As we speak, the TED 2009 (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference is well underway, and one of their star contributors, as far as green transportation goes, is Aptera Motors.
Normally a secretive company, Aptera chose this venue to be the first public debut of their new, pre-production “2e” electric car and gave attendees who signed up test rides (the list filled up quickly). At the same time, they released detailed feature sheets, discussed performance specs, toured the onboard software, and on and on down the list.
Where to start? After the jump!
First, the videos. This first one is of an Aptera spokesperson who stuck around the conference with an older Aptera while test rides were ongoing in the new 2e. He discusses the 2e’s features.
Full transcript here. The highlights: he starts off by referring to the 2-seat vehicle as part of the “2-series”, and mentions the future “4-series” for someone with a larger family — likely a reference to the “Palomar”. He contrasts Aptera’s 0.15 drag coefficient with typical cars getting 0.3 (even the Prius only gets 0.26, while the Hummer H2 gets 0.57, plus a much larger cross-sectional area).
He references the lightweight composite construction and the major strength advantages it offers, highlighting an incident where a reporter for Autoweek nearly knocked his teeth out trying to damage the car with a sledgehammer (he failed). He also notes that you can’t get trapped inside a composite vehicle in an accident; unlike steel, which warps, composites either bounce back or give completely; they cannot deform permanently.
In regards to safety, he first addresses performance and handling, since the best solution is to not have an accident in the first place. The 2e’s stability from its low-slung weight and wide stance gives it the same cornering rate as a Porsche Boxster (he is clear to specify not the “S” model Boxster). Its braking distance is slightly shorter than that of a Mustang GT. The official acceleration time is “under 10 seconds”, but according to the rep, “it’s actually a little less than 8 seconds, but we like to undersell.” More on this later.
In regards to passive safety, he covers the rear-impact zone, front impact/crumple zone, door impact beams, airbags, seatbelt interlock, and so forth.