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Aptera EV opts for front-wheel drive

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December 28, 2008

The Aptera 2e

The Aptera 2e

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December 29, 2008 The already unmistakable Aptera 2e three-wheeler is continuing to evolve as it approaches its promised 2009 release with the latest development being the introduction of front-wheel drive to replace the original belt-driven rear wheel set-up. Front-wheel drive will now be used in all production vehicles with the company citing improved traction, stability and greater efficiency at high-speed as the key reasons for making the switch.

The change to front-wheel drive will also give the Aptera-2e (which was previously known as the Typ-1 before a branding change back in November) increased durability, better noise insulation and more room for cargo over the previous configuration.

"The initial emphasis at Aptera was on space efficiency, but our list of objectives continues to expand," says chief engineer Tom Reichenbach. "You can ask wheels to do more with front-wheel drive, including better braking, steering and power application to the wheels. We've essentially maintained the same styling while making improvements to the vehicle, which is all part of the process of providing maximum efficiency."

Another recent change to the design of the all-electric two-seater is the revised 'All-Vision' System which adds two conventional, aerodynamic side-view mirrors and merges the three body-mounted cameras into a single, roof-mounted "fin" style camera linked to a single in-cockpit screen.

With a focus on safety as well as efficiency, the 2e will reach the market with standard features such as driver and passenger airbags, an energy absorbing and impact deflecting passenger Safety Cell, LED lighting inside and out, a RFID Key Fob, plus Solar Assisted Climate Control powered by a roof mounted panel. GPS navigation and a CD/MP3/DVD player will be optional.

The company is taking refundable $500 deposits for the all-electric 2e which is slated for release in 2009 and hopes to have 100,000 Apteras on the road by 2015.

The all-electric model will deliver 100 miles per charge (which takes 8 hours via a standard 110v outlet) and a second plug-in hybrid version (now known as the Aptera-2h) promises an incredible 300 mpg when it's released in 2010.

See our previous coverage or visit the company's revamped website for further info.

Noel McKeegan

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
5 Comments

it's not clear how a front wheel drivetrain can be more aerodinamic than a rear wheel mounted one as it's completely hidden inside the vehicle and will not interfere with steering .

my guess is that the car was too light on the front wheels , causing problems at highway speeds - lift and instability .

the mirrors are against the concept of the trike too .

a revoutionary car killed by cheap patching of problems :(

dexter
29th December, 2008 @ 10:53 am PST

Thank you Dexter for that eloquent assessment of the Aptera 2e.

The article explains why the car is now FWD, you don't have to guess.

I'm sure that many people who put down deposits will be angrily demanding their money back now that the car has mirrors.

Ok, enough sarcasm.

I just wish I lived in Southern California, for now the 2e is the best hope for a true electric car to make it to the mass market. While GM struggles with its Volt and the rest (Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc) just tag along so as not to look like they don't care, a little company trumps them all with a fantastic piece of engineering.

I just hope the company can make it. Hopefully there are enough thinking people in the US to make up for all the Dexters.

Neil
3rd January, 2009 @ 08:44 am PST

California law requires a motorcycle to have at least one rear-view mirror. Aptera is registered in California as a motorcycle. Additionally, the two side cameras had a rather large blind spot directly in front of the camera (just behind the door on either side.) Cost and complexity is reduced as well, since they went from 3 camera screens to just one on the dash. It seems pointless to keep the side-view cameras if the mirrors (or, at least one mirror) are required by law.

You will notice that the article says nothing about the aerodynamics of FWD. The regenerative braking is more positive with FWD than with the single rear-wheel drive; hence, greater efficiency.

There are over 4,000 $500 deposits put in escrow for the 2e (electric) and 2h (serial-hybrid) vehicle. The e-model goes into full production in October, 2009 and the -h sometime in 2010. The Aptera Forum attempts to track new reservations and cancelled reservations, and there have actually been few cancelled reservations (although the forum is not a true measure of the new reservations and cancellations.) Aptera has all of the deposits in escrow with a California bank; several people have reported back to the forum upon receiving a refund of their deposits.

Mark
2nd February, 2009 @ 09:04 pm PST

I just don't get the styling on this. I realize it's probably for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, but mainstream adoption is not going to happen looking like this. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now, but not today.

Car Parts

mills223
12th January, 2010 @ 09:58 am PST

Hi Neil, sure looks like Dexter was right.

Frank Lee
7th December, 2011 @ 04:58 pm PST
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