Aptera's Dream Cruising Closer to Reality

Chances of seeing one of Aptera Motors radical Typ-1 electric three-wheelers on the road before this Christmas just got a lot better with confirmation that the company has completed a new round of supplemental financing that added over $24 million to its development/production budget. The latest firm to help bankroll Aptera's vision of the future is Internet giant Google, which committed $2.75 million through its RechargeIT initiative, a group that was established to help expedite new kinds of energy-efficient vehicles reaching the consumer market.

Taking styling cues from the aircraft industry, incorporating rollover and side-impact safety technology that complies with the latest federal specs, and made of lightweight composite materials, the Typ-1 is due to launch as a pure electric vehicle sometime in December. Aptera claims this EV version will be able to travel a maximum of 120 miles per charge, helped in no small measure by its low mass and sleek (0.11 coefficient of drag) bodywork. A plug-in series hybrid, the Typ-1h, is scheduled to join the lineup early in 2010. According to Aptera, its gasoline/electric power module will deliver a 600 mile combined range and return the equivalent of 300 mpg. Both versions have a 2+1 seating configuration and will be certified as motorcycles. However, their enclosed structure eliminates the requirement for a helmet while still permitting full-time access to carpool lanes, like their two-wheeled kin.

Final pricing has yet to be confirmed, but the company, which is based in Carlsbad, California, indicates a Typ-1 will open around $27,500 with the hybrid version due to start closer to $30,000. Initially, Typ-1 sales will be limited to the Golden State, where over 3,300 people have already anted up a $500 refundable deposit to reserve one of these super-efficient commuters. While national distribution remains part of Aptera's long-range plans, its immediate goal will be finishing a new assembly facility in nearby Vista, where it will start turning out the first of some 1500 Typ-1 models it hopes to build in year one.

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