Aptera 2e Gets a Production Facelift

Aptera Motors publicly debuted it Aptera 2e during TED 2009 this past February, but the company has announced that it will modify the interior of its Aptera 2e in its production models. According to the company’s newsletter, they did extensive consumer testing of the car and discovered some elements that would turn off consumers including cabin space, cargo space and well, space. So they fixed them.

[social_buttons]The first major issue found was that there wasn’t enough space for men or women. I remember this being an issue in the first version of the Honda Insight as well. Very tall people couldn’t fit into the car. Like Honda, Aptera has gone about to fix this and using their Aptera formula – safety, then aerodynamics, then lightweight – they have increased the interior cabin by 10 percent.

Ten percent might not seem like much of an increase, but the company says this increase gives the car as much headroom and legroom, if not better than, the Mini and Chevy Volt. They widened the area at the hips to provide more space than the Smart EV and the Nissan Cube.

Other positive changes to the car include more cargo space. The company added another 24 cubic feet which is nearly two times the space available in the Honda Accord.

The next issue, interestingly enough, was perception of space. A large number of people felt the cabin was dark and imposing, but the fix isn’t what you’d expect. The company introduced ‘Eva,’ the driver’s electronic travel companion. ‘Eva, inspired by the Wall-E,  is the nickname Aptera has given to the new body colored center console in the vehicle. I guess Eva is adding even more “flare” to the car. I guess the shape wasn’t enough.

According to the company, “the body color accents that frame Eva augment lightness into the cabin, dividing the interior into two distinctive zones. The result is an interior aesthetic that is consistent with the lightweight structure of the vehicle.”

Inside, Eva houses the vehicle computing and infotainment systems, but like a good suspense film the company is not giving away the details on the state-of-the-art computing system. However, they do say it has more power than any machine in your house, and Eva is the home of your heating and A/C controls, vents and a little more storage space. See, there’s that more “space” issue again.

Let’s see, what else got bigger? The cup holders–they can now hold a Big Gulp (even my car can’t manage that). They also repositioned the shift controller to be more ergonomic. And just like Eva, they are holding out on us. Apparently the shift controller is going to have some unique features as well.

Since ergonomic is so important in the office, why shouldn’t it be important in the car? Well it is now. The Series 2 features new seat construction with adjustable headrests and armrests and seat frame mounted airbags. The seat foam is not only more comfortable, but its made with soy. Just don’t eat it if your hungry.

And the materials are even more environmentally friendly. The base seat is produced from post-consumer plastics and if you opt for the upgrade, you can get a leatherette or a top-grade leather option also made from post-consumer plastic.

Lastly (at least this is the last upgrade they’re willing to tell us) there is now a center console-mounted park brake.

The Aptera 2e is set to launch later this year and Aptera Motors is promising we’ll get another look at the final production car before it hits the roads. They’d better, we still haven’t gotten the low-down on the battery yet. Oh, and Aptera, I’ll be in California at the end of September in case you want me to take a little test drive….

 

Joanna Schroeder

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.