Part of the problem is that legacy automakers have latched onto the idea that bigger vehicles carry higher profit margins. And so the automakers have steadily pushed to build bigger, heavier, more complex vehicles that try and do everything for everyone.
But big, blunt, heavy SUVs and crossovers are trading utility and convenience for fun. And I for one miss the lightweight, and fun sports cars that I knew growing up. Sports cars are usually 2-seaters, and they offer a direct and connected feel to the road. They are simpler, and lightweight, which makes them relatively quick, nimble, and fun to drive.
The upcoming Aptera has an aerodynamic, lightweight composite body like Formula One race cars, which is many times stronger than steel for its weight. And it has electric motors inside the wheels for simplicity and efficiency. Plus, another advantage of in-wheel motors is torque vectoring, because that allows each wheel to accelerate together or independently, which provides much better handling control, especially around corners.
Aptera has teamed up with the Roush Performance engineering team to fine tune the Aptera’s suspension to find a great balance between handling performance, agility, comfort, and drivability. Without making it heavy or too complex. In its front wheel drive configuration, the dual-motor Aptera manages 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds, which is brisk. And in its tri-motor configuration the Aptera’s acceleration is an amazing 3.5 seconds from 0-60MPH! Which rivals high performance, 2-seat, sports cars of the past.
Happily, there are still some affordable, lightweight, 2 seat sports cars available today, like the Mazda MX-5/(Miata) and Toyota GR86(2+2), and there are more powerful and quicker 2 seat sports cars like the Toyota Supra, Audi TT, Porsche Cayman, and Chevy Corvette that start at $50K and go way up from there. But those 2 seat sports cars are still among the most fun cars in the world to drive!
The unique elements that set the 2-seat Aptera apart from everyone else is that its light weight of 1800-2200 lbs (816 to 998 kg), 50kW electric wheel-motors, and hyper-aerodynamics (Cd 0.13) have an advantage of providing extreme efficiency. The whole Aptera EV has less aerodynamic drag than just the side mirrors on a Ford F150 alone. And the net result of focusing on efficiency means that the Aptera uses only 100 watt hours of electricity per mile, compared to the efficient Tesla Model 3 SR at about 257Wh/mile, or the Audi E-Tron at around 455Wh/mile (over 4X the Aptera’s power usage). This enables the Aptera to go 40 miles+ a day, just using it’s onboard solar panels (with good sun). Also, with the largest (100kWh) battery pack the Aptera should be able to go a record breaking 1000+ miles on a single battery charge, which is unprecedented in any production EV.
That unique combination of price, efficiency, range, performance, and handling means to me that I can have my very own, reinvented/fun-to-drive/sports coupe, which also just happens to be really inexpensive to drive daily. I preordered the 40kW/400 mile Aptera, which starts at $29,800, and I added a 3rd motor (AWD) for that sub-4 second 0-60MPH capability, and added the “Never Charge” (40 mi) solar package for $900 more. The base solar roof is included in the base model’s price, and it provides up to 16 miles of range. Plus I added SafetyPilot, which provides Level 2 driving autonomy. I am hoping to get mine before this time next year.
If you are interested in putting in a pre-order for an Aptera, you can save $30 off of the $100 pre-order price by clicking on my referral link here.
Dean McManis is an electric vehicle advocate and an instructional technology specialist at Cupertino Union School District. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area and frequently reports EV stories at Torque News. Dean can be reached on LinkedIn.