Nearly ten years ago, the California-based company Aptera Motors tried building the world’s most energy-efficient three-wheeled electric vehicle. Featured with an airplane fuselage-shaped body, the Aptera promised 160 kilometers (100 miles) of range for just a few pennies worth of electricity. But in December 2011, the company collapsed into liquidation, and its founders moved on to other ventures.
Now, they are back again with this incredibly aerodynamic, insanely efficient and wild-looking electric car off the ground and preparing to launch Aptera once more. The company is raising funds for the new model and hopes to launch it in 2022.
The approach is the same as before. New two-seat three-wheeler will boast a super-lightweight, strong composite body and excellent aerodynamics drawing on ideas from the aerospace world.
The upcoming Aptera, the company claims, will be the world’s first electric car with 1,600 km (1,000 miles) of range using its biggest battery option – a 100-kWh pack. The car will be able to hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and that a performance version will come in at three seconds flat.
It will be equipped with the range of battery capacities, from 40 to 100 kWh. Also, the car is projected to use less than 100 Wh per mile. The battery remains located on the cabin floor, tilted up at its back end as the cabin tapers.
The lower-spec Aptera is planned with a 40-kWh battery that will likely go beyond 400 m (644 km), as it will be lighter than 100-kW capacity. The 60-kWh Aptera will weigh about 800 kg (1,800 pounds), the team said in an interview with the technology publication IEEE Spectrum.
The team expects to use three 50-kilowatt (67-hp) hub motors to power each wheel of the new Aptera. Total power of 150 kilowatts in a car means that acceleration is limited solely by the adhesion of the tires. This will also make it pretty quick when it wants to be, and the aerodynamics will be better than ever, thanks to advances in computational modeling.
The new Aptera has launched a crowd-funding campaign (on WeFunder) with an initial goal of $2.5 million. The amount, if raised successfully, will be enough to build three prototype vehicles for testing by the end of the year, with a final design to be revealed to the public sometime during 2020.
The company plans to produce 10,000 units per year starting in 2022, with an initial target price between $34,000 and $59,000 – depending, of course, on finding a lot more cash.