Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Future of Transportation, Electrics

The Aptera, which I covered here a bit back, is only a step away from full production, with 2400 deposits for vehicles in hand. You have to admit the think has a certain kind of Jetsons charm about it:
and in this state, it's a motorcycle, which frees it from a huge load of federal regulation, and allows it to be driven in the carpool lanes with only one person on board. The drawbacks, at present, are that it's an electric, with a limited range although they talk about 100 miles between overnight charges. The usual caveat is that the best range comes at very modest speeds with no starting and stopping, and the top speed, whatever it is, usually cuts the range severely.

Still, the thing has a certain charm about it, and I could imagine a dedicated gearhead finding a water-cooled motorcycle engine that could be adapted in to replace the battery pack and electric motor.

Imagine a Yamaha VMAX engine. Imagine what this thing handles like at 200 mph.

O.K. let's be reasonable. How about a 600cc twin? Adequate torque, plenty of horses, and probably 50-60 mpg under normal conditions.

A 350cc single would probably work just fine.

Crashworthiness? Hey! Keep in mind that it's a motorcycle. Even so, the structure does wrap all the way around, and seat belts are probably included. Even so, in some states, you're required to wear a helmet while driving this on the streets. Might as well go for the big motor and make the helmet more of a necessity.

Oh and that "step away? It's a $122M loan from the DOE to get the line up and running. At $30K/ea, retail, that's a lot of vehicles to sell to pay it off. Still, I suppose they could get a bailout if sales didn't meet expectations.

I wonder what an engineless, batteryless platform, sold as a kit would run?

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