Test Driving Aptera's New Electric Car

Jetsons-inspired electric vehicle is designed for efficiency

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, Oct 8, 2010  |  Updated 3:57 PM CDT
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The Jetsons-inspired electric vehicle is designed for efficiency, getting the equivalent of almost 200 miles to the gallon.

The Jetsons-inspired electric vehicle is designed for efficiency, getting the equivalent of almost 200 miles to the gallon.

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Take a Tour of the Aptera 2e

The Aptera is one of seven finalists for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-prize, a $10-million competition to design a practical and producible 100-mile per gallon vehicle.
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Everywhere it goes, the Aptera 2e attracts attention.The Jetsons-inspired electric vehicle is designed for efficiency, getting the equivalent of almost 200 miles to the gallon.

"We are four times more efficient than a Prius," claimed Aptera’s Marques McCannon.

McCannon is part of the team taking the car across country after it finished among the finalists in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize competition. 

A prototype of the vehicle was on display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry in August

McCannon said the light body and small size lets the California-based company use a smaller electric motor that only requires an overnight charge on a regular 110V outlet.

Aptera let us take one of their precious prototypes for a real world drive on Chicago streets.  Even though this car still has some tweaking left before it starts rolling off production lines late next year, there is a lot to like. The cabin is comfortable, even for a six-footer. The dash is simple, but graceful, with all pertinent information either on a single LCD display behind the wheel or on the entertainment system display that doubles as a rear-view camera.

With a range of at least 100 miles and a top speed of more than 90, the Aptera might not be the ultimate road trip vehicle. But that’s not its goal. It's a fun-to-drive commuter designed to wring every last electron out of its battery packs.

Even the windows are coated with a thin film of silver to keep the heat out, so the air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard.

When the 2e finally hits the road, Aptera said it wants to price it competitively with the average American car. That’s just under $30,000.

And if you don’t want the world staring at you while you drive around town, you should know the company is working on a more conventional four-wheel, five passenger version.

But for now, the price for efficiency may be a few people stopping you to take a picture of your futuristic car.

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