Contributed by: green-la.com
Five years ago, Aptera's founder Steve Fambro endeavored to design and build a passenger vehicle that was safe, comfortable, and more fuel-efficient than anything ever produced. This aspiration, combined with his background in engineering, led him to an intensive study of aerodynamics, and composite aircraft construction. He hypothesized that a low-drag, aerodynamic body shape could be achieved without sacrificing comfort, drivability or safety.
What emerged, after much designing, conceptualizing, and constructing, was a prototype two-seat, three-wheeled vehicle. This first operating prototype achieved a stunning 230 miles per gallon, Building on this success, Steve expanded his Aptera team and created the Aptera Typ-1, which has been re-designed, re-engineered, and refined into a production ready vehicle. We are excited to announce that the Aptera Typ-1 is now available for reservations.
Q&A about the safety and features of the car.
How safe is the Aptera? What about the body strength?
With safety being our top priority, we have raised our standard beyond the requirements of a typical passenger car. Nothing is normal or standard for the Aptera so why should we stick to "normal" safety standards? For example, the Typ-1 roof is designed to EXCEED rollover strength requirements spelled out in FMVSS(Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) 216 for passenger cars. The doors also far EXCEED mandated strength requirements for passenger cars as does our 45" frontal impact deflection and crumple zone. We decided not just to meet many of the requirements for passenger cars, but we chose to exceed them. Industry safety standards are very different for passenger cars and motorcycles; we are choosing to go well beyond the industry safety standard for passenger cars so Aptera drivers can feel safe in any driving situation.
What are some of the safety features unique to the Aptera?
The Aptera's composite safety cage is similar to Formula-1 cars. Our "Eyes Forward" vision system allows for 180 degree rear sight. There is a display panel in the driver's field of view which enhances situational awareness allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. The over-sized LED turn indicators located on the rear and side of the vehicle are easy for other drivers to see, adding greatly to the night and day visibility of the Aptera.
How stable is the Aptera? Can the Aptera easily roll-over?
Unlike many 3-wheel vehicle designs that were abandoned in the 80's due to their instability the Aptera has two wheels in the front and a single rear wheel eliminating any tendency to roll-over. The Aptera also features traction control, a low center of gravity and a wide track width which makes for a very stable platform that increases cornering stability without sacrificing performance.
Will it be possible to turn off the airbag on the passenger side when you have a child on board?
Yes, this will be standard on all Aptera's.
What if an object hits the underside of the vehicle, will I be safe?
The Aptera's monocoque construction or structural skin provides 360 degree protection for the occupants. Monocoque construction was fist widely used in the aircraft industry, starting in the 1930's.
Since the Aptera is classified as a motorcycle, do you have to wear a helmet or get an endorsement on my license?
You are not required to wear a helmet to drive the Aptera, nor is an endorsement on your drivers license required. Anything in the state of CA with three wheels does not require a motorcycle license and enclosed vehicles with three wheels do not require the use of a helmet. All this and you also get to drive in the HOV lanes!
How fast will the Aptera go?
At this time we are not able to post hard numbers on performance, although top speed for the production model will exceed 85 mph, going from 0-60 in under 10 seconds.
Can the Aptera be ordered without the rear camera and GPS?
We are considering what features will be standard equipment, and what will be a value-added option.
How long will it take to charge the Aptera?
This depends on the amount of battery discharge but a typical time would be 2 to 4 hours.
How much will it cost for an overnight charge?
Looking at typical California electricity rates the cost should be in the $1 to $2 range for an overnight charge.
Will you be able to accommodate tall drivers?
The Aptera will comfortably fit someone that is 6'1" and with minor seat pad adjustments you can be as tall as 6'5" and drive comfortably.
What is the turning radius?
The Aptera's turning radius will be similar to most small production cars.
What will be the battery life and cost replacement?
This depends largely on usage and if you have an "All Electric" or an "Electric Plug-in Hybrid" version of the Aptera. We will share these exact numbers when they become available closer to the start of Aptera production.
What is the seating and cargo space?
The Aptera has "two plus one" seating allowing plenty of room for driver and passenger while an infant seat (newborn to age three) can be located in the middle behind the front seating. There is enough storage space to fit 15 bags of groceries, two full-size golf club bags or even a couple of seven foot surf boards.
Does the Aptera fit into a parking space?
Yes, the Aptera fits in a standard parking space.
Where are the windshield wipers?
The windshield wipers are hidden and located at the base of the windshield to maintain efficient air flow over the Aptera's body.
Will you be able to get other colors?
