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The Aptera

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DavidV
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Falling in love with an inanimate object is rather strange.

I remember the Tucker (an automobile and I am dating myself).

I will believe in Aptera's when I see them on the street. I will still get better mileage on my bike. Ten kilometers to the cookie.

Bob Kolker

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I will still get better mileage on my bike. Ten kilometers to the cookie.

In terms of mass, volume, or what? I don't think you really do. In terms of fuel volume, mass, or CO2 output, a motorcycle or an efficient car beats human power.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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An interesting vehicle...I'm looking forward to going over actual specs, though the mention of a diesel power plant, irregardless of how minuscule, is somewhat disenchanting given their (diesels') infamy with CO2/particulate matter emissions, which is greater than that of petrol/gas burning engine.

Several other engineers, enterprising entrepreneurs and even automobile manufacturers, have toyed with the idea of mass producing a "micro-car", possibly foreseeing it's inevitability with the rationale that our Earth's oil resources are finite and planning ahead to fill the impending ("?") niche.

A couple of the more so (IMHO) promising ones are the Kneeslider, which is an electric powered vehicle, or BMW's C.L.E.V.E.R., which runs on compressed natural gas.

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  • 1 month later...
In terms of mass, volume, or what? I don't think you really do. In terms of fuel volume, mass, or CO2 output, a motorcycle or an efficient car beats human power.

Not so. I get more miles per calorie on my bike than you get with your car. Why? Because most of the petrol you burn is for moving dead weight and not your body. You probably weight about two percent of the total weight of your car. So that is a dead weight to live cargo ratio of 49:1. On the other hand my bike weighs less that 1/6 what I do. Less dead weight.

Bob Kolker

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The car has it's appeal (aeroplane/cockpit style cabin-aesthetics, acceleration, and the use of a heat pump for interior climate needs is ingenious), yet it's overall size is somewhat intimidating/daunting given the predominant LARGER-sized vehicles on the roadways, so I perhaps can see a marketable application for it in the future in some parts of the world, if not all, e.g., taking the place of the motorcycle, though there are a few competitors already weighing in on this niche: Think Nordic > http://www.think.no/; The REVA > http://www.revaindia.com/; The Corbin Sparrow > http://www.corbinsparrow.com/; The CityEl > http://www.cityel-import.dk/ (German translation required), just to name a few, though there are more out there.

The obstacle to adaptation of such vehicles in the United States is less technical than cultural and political. The mandates by regulatory powers that such vehicles meet full U.S. safety regulations ensures the unavailability of vehicles suitable for use in the mixed traffic conditions that predominate in U.S. suburban areas.

As I've said before, it's the "size" thing that gets me (and likely several other commuters around the world), though I can see a ready market for motorcycle replacement, but for my tastes I'd prefer something that it already somewhat more so market friendly, i.e., The Tesla: http://www.teslamotors.com/ (for the "sports car" enthusiasts amongst us), or the Eliica: http://www.eliica.com/ (for the more so conservative/family/business class amongst us who hasn't yet let go of their youthful vigor). Either (or both) of these would do one quite nicely both in today's world, as well as the future...and I've got video too:

Tesla > http://www.pcplanets.com/videoyoutube-The-...l_1S10jTk.shtml

Eliica > http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2539535432368595777

Edited by -archimedes-
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I'm all for economically efficient and enviro-friendly vehicles

BUT

They all look like toys! I don't want to drive something that looks like it came from a cheesy 80's flick! Even the newer cars you can buy right now, they're all rounded off and they look like they're made out of plastic.

I want my mega-future-car to look like this:

1990-92-Oldsmobile-Toronado-Trofeo-90128201990108.jpg

That's my kinda car. The squarish edges make it look masculine, yet intelligent. No big gaudy fiberglass frame, no cartoonish headlights, no balloon-like tire skirts, just a clean-cut, efficient machine that does it's job well and has no desire to double as an oversized ornament. That's like the kind of car Howard Roark would drive. These new-wave eco-cars look ridiculous.

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I think you’re confused about the reason that modern cars are streamlined and plasticized. The primary limitations of a vehicle’s performance are its weight and drag coefficient. Today’s lighter and more aerodynamic cars are therefore much more efficient per-pound and per-horsepower than 80’s cars. Their aesthetic appeal (to me) follows directly from their function.

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Not so. I get more miles per calorie on my bike than you get with your car. Why? Because most of the petrol you burn is for moving dead weight and not your body. You probably weight about two percent of the total weight of your car. So that is a dead weight to live cargo ratio of 49:1. On the other hand my bike weighs less that 1/6 what I do. Less dead weight.

Nevertheless, gasoline is so much more efficient as a fuel source than food that driving can be a more efficient activity. There is a study that demonstrated this, though I don’t have the link now. If you consider that a Honda Civic gets 45mpg, that’s not so implausible. By the way, the curb weight of a Honda Civic is 2600lbs, so it’s far less than 50 times my weight.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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I'm all for economically efficient and enviro-friendly vehicles BUT they all look like toys!

That's being exceedingly generous.

I don't want to drive something that looks like it came from a cheesy 80's flick! ... I want my mega-future-car to look like this... That's my kinda car. The squarish edges make it look masculine, yet intelligent.

Er... that car (and the photo itself) looks like a refugee from the 80's. It looks like something Jackie Chan would have driven back then... in a cheesy flick.

That's like the kind of car Howard Roark would drive.

I always got the impression that Roark would drive a much-loved, beat-up ute open-tray SUV, such as a smaller version of the Ford F100.

JJM

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I'd drive a hot pink ice cream truck if it got 300 miles to the gallon.

Before one gets to that kind of mileage the cash savings on fuel costs become small in absolute terms and so their actual value comes into question. Assume 350 m/week and $3/g. If technology improves standard engines a bit, compare getting say 50mpg driving in style and/or in decent creature comfort at a fuel cost of say $21 per week versus 300mpg driving some godawful econobubble at a fuel cost of $3.50 per week. I doubt if for most people the PITA factor of being couped up in one of those bubbles for 10 hours plus per week would be worth $17.50 per week - especially not for the well-heeled types with the kind of money that it takes to buy and maintain one of those econobubbles.

If you think the ability to drive for solid 12 hour stretches without stopping is of much practical value, try taking a lady-friend along with you on one of these trips and ask her opinion at about halfway through.

An economic vehicle that does have style and creature comforts would be another story, though there's still the capital cost factor - and the opinion of one's lady-friends.

JJM

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