than 500 kilometers, the consumption will stabilize, according to Aptera, towards 1.8 liter to the hundred kilometers. The value of 0.78 l / 100 km would correspond to journeys of the order of 200 kilometers, which covers the daily traveling needs of 99% of the inhabitants of the United States according to Aptera.

Pioneer of a genre to come

To achieve such values, the builder had to forget the canons of theautomotive Traditional. The search for maximum aerodynamics has led to a shape more like an airplane than a car (by the way, Aptera, winglessdoes not it mean "without wings"?). The Typ-1 has only three wheels and two front seats. The rear seat exists but you can only install one child, " under three years "Says the builder. So we are far from the family sedan to go on vacation. The car is reserved for daily trips. In the United States, the low capacity and its three wheels have an additional advantage: the Typ-1 can borrow, even with only one person on board, the lanes reserved for car pooling, thus to vehicles carrying several people.

The futuristic Californian machine, sold a little less than 30,000 dollars (about 20,000 euros), will no doubt remain a beautiful object, confined to a marginal market, especially as the federal laws of this country are still little incentive to push to low consumption vehicles. The US Congress has just passed a bill imposing on manufacturers, for 2020, an average consumption for their entire range of cars, 6.72 l / 100 km. Since 1975, the limit was 8.6 l / 100 km. Such consumption remains high, especially since it is an average for the entire range, a manufacturer can offer a large consumer vehicle if he also sells a sober car.

In Europe, manufacturers are already achieving much lower consumption. The bill proposed by Brussels to fine builders selling too greedy vehicles could reduce it further. Typ-1h testifies above all to a movement well started towards the hybrid engines, half-thermal, half-electric. The success of the Toyota Prius, which is in version II, gave ideas to its competitors. Peugeot could offer a 308 hybrid before the Prius III and Renault board a Scenic and motorized. As for Honda, its president, Takeo Fukui, just announced that the hybrids will represent 10% of the sales of his company in 2010. The two years projects could thus see these cars bloom on our roads …

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