• May 20, 2009
Click above and scroll down to watch the video

While Dave Letterman struggles to correctly describe the Chevrolet Volt, rival late-night host Jay Leno takes a bit more care to get things right in his test drive of the Aptera 2e. To get the facts straight, Leno interviews Paul Wilbur, Aptera's president and CEO. Wilbur explains how the car's solar panels keep the interior cool, talks about the vehicle's aerodynamics, and describes a little bit of the technology inside the 2e's sleek body. One cool thing we learn is, thanks to the incredibly low drag on the 2e, taking your foot of the accelerator results in a very smooth bit of coasting. The last few minutes of the nine-minute video is of Jay Leno cruising down the California highway at 70 mph, with everybody and their brother snapping pictures as they drive by. Check out the video after the jump. Thanks to Mike B. and Brian for the tips!



[Source: Jay Leno's Garage]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a fan of this it is very future looking which I think helps.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm guessing the three wheels thing is more to do with crash testing and stuff than tyre scrub, which can be avoided by fitting a diff anyway.

      Also the drag coefficient thing isn't absolute drag - I'm not sure how the frontal area of this compares to,say, a Smart Car.

      Still, it's a cool thing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ohhhh... I got to drive it (very very briefly) at a work green-day event. Pretty sweet. I do not think it is really the complete answer to anything (be it city or highway) but it is certainly cool and encouraging.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The smart is a bad example. It's the only thing Americans see because it was the only real European minicar marketed in the States.

        If you'd see how some french, spanish and german minicars perform in INDEPENDENT (not NCAP) crash tests around Europe, you'd be astonished. WAY better than your average gas-guzzling steel-brick 5 ton SUV or truck.

        Being lightweight doesn't mean anything. Look at F1 cars: super-lightweight and probably the most durable and safe you can find. And what are they made of? Mostly not steel and metals. They've got a little aluminum here and there in the body but it's mostly carbon fiber and other composites.

        The Aptera, if engineered well, could become the ambassador of lightweight cars to the United States. Long live alternative mobility.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Light cars are worse in crashes is a fallacy. Just look at F1 cars, you aren't going to get any ligher than that, and drivers get into crashes over 150mph and survive them with relatively light injuries. Do that in a heavy sedan or suv at 150mph, and you'll most likely die.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Calm down ladies.
        I'm all for hip new materials, but lightweight cars AREN'T better in crashes. If you haven't, watch this Smart Car be a pinball when crashed into C Class http://is.gd/BMIb

        • 5 Years Ago
        The whole 'I might run into an suv' with that thing and kill myself is a mute point. With yesterday's mileage/emissions bill, vehicles like that will slowly start to disappear from the automotive landscape, making the operation of smaller and lighter cars safer everyday. It just won't be an issue anymore. And for those with the semi truck argument, sorry, but those commercial vehicles have always existed in relatively minute proportion to the general motoring population. The odds remain static.
        • 5 Years Ago
        SUV=Stupid Unintelligent Vehicle - kind of like most of their drivers or defendants.
        Hopefully you never experience your engine plowing through your passenger cell in case of a head on collision and hopefully you never have to swerve much because that'll send your vehicle on it's roof, most likely. Intelligent designs, engineering and materials and safety measures is what keeps you and others safe, not this moronic approach of JUST HEAVY! Unfortunately very often also the driving style goes along with a degenerated understanding of physics, economy and responsibility.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't bother, Alex...

        Dudes like TyWright don't get the first thing about modern engineering or any appreciation of material science and forces.

        When that's the kind of knee jerk reaction you get when they see something a bit out of the ordinary, I bet they're just hillbilly's trying to stick to their '50 box of steel.

        I've seen SUV's do really bad in crash tests, but hey, don't les actual research get in the way of plain old 'gut feeling'. 'That massive metal construction sure keeps everyone safer'. 'metal=safe'

        Just reaching for excuses to stay in the past and not embrace new vehicles. These type of shell-structures are usually much stronger. Just take a look at how silo's are built.

        I not only want this car, I need to have it :) It's absolutely brilliant and fits perfectly with my vision about personal mobility. No overkill, starting from the appropriate engineering principles, new and fresh approach. Silent, swift, to the point... Using solar cells for AC is great. sun=airco, and the sun is already there, use it.

