New prototype could achieve 300 mpg

CARLSBAD The Aptera Typ-1 is the car of the future -- or at least one of the cars of the future. While it may look like some sort of spacecraft that became land-bound, it's a functional two-seat car that runs on electricity.

"It doesn't require a special charger," said Aptera COO Chris Anthony. "We've got a charger installed in every home in America -- you just plug it into your 110 outlet."

Aptera says it costs about a penny-per-mile. The company has already received over 11,000 deposits for the car, and they say deliveries will start later this year.

Once the electric version gets going, the next model will be a plug-in gas/electric hybrid, which in theory could get fantastic mileage.

"It'll get around 300 miles-per-gallon for the first 100 miles, and it goes down to 130 miles-per-gallon as you deplete the batteries," said Aptera CEO Steve Fambro.

To lure buyers to the $30,000 car, the design is ultra-modern, with the interior getting a iPod-like look. Video cameras see around the car's perimeter.

The Aptera's slippery shape does draw your eye to it, but it's more about function than looks. The slippery shape is what helps it glide through the air with very little resistance.

"Our vehicle is built from 14 structural parts, and those structural parts surround the occupants in a safety cell that's much like a Formula One car," said Anthony.

And race drivers often walk away from high-speed crashes. Builders from the Typ-1 point out that it hasn't officially been crash tested, but in computer simulations it's done very well.

It will be classified as a motorcycle, but since it has three wheels it won't require a motorcycle license to operate. And yes, it will be legal to drive it solo in the carpool lane.

It will be a while before we see lots of these on the road. The company still has to find additional factory space in which to build them. But increasing gas prices and the ongoing desire of Californians to drive something different means this unconventional car could someday be seen everywhere -- everywhere but gas stations.


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