Sometimes 1 + 1 ≠ 2. When the Aptera 2e was spotted at the Zap Jonway Beijing Motor Show display, assumptions were made (by us) that the composite-bodied craft was to be reborn as a product of that company. It will not. Oh, it will phoenix alright. And though the chassis will indeed be made by the Jonway Group in China, the vehicle is not directly affiliated with Zap Jonway.

Here's the deal. Aptera USA – they were originally going with Zaptera USA, but changed their minds after seeing the reaction to our previous post – bought up all the old Aptera assets and plan on moving swiftly to bring the three-wheeler to market, perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2013. The completed chassis will be brought to the U.S. from China, where it will have its electric drivetrain and other equipment installed. The new Aptera vehicle is said to be based on the design that participated in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize, known internally as the SO-1.

That configuration, if you'll remember, boasted a 20-kWh battery pack from A123 Systems and put out 110 horsepower (82 kW) and 232 pound-feet of torque using an electric motor from Remy. Its range is thought to be about 114 miles.

The company plans to revive the previous Aptera website and begin a new reservation system, giving former place holders first shot. The price should be in the $25,000 neighborhood and sales will not be restricted to California. Indeed, they want to eventually sell internationally.

Prospective buyers and the curious will get a chance to look over the vehicle in person later this year when the first Aptera showroom opens at the Railroad Square Village in Santa Rosa, CA. An official press release will be issued soon that should clarify the company's intent. We look forward to learning more details and wish the new Aptera every success.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 72 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      An almost Zero drag coefficient should not go undeveloped , God Speed! Randy V.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its best car ive seen! Hello from Russia!
      dward
      • 3 Years Ago
      still want it. Yep its a 3 wheeler and potholes suck. nope, it's not gonna be the answer to all the worlds energy crisis', but else is so unique. Do want.
      TIMMAH!
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...and plan on moving swiftly to bring the three-wheeler to market, perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2013." Hmm... where have we heard this before?
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...20-kWh battery pack..... Its range is thought to be about 114 miles." I'm a bit confused. This thing is supposed to be hyper efficient and aero they're only talking about ~5.7 miles/kWh and this thing only weighs like 1,500lbs...yet the ~3,000 lbs NiMH version of the EV1 got ~6.5 miles/kWh in real world conditions. I would have thought they'd be pushing at least 7-7.5 with the "spaceship" design, lower weight and more efficient motors/regen these days???
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        The SO-1 (shown above) that was seen at the X-prize weighed in at 2250 lbs. officially. It lost a lot of the original Aptera's efficiency. It was those early prototype vehicles designed by Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony that weighed 1500 lbs. and they could go 100 miles with a 10 kWh battery pack.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          So the thing that was flexing and had it's door fly open was 2250lbs? I wonder what it will weigh when they make it sturdy.
          Grendal
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Grendal
          To be fair, it really didn't pop open because of any flex. The driver really did bump the door button with his knee. It had happened before in one of the earlier prototypes and should have been corrected by the SO-1, but it was overlooked by Team B. The composite body is spectacular and incredibly rigid. The problem at the X-prize was that they hadn't tested the vehicle at all and the suspension was very loose. By the end, the vehicle completed the "moose test" in two tries. They eventually knocked themselves out of the final race by removing some safeties that allowed them to blow a few breakers when they overcharged the batteries with regen.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        Actually the weight is closer to 1800lbs and if you go by the X-Prize results the Aptera got just under 200 miles at 60 mph, this was the same model they say they intend to deliver for sale!
