Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vehicles - Aptera 2

Vehicles - Aptera 2

Aptera 2 Series

Preproduction Aptera 2e

Manufacturer Aptera Motors, Inc.
Production 2009 (planned)
Assembly United States
Predecessor Aptera Mk-1
Class Subcompact
Body style(s) 2-door three wheeled car
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive layout
Engine(s) 2e: Electric motor
2h: Gasoline generator
Transmission(s) 2e: Gear box 10:1 ratio
2h: Series hybrid layout
Wheelbase 111 in (282 cm)
Length 173 in (439 cm)
Width 91 in (231 cm)
Height 53 in (135 cm)
Curb weight 1,500 lb (680 kg)
Fuel capacity 2e:10-13 kWh Lithium iron phosphate battery
2h:5 gallons
Electric range 2e: 100 mi (160 km)
2h: 60 mi (100 km)
Designer Eleven

Design and fuel consumption:

The Aptera 2 Series is expected to consume 96 watt-hours/mi, making it a low energy vehicle. The Aptera 2 Series has a drag coefficient of 0.15, compared with 0.19 for the record-holding EV1. Its atypical shape is a result of extensive optimization in a virtual wind tunnel. It uses recessed windshield wipers and low rolling resistance tires. The Mk-1 prototype used “Eyes-Forward” cameras exclusively instead of high-drag mirrors, but this concept appears to have been abandoned, possibly due to the fact that California Vehicle Code mandates having at least one outside mirror; September 2008 Aptera newsletter showed a rendering of the Aptera 2e with a conventional driver-side rear-view mirror and no driver-side camera. Fambro has stated that the system was simplified to a single camera mounted near the top of the vehicle.

The body design is similar to the human-powered ‘Pegasus’ and ‘Fusion’ vehicles and the MIT Aztec, but the direct inspiration was the Volkswagen 1-litre car.

The Aptera 2 Series is a three-wheeled vehicle. On the Mk-1 prototype, the two front wheels steer, and the rear wheel is belt-driven by the electric motor. However, the latest design renderings appear to feature front-wheel driveshafts and CV boots.
Aptera's December newsletter confirmed the shift to front-wheel drive.

Aptera Motors uses composites in its construction, both to reduce weight and allow the unconventional body shape. This would normally be prohibitively expensive, but their Panelized Automated Composite Construction (PAC2) process fully automates the manufacture of the composite body.[citation needed]

The battery will also be paired with supercapacitors for acceleration and braking.

Plug-in Series Hybrid:

An early Aptera 2h design used a “small, water-cooled EFI Gasoline engine with closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter,” coupled with a 12 kW generator/starter. With a tank capacity of “up to five gallons,” the Aptera 2h would have a claimed range of 600 to 700 mi (970 to 1,130 km), compared to the 120 miles (190 km) range of the Aptera 2e. The 2h will be a series hybrid: the engine would not be connected to the drivetrain; instead, it would be used to recharge the batteries.

As with any plug-in hybrid, fuel economy of the Aptera 2h depends on trip length and battery charge. For trips of less than about 50 miles (80 km) after a full charge the engine may not turn on at all, resulting in approximately the same energy consumption as the pure electric model: 96 watt-hours/mi. If on the other hand the car was never plugged in, the Aptera 2h would get 130 miles per US gallon (1.8 l/100 km). Aptera Motors quotes 300 miles per US gallon (0.8 l/100 km), which applies to a 120 mile trip after a full charge. They justify this by stating that 99% of Americans drive less than 120 miles daily.


Because the Aptera 2 Series has only three wheels, most states in the US classify the vehicle as a motorcycle. This means that safety and emissions tests are not mandatory, as they are for automobiles.

Despite this, Aptera Motors has emphasized that safety has a high design priority. Aptera Motors has performed simulated crash tests using ABAQUS FEA software, crush testing on structural components, and is planning real-world crash tests before production. The Aptera 2e features a Formula One-inspired passenger safety cell and boxed sandwich foam core composite structures. Frontal crumple distance is 45 inches (114 cm), large for a vehicle of its size. As the body is above most car’s bumpers, a colliding vehicle’s bumper will travel under the body, deflecting the energy. Despite its height, the placement of the heavy batteries lowers the center-of-mass of the Aptera 2 Series, a design similar to the highly stable Commuter Cars Tango. Driver and passenger airbag-in-seatbelts are also provided.

Accessories and interior:

The release model, announced in September 2007, seats 2 adults with a child seat optionally between them, and has 15.9 cubic feet (450 L) of cargo capacity, enough for a couple of surfboards. It will use LED running and interior lights to reduce power. A solar panel mounted on the roof runs the heat pump during the day. This keeps the interior comfortable and reduces the size of the heat pump needed. The seats can be heated or cooled by forced air, both for comfort and efficiency reasons. The only comfort downside is that the rear wheel transmits every bump. While absent on current prototypes, the production Aptera 2e will have windows that open.

Radio, CD/DVD/MP3 player, and GPS navigation are integrated into an in-console touch screen StreetDeck-based carputer, but the climate control uses physical dials. It will also have RFID-based keyless ignition and entry and scarab doors.

To reduce the ecological footprint of construction, EcoSpun recycled materials and organic dyes will be used for the seats and flooring, and the dashboard and the door panels are free of heavy metals and plasticizers.

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