        I want this to come to Europe as soon as possible. I'd pay anything up to 40.000 euros for it (55k dollar, tax included). No oil changes, no gaskets, no timing belts, no valve replacements, no spark plugs. The list goes on. Maintenance is lower...

        I'd love to be in something advanced for a change. Not something that has been around for 50 years in its current form. Been there, done that, move on!
        • 5 Years Ago
        John, please. Like I care a rats ass about what the likes of you have to say. It's dumbasses like yourself with stupid comments that get me going every time.

        I'VE NOT ONCE USED THE WORD GREEN in my comment above!? So was this just reaching to get your 'look at me i'm so cool anti-green' retoric in? If you did, well wooptidoo, good for you!

        And besides, using hyperboly BS arguments like "lockstep" and "worshipping earth" makes your comment even more irrelevant and retarded than what it could have been. Not even worth reading, or considering. You have no idea what my position on that front is, so give up. Feel good now? With your polarising 'me versus the greenies' statement? I hope you do, or the minutes waisted adding some bytes to the internet's useless section would have been in vain.

        It's not about green for the last time, it's about CLEVER engineering, NO-OVERKILL 3800 pounds vehicle to haul my sorry ass around BY MYSELF, new concepts, new ideas, innovation. I applaud enterprises taking that risk and going beyond the well established boundaries.

        But if people clearly don't have a clue, then please, by all means, feel free NOT TO comment on things they don't know anything about. Stating it as omniscient facts, when their authority is zero. If you do that's the kind of response you'll get. Stick to factual conclusions, I'm not interested in someones 'gut feeling' clouding the perception of other readers.

        It's like those people who will instinctively think that a volvo 960 estate is 'stronger' than your average eurobox renault megane. Well, it isn't. In a staggered frontal collision the volvo gets destroyed. So far for 'gut feeling' comments then.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really like Jay Leno's garage. Better stuff on his website than the entire programming of SpeedTV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is a great web based series, but how can you deny the power of Dennis Gage's mustache?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm with you. I always am anxious to check out the new car being discussed every monday on Jay's site. I've said it before (probably not on here) but I'll say it again....someone should just give Leno his own car show on television...

        but on the other hand there is something about going to his site and checking out his webvideos that make it somewhat more desirable than watching it on tv...idk seems more personal
        • 5 Years Ago
        absolutely agree.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well thanks to Obama were all going to be driving these things...

      J/K!!!

      Neat car but not my cup of tea
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Roorge, I rwant rwone..."

      ruv,

      Astro
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want to drive that car. So smart to design around aerodynamics. Cut the force you must power through, and you can cut power. That means more mpg.
        • 5 Years Ago
        edit : if only I had a plane to put the fuel savings in.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I believe the Jetsons dog is named Astro?

      Anyway, it certainly looks eccentric compared to the cars on the road today, but the idea and execution is sound. As for those people discrediting the car's safety in accidents, did you not watch the same video? The Aptera is developed according to the same automobile safety standards as other cars. I'll reserve judgment until I see actual crash tests, but it certainly looks promising as a daily commuter in California, where sunshine is ample. The only question I have is...how about cargo space? I didn't notice a trunk...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like a death trap. No way would that thing protect the occupants in a crash with my Suburban.

      FAIL.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Hm, ... we could keep a lot of these Suburbans off the road with a simple IQ test required to pass for even getting a driver's license!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, if hitting your Suburban is the benchmark, than nothing out there on the market now - short of another Suburban (or similar sized truck) - will fair well. Remember that video that was posted awhile back with the Smart hitting the Mercedes sedan? Well, the same thing basic happens when a midsize car hits a Suburban. It's just on a larger scale.

        Maybe the issue here isn't the Aptera, but rather the Suburban...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Perhaps you should read through other comments, this has already been covered. Depending on the exact design of the Aptera, it might do better than your precious Suburban. Of course it would still probably end up on the other side of the road...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like how Jay's got an old Detroit Electric in the background.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't care what u suv cage monkeys think, I want one of these sperm-mobiles!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jay hit it on the head, the price point is what will make or break this. Still want one, if only to try out and play with.
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