Alternative Vehicles: The Aptera Typ-1 is so much a work-in-progress that it lacks a final retail price, a list of features, and a salesforce. However, it may soon become one of the most popular EVs on the roadways. At first glance, the Aptera Typ-1 looks more like an aircraft with retractable wings than a vehicle that is currently being registered with DMV bureaus across America. With its three-wheel configuration, the Typ-1 is legally a motorcycle. The goal of Steve Fambro, the founder of Aptera Motors, is to produce a vehicle that is safe, comfortable, and the most fuel-efficient ever.
The fuel-efficiency stats on the first prototype plug-in hybrid charged up some interest, as it got 230 miles per gallon. The Typ-1 averages about 130 miles per gallon of fuel consumption when driven at normal highway speeds.
The Aptera has three wheels, three seats, and two doors. There are two front seats and one rear seat. The scissor doors, which are there more for aerodynamic than cosmetic issues, open straight up. Fifteen bags of groceries or two full golf bags can be stored and transported. The EV is built on a frame of steel and aluminum. Composites used in the construction of aircraft are used to ensure safety and maximize aerodynamics. The automobile has side-impact beams, airbags, and rollover protection. A Formula-1 styled cocoon that is capable of withstanding and redirecting impact from all direction surrounds occupants in the cabin.
The Aptera Typ-1 will be available in both a hybrid and an all-electric model. The Typ-1 can be driven up to 120 miles on a full charge, and takes a few hours to recharge the battery. Windows cannot be open on the car, because the manufacturer is still determining which type of window would be most efficient. However, the vehicle comes with an air conditioner and a micro-climate-flow control system. The control system works autonomously on an as-needed basis.
October 2008 is the delivery date, and purchase reservations are being taken now on the company's Web site. If you are seeking harmony with the environment and a lot of attention from onlookers while driving, an Aptera may soon be plugged into a 110-volt outlet in your garage.