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        WAIT... YOU MEAN SOME SMALL HAND BUILT ELECTRIC CAR DIDN'T LIVE UP TO IT'S PROMISES? *laughing maniacally*
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        Ahhhhh, that makes sense. I was still hoping for something a little higher, assuming they ever made it to reality, but it's still better than an SUV :-)
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      it's both interesting and frustrating because they will mess it up. they all do. if they want to do it right they can listen to me but noone ever does. the aptera that was at the xprize was terrible and basing a production on that is essentially sure to fail. completely conventional steel cars (the Tata) matched its efficiency and that is beyond pathetic for a vehicle with such extreme design in the name of aerodynamics and weight reduction. somewhere in the engineering it is pissing away a lot of energy to be that bad and that has to be fixed. you see, if you do it right it can do with 10kWh pack. if it's wasteful it will do worse with 20kWh. the difference in business model viability should be obvious. so they need to do energy accounting and figure out where all the losses are. I presume it isn't the aerodynamics. a car with such extreme looks and fiber body should be extremely efficient. monkeys must have engineered the xprize model or worse, intentional sabotage. due diligence on the drivetrain will ensure success. test bearings, gearbox, motors, controller, batteries. do some actual engineering. then don't make the classic mistake of buying some retarded motor product where they want 15000$ for motor and controller alone. I suppose you could base it on an AC curtis but that's still very overpriced. one smart solution would be to find a maker of industrial AC induction motors and have them make a smalll production of those motors wound for lower voltage. those motors are both good and cheap. 500$ range. and AC induction works as the tesla roadster has shown. and then search for a few good men to develop a super low cost AC controller for that motor and fabricate it yourself. so many of these EV startups (sort of including tesla) make the severe mistake of buying what should be a core competency, particularly in the light of how dramatically cheaper it can be than available products. the right good IGBTs are very very cheap. consult with me and you will be successful. rely on your own judgment and you will fail. and they always trust their own judgment blindly : ) what a world.
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        @Dan I agree with a lot of your points: keep it light, keep it efficient, and keep it as aerodynamic as possible. And, yes, the SO-1 that was tested at the X-prize had a number of problems. Toward the end they did correct a lot of them and their final number of 192 MPGe wasn't too bad. It could still be better and I hope the vehicle they produce is what the founders were after: a lightweight, aerodynamic, and hyper efficient vehicle.
        Naturenut99
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan doesnt always complain about car designs, but when he does... Yeah right... He always complains. Put up or shut up. Build one and show us. We will gladly all converge somewhere to see the mythical Dan F.'s car. Or is it invisible? That's it... it's a security feature, we just can't see it. Dan we all want the cars to be better, but the non-stop, all out compaining you do is ridiculous. Have you ever worked at a professional car company? Part of the design team? The only solution to your problem at this point seems to be med's. Get some.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Naturenut99
          what should you build to be entitled to your opinion? your point is of course very wrong
        EVnerdGene
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        I think Dan makes some good points. I'd like to hear his and other's opinions about: 1. What should this vehicle cost to make ? 2. What should be the MSRP* ? *Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (no taxes, no tax credits, no delivery charges, no prep, no undercoating, no window etching, no scotchguard on the velvet seats)
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          depends on production scale. the big variable to me is the fiberglass body, how much material goes into that and how labor intensive is it. if the roller alone ends up being a 20k$ item that threatens the viability a lot because then the car ends up costing over 30k$ and at this point that has to limit sales a lot. but if we say the roller can be done for closer to 10k$ and I figure the electric drive parts can be done for 6k$ then it could sell for less than 25 and sell a few thousand. give it some acceleration which is largely cost free then it might sell more. the more efficient the stronger the selling point as well since driving will be near cost free. helps battery wear too. you can get 600g fiber glass cloth for around 2$ pr m2 and the resin for 3-4$/L which shouldn't be cost prohibitive so the trick is how elegant you can make the production. I'd also go back to the original design which was more efficient and presumably a lot easier to manufacture. it was also the more extreme vehicle and I think that's what the buyers want. not an aptera done by soulless GM bureaucrats who make it heavy and inefficient like the Volt. to me and I think to others the appeal of something green is how strongly it goes above the norm. yes the Volt is technically a battery drive vehicle but driving/owning it wouldn't make me feel like I've defeated the man. I have no love for the Volt. it's dead to me. and really the Leaf doesn't make me happy either. but a gen one aptera has real green cred (if done right). driving that you'll feel you just clothes lined the devil and he's not coming back up. as I write about this I'm remembering the initial excitement of aptera. I had forgotten. it seems evil won that one. I think it can be done. but probably wont be. outside the scope of aptera, if I were to design a car from scratch it would not look like the aptera though. I like it but I think a 4 wheeler with inboard wheels can be a better config with similar aerodynamics and weight. but perhaps not as striking.
          HVH20
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          I would love to see those too, and not just "I want it to cost this much because then its cheaper than a nissan leaf, etc..." Show me a ballpark BOM with real prices at realistic quantities, this is not a $25k car nor any less. It could be made in low quantities and at poor quality at $50-60k.
