Saturday, October 6, 2007

Another Hybrid and Electric Vehicle manufacturer

As most of us know, there really aren't any mass-market appeal electric vehicles available in the US. Given the 3 wheel design, this one still may not qualify. From what I've seen, generally 3 wheel vehicles are classed as motorcycles, which raises a small hurdle for people to get motorcycle endorsements on their license, even though the motorcycle skills probably don't pertain.

The electric version claims to have 120 mile range, more than sufficient for most people's daily commute and charges off a standard 110v outlet. The Plug-In Hybrid will have a small gasoline generator to extend the driving range to 300 miles. Common to all is a very interesting sounding "Solar assisted Climate Control System so you always enter comfortable Aptera that is never too hot or cold." Just a few weeks ago I was wondering about the possibility of having a electric or hybrid vehicle have some sort of electric system, either PV or using direct Heat to Electric technology. It looks like they've figured out a way to do that, and do something useful with the probably low amount of power that is produced.

While I'm undecided on the issue of whether the reduction in the use of gasoline and its associated pollution is better than the manufacturing and recycling costs and impacts of the batteries, I am very tempted to give them the $500 reservation on an electric version. Generally I wouldn't pay what they are asking of a vehicle, but I want to reward them for taking some risk in designing a vehicle and bringing it to market, and they're offering the vehicle that I think I need.

Did I mention it looks cool?

Unfortunately, their site is a little light on specifics such as shipping dates and exact specifications of the vehicle.

Warning: The Aptera site will attempt to maximize your browser window, plays music (though it can be turned off) and is very video/flash intensive. I found it almost a chore to navigate on the first visit. I didn't see anything of interest on their MySpace page.