Aptera-Wingless Flight

San Diego is an urban paradise. Temperatures are always comfortable, the sun shines most days of the year, and locals can spend any day enjoying their time at beaches, museums, zoos, stadiums or any number of shows that occur there. The San Diego Convention center is always booked with events ranging from tech conferences to bridal bazaars and the world renowned International Comic Convention.

Traffic can get out of hand in such a popular place, and paradise isn’t so pretty when seen from the inside of your car in 90 degree weather. The answer to this dilemna lies with smaller electric vehicles that allow drivers to safely speed by traffic with the use of the carpool lane.


Just north of San Diego, sits Aptera, a small company of 15 engineers and fabricators who have produced a sleek, 3 wheel hybrid vehicle of the future. CEO Steve Fambro dreamt up the idea of a safe, fuel-efficient vehicle 5 years ago, when he himself had to deal with the San Diego traffic. His futuristic vehicle design is fundamentally based on aerodynamics (hence the look of a small plane) and environmentally friendly engineering.
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The amazingly futuristic Aptera Typ-1. When will we see these on the roads?
(Photo: Aptera)

According to Aptera, “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.”

$30,000 is the expected price-tag for one of these vehicles, which makes them relatively affordable. This electric car is no weakling either: the production model went from 0-60 in under 10 seconds and reached speeds of 85mph without any problems. This little car also has a range of around 150miles between charges, which is plenty for the average daily commute. Solar panels on the roof provide added energy to run to the air-conditioning that keeps the vehicle at a comfortable temperature, even when it is just sitting in a parking lot. The only bad news is that the cars will only be available in California at first

The Aptera is technically classified as a motorcycle, but is a much safer option. The company made an extra effort to exceed the minimum safety requirements, especially because of the publics’ attitude towards motorcycle dangers: the roof can withstand the pressure from rolling over, the doors exceed the necessary strength requirements, the car boasts airbag in seatbelt technology and the frame is designed to take a large impact and redirect the energy around the passenger and driver.

Aptera means “wingless flight” in Greek, and even if the owners of the sleek, white car don’t feel like they are flying, pedestrians will eye the Aptera like something that just arrived from outer space.


10 Responses to “Aptera-Wingless Flight”
  1. Jay Beswick says:

    KUDOS to Aptera I am #2505 on their list, having placed my $500. deposit! Its 100% refundable, so your only risk is the 2% interest you might be losing. How much are you willing to spend to bring about changes in the auto industry? Best $10. I ever spent!

  2. Mark says:

    I put down my $500 in May for this wonderful electric vehicle. With my daily commute in San Diego of 55 miles, I will be able to go to work and back for about $1.00 in electricity! After braving $80 fill-ups 5 times a month this year in my pickup, I will smile every day going to work and back. After hours, I expect my wife and son to use the Aptera and offset at least another 5,000 miles on my wife’s car. Just plug it in tonight and drive it tomorrow. I have only driven my truck over 120 miles around town maybe two days in the past year, so this will replace my 14.5 mpg gas hog!

  3. Dick Dyszel says:

    I’m fascinated by this vehicle and would be interested in it when it leaves California, but it will have to grow windshield wipers for the rest of the coutry where it does rain….and even snow.

  4. garygid says:

    Some think it is “ugly”, and others think it is “splendid” looking.
    I thought “Wow” when I first saw it in March 2008. Within a week, I was convinced that the Aptera people were real, doing a good job, and were engineering for safety, I Reserved.

    In fact, my wife and I have Reserved both an All-Electric and a Series-Hybrid model, affectionately called the “e” and the “h”. I expect to get the “e” sometime around July 2009, the “h” maybe 9 or 10 months later. Over 1600 “e” and 2500 “h” vehicles have been put on Reservation as of Oct. 2008.

    There is an Aptera web site with some more information, and an (unofficial) ApteraForum site with LOTS of conjecture about what will actually make it into production (which should start with a few vehicles in December 2008). There are many days of reading available at the ApteraForum site.

    It has hidden windshield wipers, but is only offered in CA to better get the Aptera Service System working properly. Orders from the San Diego area will be filled first, we are told.

    It is said that the “e” should get about 120 miles on a charge, and the “h” should get 130 mpg after the initial charge on the battery is “used up”. For short trips (maybe 60 miles) starting with a full battery, it is expected that the “h” will not even need to use any gasoline at all. Thus, for a trip of maybe 100 miles, it could be said that one might get around 300 mpg.

    Cheers, Gary

  5. I have a dream says:

    I have a dream that one day they will expand to other states… like washington!

    Oh and change the color of their interior!

    (or sell the basic shell like a coach company circa 1910 and let us contract our own interiors)

  6. Spec9 says:

    It has a windshield wiper . . . it is just tucked under a pocket in front of the windshield so it does not cause drag when not being used. Clever, eh?

  7. Bryce says:

    As a Prius owner in Florida, I’m sad that we will probably have to wait years to get one. It’s such a cool idea, I always wondered why cars were so boxy. Lets do all we can to help this company along… and for goodness sakes open up a Tampa dealership.

  8. Hugh says:

    >”I always wondered why cars were so boxy.”

    Cars are boxy because oil companies like them that way – it uses more of what they would like to sell. Car companies like them boxy because boxy cars produce more drag which in turn burns more hydrocarbons which in turn causes more wear which in turn means more money spent at the dealerships getting things fixed. I truly hope the “Detroit Big 3″ automakers go bankrupt. They’ve been screwing the public for a long, long time. They could have made things a lot better but refused to do so all in the name of sucking a few more dollars out of us. Payback is a bitch.

  9. meAgain says:

    I am # 29 on the e-list. I wish I was on the h-list too but will be satisfied with my electric. I was hoping to get it this year but looks like they will not sell any until they have all the bugs worked out which is good planning. This is a sound company with a great car. Reserve one now.

  10. DJ says:

    Yes, quite a vehicle!!! I almost put money down on it in March but I didn’t have a job. It’s American ingenuity in action and this is what FREE ENTERPRISE can do! The Big Three can go down the tubes because they don’t realize that it is a Global Market. REAL and Good competition and I think the American People are always ready for some type of change and still have Quality. Toyota and Honda has proved that with India and China introducing their Cars in the States soon.

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