Aptera Trike

Aptera Trike – It failed but not because it wasn’t great!

When it comes to trikes there are some REAL weird designs out there.  There are also some really boring ones.  Then there are designs like this.  This takes me back to my childhood.  This makes me believe we can make cars fun again.  This Aptera Trike was going to be amazing but it got stopped by money, well the lack of it actually.

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As cars have got better and better we see them become more like each other.  Then someone finally says, "You know what, I'm going to make something wonderful!"  And that's where trikes like this one come from.

Apetra Trike Side On

     Apetra Trike Side On

Apetra Trike Blue

      Apetra Trike Blue

Usually, a spaceship-looking vehicle like this comes only in concept form, but the Aptera three-wheeled electric or diesel-hybrid car, if it can accurately be called a car did not only make it to the prototype stage was available for pre-order. 

Consider these stats: 230 mile per gallon on the highway for the hybrid version, according to Gizmodo, and an estimated 10 seconds from zero to 60. All this for the relatively paltry sum of $20,000.

The Aptera 2 Series was designed to be a low-energy vehicle.  Early estimates of its energy consumption ran as low as 80 watt-hours/mi at 55 mph. Later estimates are as high as 200 Watt-hours for aggressive driving.

Aptera Trike Front

    Aptera Trike Front

Aptera Trike Rear

      Aptera Trike Rear

These was talk that "if Aptera was given an official EPA rating [the fuel-efficiency figure assigned to all cars by the United States federal government], it would be 851 mpg".  This suggested that it was 2.2 times more efficient than Nissan Leaf. The Aptera 2 Series has a drag coefficient of just Cd=0.15, compared with Cd=0.19 for the record-holding General Motors EV1, and Cd=0.24 for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé, currently the lowest for a mass-produced car.  The Aptera's atypical shape is a result of extensive optimization in a virtual wind tunnel, following the designs of Alberto Morelli.  It used recessed windshield wipers and low rolling resistance tires.

The first prototype attained a drag coefficient of Cd=0.11 by making use of an "Eyes-Forward" rear-view camera system instead of side-view mirrors, which create a large amount of drag. A September 2008, the Aptera newsletter showed a rendering of the car featuring a conventional driver-side mirror and no driver-side rear-view camera.  Aptera CTO Steve Fambro stated that the system was simplified to make use of a single camera mounted near the top of the vehicle.

The body design was similar to Pegasus Research Company's human-powered "Fusion" vehicle (1983) and the MIT Aztec, but the direct inspiration was the Volkswagen 1-litre car.

Apetra Trike Interior

     Apetra Trike Interior

Apetra Trike Interior From Outside

     Apetra Trike Interior From Outside

The Aptera 2 Series was a three-wheeled vehicle with front-wheel drive. On March 23, 2010, Aptera announced their use of BorgWarner's 31-03 eGearDrive transmission for the 2e drive train. An April 14, 2010 press release  announced further suppliers: A123 Systems for the 20kWh lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack, and Remy International for the 82 kW HVH250 electric motor.

The freeway range was promised to be around 100 miles (160 km) with two passengers and some luggage. They planned to offer an SAE J1772 compatible charging system, at either 110 or 220 V.

Some basic stats


Designer                              Eleven
Class                                     Subcompact
Body style                           2-door three-wheeled car
Layout                                 Front-engine, front-wheel drive layout
Engine                                  2e: Remy 82kW electric motor
                                              2h: Gasoline generator + Electric Motor[1]
Transmission                      2e: Borg-Warner single ratio transaxle[2]
                                              2h: Series hybrid layout
Dimensions
                                              Wheelbase108 in (274 cm)[2]
                                              Length175.6 in (446 cm)[2]
                                              Width86 in (218 cm)[2]
                                              Height54.4 in (138 cm)[2]
                                              Curb weight1,800 lb (820 kg)[2]
                                                             
Overall, I love this trike.  When it comes time to build my own I will be very tempted to copy the ideas that this has fostered.  I particularity like the the airplane look and feel.  Personally, I am not going to bother with electric as the advantages at present are mostly outweighed by the disadvantages.  But a body like this powered by a 1300 cc Hayabusa?  Yes Sir.  Now we are talking.

Aptera Trike Driving

     Aptera Trike Driving

Aptera Trike Stopping

     Aptera Trike Stopping

Imagine the stats with a high powered motorbike engine.  0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.  

Since it is so aerodynamic the fuel spend would be minimal.  

Tell me if you like it.  Is this something you would drive on a day to day basis?

Cheers


About the Author Jonathan

Hello, I am Jonathan, a lover of vehicles that spark the imagination, make your blood boil and take you to a place where time stops and the moment is everything. Hence my love of trikes.

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