Aptera Motors has rolled out the first pre-production model of the 2e, an all-electric three-wheeled two-seater that gets the equivalent of 200 mpg and goes 100 miles on a charge. It’s a significant milestone for the Southern California startup, which plans to put the first cars in driveways by Halloween and looks like a contender to win the $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize. “Everything is progressing nicely as we ramp up for full production of the 2e beginning in October,” says chief marketing officer Marques McCammon. “We’re still on target to build an ultra-efficient, high-mileage vehicle without sacrificing comfort and safety, and once Californians get behind the wheel this fall, we expect to change the world of commuter transportation.” In recent months, it has become clear that automakers big and small are focusing on electric vehicles as the next evolution of the automobile. If Aptera manages delivering its super streamlined cars nine months from now, the 2e will be among the first mass-market, relatively affordable (at $25,000 to $45,000) EVs on the road. And that would be a testament to the power of the $10 million X-Prize to spur innovation. The 3-year-old company funded by Google, Idealab and others is among at least 20 teams competing in the X-Prize race to build the world’s first mass production-ready vehicle that exceeds 100 mpg.
Most of the major automakers rolled into the Detroit auto show with EV concept cars, with Ford and Chrysler among the companies promising to begin putting cars with cords on the road in 2010. Tesla Motors has been building its all-electric Roadster for almost a year now, and Fisker Automotive says it will begin producing its $87,900 plug-in hybrid next fall. But despite their advanced drive trains, all those vehicles look like regular cars. The 2e is like nothing else in the auto industry, which might be why it scored a cameo in Star Trek. With its sleek, three-wheeled design, the 2e looks like something Spock might cruise around in. A lithium-ion battery powers an electric motor that can propel the car from zero to 60 in less than 10 seconds on its way to a top speed of 90 mph. (Read more HERE)