Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas


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Posted by rpautrey2 on February 27, 2009, 12:29 am
Article & Video Link:


Innovator: Aptera founders Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony
Automotive Equation: aerodynamic design + lightweight composite-fiber
body + real-world experience = a new, ultraefficient automotive

Five years ago, engineer Steve Fambro was working for a biotech
company, spending his weekends tinkering with his pickup truck to
increase its fuel economy. I realized it was a losing proposition
because of all the weight and drag, he says. I thought, What would
a vehicle with no drag look like? The Aptera Typ-1e, which should be
available by the end of 2008, became Fambros answer. It could prove
revolutionary, opening up a new automotive category of ultra-high-
mileage automobiles designed for real-world drivers andat $0,000
priced for them, too.

The Typ-1es drag coefficient is an astounding 0.15, compared to 0.26
for the Toyota Prius, considered an exemplar of aerodynamic
efficiency. (SUVs top 0.40.) According to Fambro, the entire Typ-1e
(shown here) produces less drag than the sideview mirrors on a pickup

At just 1500 pounds, the two-seater is lightweight, as well. The body
is made of an ultralight compositeFambros partner, Chris Anthony,
used the material in wakeboard boats hed designedbonded to a metal
safety cage. As a three-wheel vehicle, the Typ-1e is exempt from some
safety requirements, yet it meets or exceeds crash-test guidelines for
conventional cars. The company is launching the all-electric Typ-1e
with a 120-mile range and a recharge time of 8 hours. Next year, it
plans to follow up with a plug-in hybrid, the Typ-1h, which should get
300 mpg for the first 120 miles and never go less than 130 miles on a
gallon of gas. Aptera is also planning a larger vehicle with seating
for four.

Unlike some other eco-car startups, Aptera has recruited heavy hitters
from the automotive industry, arguably giving the company the know-how
to truly transform the roads. I think as time goes on and everyone
accepts that were in an energy-scarce world, cars will shift in
styling, Fambro says. Twenty years from now, well look at cars tha=
waste energy the way we look at litter today. They will make us feel

Posted by John Gilmer on March 3, 2009, 3:56 am

from the automotive industry, arguably giving the company the know-how
to truly transform the roads. “I think as time goes on and everyone
accepts that we’re in an energy-scarce world, cars will shift in
styling,” Fambro says. “Twenty years from now, we’ll look at cars that
waste energy the way we look at litter today. They will make us feel

Well, perhaps the best thing for this "eco-car" would be for the "Big Three"
to go backrupt and release both a pool of manufacturing facilities and a
pool of engineers and technicians.

One problem, of course, is that we aren't in an "energy-scarce" world by
western standards.   Energy is relatively cheap for us.   When you pretend
it isn't you take bad economic decisions.    While there may be a handful of
exceptions, most of the stuff installed in the 70s and 80s to take advantage
of take breaks for energy saving has been abandoned.   Obviously, insulation
is forever but how many folks bothered to replace a solar waterheater system
when it starting having problems?   Most just replaced it with gas or
electric (depending upon what's the locally cost effective solution.)

In Virginia, a few communities have gotten state permission to permit "golf
carts" to operate on the city street.  Where this happens, it's quite
popular although it still isn't permitted to cross state highway routes (in
Virginia, all public roads are state controlled but there is a hierarchy.)
Frankly, aero-dynamics doesn't make much difference in vehicles with a top
speed of 25 mph.  The benefit of the "golf carts" to the users are that they
don't require insurance.   That alone saves about $00/year.  Other
advantages include:  1)  they are FUN!; and 2) they are permitted to park on
wide sidewalks.

Perhaps the "alternative" folks should support those who want to increase
the permitted places where these "golf carts" can go.    If grandma could go
10 miles down the road to a doctor's appt. and then shopping in her "golf
cart" maybe she can be talked into giving up her conventional automobile.

Historially speaking, many attribute the success of the gas powered car in
the US with the previous "fad" of the bicycle.   Perhaps the success of the
"eco-cars" might come from an initial expansion of the use of "golf carts."

Posted by z on March 3, 2009, 5:11 am

As long as we are in pursuit of livestock we can drive anything on the
roads here in the boonies of Oregon.  When we've been given shit by the
police for riding in a golf cart we just say we're looking for sheep :)

A lot of ranchers around here have been buying those daihatsu hijets

For getting around and feeding etc.. fantastic rides..great on gas -- like
an ATV with heat and rain protection (and a sterio!).. my buddies is 4x4
and gets through just about anything.  They are not even close to street
legal but they put a slow moving vehicle triangle on em and claim to be
looking for cows .. and bobs yer uncle.

Posted by Jim Wilkins on March 3, 2009, 2:51 pm
I'd like that for power wheel chairs, Segways, etc, but here's the

People crash into cars stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate, even
cruisers with their lights flashing.

Jim Wilkins

Posted by John Gilmer on March 3, 2009, 7:19 pm

cruisers with their lights flashing.

One problem with making a light car relative "safe" in an encounter with a
"big iron" car is that much of the road efficiency is due to its being

I wonder just how safe you could make a basic golf cart without making the
price skyrocket?  Would the lack of a need to "streamlining" contribute to
the savings?


BTW:  I don't think I want grandma going down the interstate in her golf

But while running into a parked car often makes the news, in practice it
just doesn't happen very often.

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