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Sad news: Aptera Shutting Down For Good

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1070154_aptera-shutting-down-for-good

I have to admit that I was not in the market for the Aptera, but I have followed the company for years now and I wished they would have succeeded, even in a niche market. Competition is good for business.

I remember seriously considering the Aptera before I placed my Tesla S reservation. Sad news.

To me that car never made any sense. It was a two-seater with dimensions of a Hummer, so it wasn't any surprise to me that there were not enough interest to keep that project running. There are other much better high-efficiency designs like Edison VLC (very light car). It is a four-seater with four wheels, lower center of gravity and with CdA very close to Aptera if not better, and very light curb weight. Better handling, better efficiency and better practicality.

The car in their website is ICE car, but they have BEV version planned also.

If that Aptera would have been two-seater in tandem arrangement, then I would have been interested about it. Three-wheeler would also made much more sense in smaller design. It was a beauty, but too impractical.

I would have loved a $25,000 100 mile Aptera for the three years I have had my money in for the real thing.

I had my $500 reservation fee at Aptera since 2007. GOt the refund check this year. Too Bad. I still feel it's the best looking vehicle ever designed. Looks like they needed a billionare owner/CEO.

The Edison2 website states Cd=0.16, Aptera's website stated Cd=0.2. I am very impressed by those figures, and all the more impressed with Tesla's Cd=0.22 for the Model S -- a traditionally shaped car ready for production, not a proof of concept prototype with small covered wheels on stilts.

The Edison2 VLC seems to me a much more plausible design than Aptera's, and they've assembled quite an engineering team. It's going to be a tough sell, though, to reverse the "feature creep" that dominates car design (and captivates car buyers) today.

In the Edison2 videos they mention the idea of an extended tank for storage of natural gas, allowing a range of 1000 miles or so, negating any idea of range anxiety for that fuel.

Whether extended range or not, I'd be a lot more interested in it as a vehicle if it had some demonstrated safety built in. The idea of a natural gas tank rupturing in an accident doesn't seem as safe as other fuels. And I'd like to see the structure of it demonstrated at 5* as well. I don't know if they can get to all that while keeping the car "very light".

But filling up the tank would take less time than charging a Model S battery. A heat source for the winter shouldn't be a problem. And there are natural gas powered air conditioning units, though I doubt any are yet made "very light".

Timo: you say they have a BEV version planned? The videos I saw have them saying "hundreds of pounds" of batteries is definitely not the way to go. They'd better revise their videos if they want to sell a BEV version.

Many innovators were ahead of their time when the technology simply didn't exist to match their ideas. Even Apple had the Newton and Steve Jobs had been planning the iPad for many years, waiting for the technology to arrive that would allow his vision and consumer pricing to meet.*

As someone said, the problem with Aptera wasn't with the concept, it was with the price. We're still at least 5 years away from battery technology to be cheap enough to allow a $20,000 electric econo car. They ramped up far too soon. They should have waited until the tech price and capabilities matched their vision.

*As a side note, this "waiting" bit is what Bill Gates and Microsoft could never do. They always had to rush their new tech out the door and then play catch-up. The joke with MS is that you never want to be version 1.0 of their products because it's crap. It started with Windows v1.0 and v2.0 and has continued ever since. Even the Xbox, arguably one of the greatest gaming devices, was rushed out the door and ended up costing them over a billion dollars just in repair costs alone. Windows XP, now loved, was a travesty and a security joke before SP2 was released. And we all know what happened with MS-Vista. Windows 7 is really Vista 2.0.

No, Vista was really Windows 7-0.6. They had to have a new OS to keep the cash flowing and satisfy some of the expectations, but couldn't get 7 working in all respects. So they put out a half-vast version. I disliked and avoided it from the beginning, and advised clients against upgrading. Some did anyway, and migrated to 7 ASAP when it finally came out.

It was a dawg, like Millennium.

@EdG, http://www.edison2.com/future-plans/

I saw a "future concept" of their Edison2 in some website, it was quite a bit different than that one pictured in their website. More safety features and other tweaks in the original basic plan, same efficiency if not even better (more "streamlined" in my eye).

At that point is was just a concept, I don't think there was any real car that looked like it yet, so it might be that actual resulting car is something completely different. (can't find the website)

"hundreds of pounds" of batteries is not needed if you go with very lightweight vehicle. For Model S majority of the losses you get come from rolling resistance in city traffic, at highway aerodynamic and rolling are close to same.

Panasonic 3.4Ah, 3.6V batteries weight 46g. For something like 300 mile range that kind of car needs less than 30kWh battery: Roadster gets well over 200 with 56kWh, and it is way less efficient car.

That gives us battery weight of 112kg, IE about one average US male or three anorectic supermodels.

If they are aiming for about 100 mile range, then 10kWh battery is sufficient. That makes the battery just a little bit heavier than full gas tank it has in ICE version + cooling and structures.

@Timo
112 kg ... 247 pounds...

"average US male"
"three anorectic supermodels"

Some random surfing..
"The average U.S. male stands 5' 9.1" tall and weighs 180 pounds"
"The average fashion model today is 5'11" and weighs 117 pounds"

You're a bit off on the first one. But you might be on target if "anorexic and super" takes 34 pounds off a model.

;)

I have hard time believing that average US male weights just over 80kg. Maybe that is what average should be, not what it is. What I wrote was obviously an exaggeration, but facts I have found show that average weight is nearly 90kg for white man aged 40-50 and 100kg or over is not uncommon. (Americans are a bit shorter than I expected based on short web surfing, maybe that makes it look worse).

Wolfram Alpha thinks the average adult American male weighs 196 lb (89 kg), with 1 s.d. range of 149 to 243 lbs.

Timo,

converting American TV series from NTSC to pal makes the actors look fatter than they are :-)

Their HQ's were just down the street from me (the company I work for used to be right next door to them). Items are being auctioned off:
http://www.hgpauction.com/?auctionid=159

The above ground car lift currently at $500 looks sweet, but I don't think it would fit in my garage. :-)

VolkerP | December 5, 2011

Timo,

converting American TV series from NTSC to pal makes the actors look fatter than they are :-)
There, fixed it for you!
;p

Sorry, blew the tags:
VolkerP | December 5, 2011

Timo,

converting American TV series from NTSC to pal makes the actors look even fatter than they are :-)
TFIFY

Ack. Keep forgetting the auto-close of tags with each para. 3rd try:

VolkerP | December 5, 2011

Timo,

converting American TV series from NTSC to pal makes the actors look even fatter than they are :-)

TFIFY

New twist to the story:
green.autoblog.com/2012/04/30/zaptera-the-aptera-2e-resurfaces-in-china-as-zap-jonway-product/

Another update. Seems that there's life in the old dog yet:
http://green.autoblog.com/2012/05/03/aptera-to-phoenix-as-aptera-usa-pla...

I would love to see the Carver design take root somewhere...

http://www.carver-technology.com/index.htm

Or the old BMW Clever R&D work.

digitaltim, don't you think the carver has become obsolete between the Twizy and the Monotracer?

Carver design concept is alive and well, it is now used by company named Persu: http://www.flytheroad.com/ http://www.flytheroad.com/faq.html

No electric version there, but I think they have such at least planned at some point (I have vague memory about some article of electric version). According to that webpage they are planning to start production at 2014.


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