        PeterScott
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        If all the energy you put into ranting about how brilliant your ideas are (and how bad everyones other than yours are), went into getting your own car project going, you would be driving your own by now. That is, if your ideas actually were connected in any way with reality... At least the Aptera guys are testing their ideas out in reality.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          HVH, you have to be more specific than that cowardly declaration. people like you who are involved in part of the process hastily conclude that you know what you are talking about by association. never mind that there isn't a single intelligently designed EV product in the world. so what is it that you do? bms? it's quite telling that you say you work for a lithium maker yet you then go on to claim that you design cars as a whole. quite indicative of your misplaced faith in your judgment. so I'm calling you out, what exactly is it that you do? even if you are too weak to say who you work for, at least say specifically what your role is. and you are of course wrong to claim I couldn't tell the difference between building a conversion and engineering for mass production. you are similarly wrong in assuming I'm talking about a motor for a washing machine. I'm talking about the standard industrial AC induction motors that are built for continuous operation for years. well capable of driving a car.
          HVH20
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          @ Dan I'm a Systems Engineer for a major lithium battery company. I design production EV's and PHEV's for a living and have been quite successful at it. Conversions are fun and I would love for more people to do them, but the differences are an order of magnitude. Conversions only take a week or two to put together as a one off vehicle with the basic functions. Go back to watching EVTV.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          do bridge builders test their ideas out in reality and fail? tesla vs edison. thinking is allowed
        Edge
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan, why don't you give us a detailed specs of your car? List the engine (location, size and power?), battery pack technology (type (lithium?), weight, kWh?, liquid or air cooled?), basic car shape, build materials (aluminum, steel, fiber glass), range, and retail price. Also, who is closes right now to your ideal EV?
        HVH20
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Ignorance must be bliss and everything looks small from a distance. First off the vehicle that was in x-prize should never have been in that contest, it had been assembled a few weeks before and put on a trailer before the engineers could actually start testing the vehicle. This obviously lead to a media disaster. If PW wanted to use x-prize for design validation thats fine, but atleast bring the prior version that had already been tested/tuned to showcase where the design actually was instead of looking like a clown. Second, if your going to sell a competitively priced vehicle AND guarantee that it will work for 100k miles all the components need to be designed, validated, and tested to all ends. If something does go wrong, your responsible for paying for it. Testing isn't cheap either and you would need to budget in to your profit model those expenses. The idea of going with off the shelf suppliers is that they are responsible for the product (limited liability on your part) and that your costs can be reduced by leveraging higher quantities accross other customers. They are trying to produce a vehicle, not re-create a garage conversion. About all those two have in common is they plug into a wall, but most conversions usually don't even have the J1772 plug so its still different. You seem to be ignoring safety, reliability, manufacturability, financing, cost, performance and marketing. Dan you remind me of someone who took one physics class and a power electronics course. And because you know how an IGBT works and how to invert a signal that its cake to design a OEM Automotive motor controller and that the 60hz AC Induction motor in your dryer was designed for a lifetime of vehicle propulsion. Its free to assemble your dream car on paper, so go track down all your components, desgin your vehicle, develop the controls model in MatLab, set up a manufacturing line, develop a test plan, and get real quotes for all of that. If you still have a chance in hell of making any money, I bet there are a lot of investors that would be interrested in lending you some cash.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HVH20
          HVH, what do you know about it? what's your qualification that allows you to pretend you know better than me
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HVH20
          If this project has any ZAP or Aptera still in their veins; it will again die from stupid. Visited Aptera several years ago. Went away thinking; "bunch of kids on CAD terminals."
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HVH20
          I dont get how Zap is still alive. I could understand Aptera coming back if it wasnt by Zap.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        did we have an infusion of ignorants or did I say something unusually unpopular to get -10? : ) it's odd how they come in waves. I guess the article is referenced elsewhere
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          even if it is the truth?
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Try not beginning comments with things like, "I'm right, and everyone else is wrong!"... or referring to people who disagree with you as "ignorants".