Currently white is the only color that will initially be made available on the Aptera. White is a very effective color for keeping your Aptera cool in the summer and it makes the vehicle very identifiable at night which is an added safety feature. After initial production has begun we will look at different colors and possibly vinyl graphics to accessorize your Aptera.
Why aren't you using a diesel engine in the hybrid?
Due to the way diesel emissions are calculated (emissions per gallon instead of emissions per mile); it's proven impossible for us to find a suitable small Diesel engine that passes California emissions. That's why we're using a very clean, efficient, and small gasoline engine that will make the Aptera emissions friendly.
Can I change my vehicle from an electric to hybrid or vice versa?
In the coming months, the MyAptera.com owners' page will be made available. On this page, you will be able to adjust any option including hybrid/electric. Nothing is final until you receive your purchase agreement about a month prior to obtaining your vehicle.
How much will the Aptera cost?
The approximate price for the all electric version is $26,900 and the plug-in hybrid $29,900. These prices are subject to change any time before we begin production.
Why are you selling the Aptera only in California?
There are many reasons, including our dedication to seamless customer service. We will not have maintenance centers set up in other states until the expansion of our distribution as well state regulatory issues worked out. We are working hard to make the Aptera available to everyone, but in order for that to happen we need to solve any future contingencies on a regional level.
When are you starting production?
Our goal is to begin production in late 2008
Can I charge my cell phone?
We will have a standard 12v outlet but are also considering a USB 2.0 jack for the production model, which can be used to charge your cell phone as well.
Are there cup holders?
Yes there are.
Will opening windows be available?
Yes the windows will open.
Is there a stereo system?
Yes, there may be several options for infotainment in the production model.
Where will the license plates go?
The rear center is designed for a back license plate. Since the Aptera is classified as an enclosed motorcycle a front plate is not required.
Can we come and take a tour of the facility?
We are in the process of setting up our production facility. Once operations are in place, the public will be able to tour the facility. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate this request at this time. Keep checking the web site and newsletter for updates on tours.
Can I take the Aptera for a test drive?
Production of the Aptera is slated for late 2008. Once we have begun production, test driving the Aptera will be possible.
Are there plans for a 4-seat model of any kind in the foreseeable future at even lower MPG ratings?
Once Aptera has finalized the initial production version of the typ-1 we will continue to revolutionize the transportation industry in other areas.
Will you be working to register the Aptera for tax breaks similar to what hybrid vehicles from major manufacturers receive on individual income taxes?
These Tax breaks are made available to incentives customers to buy more efficient automobiles. Because the Aptera is a vehicle and not an automobile these Tax incentives are not applicable. We will be working with agencies to offer these programs in the future but nothing is in place as of yet.
Will I be able to use the HOV lane?
Yes, the Aptera is a fuel efficient vehicle with three wheels that will be accepted in the HOV lanes of California.
How will it work in the snow and cold climates, I live in the mountains in CA?
The Aptera will initially be designed for common lower altitude conditions in California. However, extensive testing for winter conditions is planned for the future.
Will you be coming to Europe and other countries?
Of course, we would like to expand our operations to other countries in need of our technology as soon as possible but for now we are limiting ourselves to the California market. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for up to date information regarding this issue.
Will I be able to register and insure my Aptera?
Aptera is a registered vehicle manufacturer and you will have no problem registering your Aptera. But because we're a new manufacturer, Aptera is not yet shown in all insurance databases. We will work with insurers in all 50 states to make sure the Aptera is listed before major production begins. As time permits, we'll update our Aptera family members on this progress. But in the interim, I suggest you hold fast: You will be able to easily register and insure your Aptera when the first vehicles are delivered.
What about towing aerodynamic trailer?
The Aptera was not designed to tow. It's our aerodynamic shape and low weight that allows the economy and efficiency we are offering.
Why is the Aptera so noisy on the YouTube videos?
The vehicle in the YouTube video is an early prototype designed to test the vehicle's basic performance and aerodynamics. The production Aptera will not have this issue.
What happens when an 18-wheeler passes the Aptera?
The aerodynamic shape allows air to slip seamlessly over the vehicle body, such that there is no effect when a large vehicle passes by.
Do you offer financing or a warranty?
The details of our financing and warranty are still being defined. We will have more information on these subjects as we near full production.
Are you looking for dealers or will there be franchise opportunities?
Not at this time.
Are you publicly traded and may I buy stock?
We are a private company and not publicly traded.
What does "Aptera" mean?
Aptera is Greek for "wingless flight".
Learn more at: Aptera.com
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