Saturday, December 22, 2007

Popular Mechanics Takes Aptera for a Drive

This wingless Jetsonian vehicle has seemed to me to be too much design, too much gadgetry, too much website, and not enough practical, buildable car. I thought I could smell the vapor.

Well, Popular Mechanics asked and the Aptera folks let them in. The magazine's Ben Stewart took the all electric car (3 wheeler) for a 20 mile spin in Carlsbad CA. And he came back impressed. There's video, lots of stills and most of the basic stats you'd want to know. And plans for a serial plug-in hybrid. 300mpg, they say. Yowsa! Here's to hoping all they say is true.

•Available 2008
•under $30,000
•120 mile range
•10kWh Lithium pack
•under 1500 pounds
Check it out here.


etcadman said...

I still question their ability to achieve the 120 miles per charge driving range and recharge off of
120vac in a few hours.

Even a slippery vehicle requires energy to accelerate and maintain speed. If everything is ideal, even at 100 whm average (the LiON Tzero averaged 170 whm of freeway for 300 mile range) energy usage, it would require 12 KWh of usable energy. So far the company has advertised that the all-electric version will only come with a 10 KWh pack, which means at the most 8 KWh of usable repeatable energy usage. This all spells out a much shorter usable (and realistically advertisable) driving range.

And for recharging off of 120vac outlet, with bulk and leveling charge, you are probably averaging about 1KW/hr recharging rate, which means even 8 KWh pack usage requires 8 hours recharging. For a pack to achieve a consistent 100+ miles per charge requires great time or higher voltage, as the RAV4 owners understand.

I don't see this EV getting 100 mile per charge range and adequately getting recharged each night over 120vac plug-in. They really need to have a larger pack (which means a heavier vehicle) and ability to use 240vac to recharge.


Anonymous said...

And of course, there is always the crash worthiness issue...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why this vehicle, with it's lower rolling resistance (at least three-quarters!) and slippery body, wouldn't be able to get better than 100 Wh/mile. I've seen standard car conversions that could close in on 150 Wh/mile, and this will have much lower drag. While it does take energy to accelerate, my guess is that the weight of this car will reduce this energy cost as well.

Anonymous said...

On TreeHugger, I believe, someone actually emailed them, and the Wh/mile is 70, or about 8.4kWh to go 120 miles. Keep in mind, with it's very small frontal area and a drag coefficient of around 0.1, this vehicle SHOULD have a low Wh/mile number for highway driving.

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