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          I call you mindless and petty because you are Ian. a while back you to a sudden turn into darkness. before then you didn't seem to have a problem with me and it's not because I changed. I notice you didn't deny voting all my comments down. do you do that? I get the sense that I have a following of dark beings that vote all my comments down as a matter of form. even when I write brief comments that couldn't possibly offend anyone I get the obligatory -3. I speculate you are one of those. marcopolo could well be another
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          should I not call you mindlessly petty either for your default -1 votes irrespective of what I say
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @Dan Frederiksen
          You think people are voting you down without reading what you wrote? Let's see... you just called me "mindless", "petty", and willfully ignorant -- all in one sentence. I can't imagine why people have a problem with you.
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @Dan Frederiksen
          No Dan... I didn't vote all your comments down (shall I do so now?) You're undeniably obnoxious, but unless someone says something truly off-the-wall, I couldn't be bothered. Anyway... I'm flying out of here in less than 24 hours, and really don't have any more time to deal with your persecution issues... except to suggest that you try and tone down the superior attitude. You'd be amazed how well that works.
      Bill
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they use a better battery than A123 like the one Envia is working on , then I'll lease or buy one in 2014 when my LEAF lease is finished. $25K - $7500 will be a great deal (if the fed tax credit is still available)!
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's a pity that the Aptera was bought by Zap. Zap, is well,..Zap ! never having made a profit, but like the early days of dot. com, has been cheerfully burning cash. I was hoping some dedicated US specialist EV builder would buy the moulds etc, and start making the Aptera to order in California for those enthusiasts wanting to order one. I think it's novelty looks would make the Aptera an ideal island tourist resort vehicle. More functional and safer than a NEV, and able to attract higher rental. The Bonded shell would be less subject to salt water deterioration, and require lower maintenance. But, Zap, that not a good start !
        marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        ( Damn, spelling errors, I hate no edit function ! )
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        They going out of way to distance themselves from Zap history. -With lots of errors to make you feel better... :) I wouldn't put any deposit down, but I would be willing to test drive a production car and if I like it, buy one. That's as far as my trust goes at this point.
      me
      • 3 Years Ago
      so an American ideal & concept .. but made in China then shipped thousands of miles ( burning all that oil ) to get it here.... nah they can eat it! Chinese steel, plastic & all other materials cept "china" are crap!
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's the thing about Aptera: it's a vehicle that deserves to be on the road. We spend enormous amounts of money on Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, and MacLaren's for that rush of speed and acceleration. Why not have a vehicle that strives to reach the pinnacle of efficiency? Like a supercar, it has an odd unique look to it that stands out from regular cars. There are hopefully a few people out there that are willing to buy it. So I certainly hope that this new company does what it says and produces this unique design so that those people can buy it.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      this is about the aptera but I'll give you a short answer. I'd consider a couple of different cars but the main one is probably a 2+2 seater with a fiber composite sandwich floor tub chassis and fiberglass body. motor at the rear much like tesla model S config or possibly inwheel motors if the production has a budget to make that happen. smallish lifepo pack either behind rear seats or in the nose or mixed. I probably wont want a floor pack like they all do. I think it complicates and compromises the designs. with inwheel motors the performance will probably have to be moderate but otherwise I'd aim for high acceleration say 5 second or even less if easy. strong accel with light weight and electric is quite easy so it's an obvious selling point to take. think 25k$ and able to best ferraris. that matters. power levels might be 100kW. 10-12kWh pack preferably A123, able to recharge in 10 minutes from chademo or top off in 5. 350-400V system. obviously a very aerodynamic body, 'conventional' body with inboard wheels, think a porsche 911 like body although with significant differences. in large scale production I believe it can sell for 20k$ profitably. with clever production of fiberglass and future cheaper batteries it can drop further still. it has the potential to destroy the existing car market. that's why they don't like it. there are noone anywhere near doing it right as of this moment. should aptera get to production with their first model that would be the closest by far. the tesla roadster is quite wrong (although historically significant role) and the model S is all wrong and more so the X. the Leaf is all wrong, the Volt is offensive. the imiev is not good but if they priced it fairly I would only be disappointed by it. the VW XL1 has hints of right, it's sort of a modern EV1 but they still find ways to mess it up, not least of which is never building it.
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      $25k was wishful thinking to get people interrested in the vehicle and a marketing game which we are seeing again, their SO1 BOM was closer to $100k. If your curious about their math, go track down PW and ask him how he came up with his numbers. $25k would get you basically a kit car with a small ICE to push it, that was one of the options from Steve's original plan in creating a hypermilers dream ride.
    • Load More Comments