Friday, January 23, 2009

Welcome to the future


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 superstreamlined 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.

That's a bit rich for my blood, I live in the wrong state, and really need something that can lug around three kids and assorted household livestock. But hey, it's a belated good start. For folks who are getting a bit giddy about oil at $40-something per barrel, and gasoline at $1.75 per gallon, the appeal of this vehicle won't be immediately apparent. For the rest of us who consider the current prices to be the proverbial eye of the hurricane, auto manufacturers can't get electric vehicles on the market a moment too soon. Y'all need to do something about those vehicle prices, though, for those of us who aren't privileged with six-figure incomes. Just sayin'.

Also, on the off chance that any policy maker might read this blog, study the rail systems in Western Europe. Those cats are down with some seriously rapid and relatively green mass transit that makes automobiles unnecessary in many circumstances - a good thing if we wish to make the most of our dwindling resources.

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