Funky Green Car of the Week: The Aptera

April 9, 2008

We're all looking for ways to save gas these days. But how far would you go? So far as, say, owning a three-wheel, two-seat enclosed vehicle that's really a motorocycle underneath and desperately wants to be the next Tesla?

If you answer is yes, then behold the Aptera. The product of a California upbringing and undergoing testing while patient potential owners amass on a waiting list, the Aptera is one of the latest green cars to break the usual Prius mold. Instead it follows the less certain trail blazed by the likes of the Corbin Sparrow -- with a little dash of Moller Skycar thrown in, we think.

The name means "wingless flight," in fact, and the Aptera has a unique take on green cars. It's a three-wheeler, for one, derived from motorcycles and classified as a motorocycle for DOT purposes in California, the only state the company plans to sell in. As a motorcycle, it will also be able to cruise the HOV lanes. Despite the bike basis, Aptera says their vehicle will meet many car-safety regulations and will feature airbags built into the seatbelts.

Two versions are to be offered -- an electric car priced from about $27,000 and a plug-in hybrid from about $30,000. Aptera's original hybrid diesel prototypes delivered 230 mpg in testing they say, but the production plug-in will be gasoline-augmented. The electric version will have a range of about 120 miles, they promise. The plug-in hybrid? A nice, round 300 mpg, they say.

Aptera promises production of this Typ-1 vehicle will begin later this year.

We can sense your excitement. Find out more at the Aptera Web site, and wave to us as you fly by bumper-to-bumper traffic, won't you?

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