MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 2:46 pm
I found it interesting to look back at past vehicles and consider which ones have DNA similar to the Aptera. I’m curious if other reservation holders have owned any of these “Aptera Distant Cousins”.
In no particular order:
The Two Seater Gene
Mazda Miata — A simple and reliable Japanese version of a Lotus Elan
Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice
Honda Insight (2000-2006) version
Lotus — Europa, Elan, Esprit, Elise, Evora (Yes, they love the letter “E”.)
The Lightweight Gene
Honda Insight (2000-2006) version is about 1,850 – 1,925 lbs.
Lotus — Elan (1,900-2,200 lbs), Europa (1,350-1,570 lbs.), and Elise (about 2,000 lbs.)
Mazda Miata 2400 lbs. — steel body vs. aluminum for Honda and composite for Lotus
The Three-wheel Gene
Dymaxion — Buckminster Fuller design from 1933 (two front wheels with single rear) – only 3 prototypes were built
Davis Divan — made in 1948 (single front wheel and two rear wheels) – only 16 were made
Reliant Robin — (single front wheel and two rear wheels) – made in England for 30 yrs.
Morgan — (two front wheels with single rear) – made in England
Pulse — two main wheels with two small outrigger wheels; like Aptera it was classified as Motorcycle in most states despite its having 4 wheels
The Aerodynamics Gene
Saab 96 (0.32 coefficient of drag)
Lotus Europa (0.29 coefficient of drag)
Honda Insight (0.25 coefficient of drag)
Pulse (0.193 coefficient of drag) Vehicle was manufactured between 1982-1990
The EV Gene
Toyota Prius (yeah, I know — not a pure EV but initially had a futuristic vibe like the Aptera)
Gizmo EV — a three-wheeler with lead-acid batteries
Any Tesla model
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 3:28 pm
I have a Kia Niro EV…
But what about the Vanderhall Edison 2? It’s electric… 3 wheeler…
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 5:05 pm
Excellent, Peter. The Niro EV hasn’t been available here in Ohio, but I’ve read the favorable reviews. I trust you like yours. I check out Jay Leno’s Garage regularly. Sorry I missed the Vanderhall Edison2. I’ll view the video.
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 5:12 pm
Nifty option that Vanderhall Edison2. It’s kind of a Caterham minus one wheel. The open cockpit and lack of luggage space means it wouldn’t be something I’d choose. However, it looks like a lot of fun to drive.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 7:28 am
I believe it’s now available in all 50 states as of last year. I’m in Utah and it used to be unavailable here. They only had one though and I didn’t like the color so I flew to Colorado next door because they had a bunch and much better prices and drove it home… The Kona EV is still not available here though. It’s really not a big deal to go out-of-state to get the car you want.
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 7:54 pm
I owned a Lotus Europa in the mid 70’s. In the shop as much as on the road so I hope Aptera does not have any of those genes. It was the best handling care I ever owned and the most fun to drive. Also Honda insight Gen 1. Great car. I consider it the forerunner of the Aptera. Ground breaking technology, two seater, with storage behind the seats, aerodynamic for its time, and light aluminum body. Also a 2012 Nissan Leaf. Disappointing then and still is.
The best engineered car owned was a Toyota Prius. It is now on its third generation. (Me, my daughter, now my grandson) only changed the oil and tires, and did scheduled maintenance. Nothing ever broke on it. Now with 260,000 miles. Those genes I would like to see passed on to the Aptera.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 5:51 am
John we must be brothers from another mother. LOL. I had a Lotus Elan Plus2 and 3 Honda Insights First Gen (not all at the same time). Later, I got good service out of a first Gen Chevy Volt. Currently driving a Hyundai Ioniq hybrid that has proven very reliable. It will be passing on to another owner once I take delivery on the Aptera. In retrospective I’ve always been a sucker for efficiency and engineering over pure flash and fashion.
MemberOctober 7, 2021 at 8:03 pm
First, any of the first round of EVs, including compliance cars like the Fiat 500e (for all intents and purposes a 2-seater) and the Smart four 2 EV – which was not only an EV but a two-seater are cars that appealed to early adopters. (As a 2-seater the ICE-powered Smart Fourtwo has sold over 1,000,000 units world wide in the last 20 or so years).
The Chevy Volt went a long way toward rebuilding GM’s reputation as the company that killed the electric car. BTW: I don’t think anyone ‘owned’ a Chevrolet EV1 as GM recalled all but a few examples destined for museums as all were leased and crushed.
You also left the SparkEV of which only a little over 7,400 examples were made from your list. This was the first Chevy pure EV available for ownership. It even won the KBB award in ’14 and ’15 among plug-ins for five year cost of ownership and that was based on the depreciation of ICE-powered Sparks. This low cost of ownership is confirmed by my experience as the ’14 Spark EV I bought three years ago with just over 10,000 miles actually is retailing at 51,000 miles for more than the $9,000 I paid.
My expenses? Eight (cheap) all-weather tires (heavy foot combined with the ability to get scratch at >45mph) and a wheel bearing. The cost of the electricity was totally off-set by the special EV-rate offered by my EMC – I.e. my overall electric bill is smaller now than it was before I got the EV.
Bottom line, this car makes me believe Elon Musk might be right when he suggested people might buy EVs as an investment. I mean, if I could sell mine for the same $10,500 advertised on Carvana, I’d come out with a profit for driving the car 40,000 miles.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 8:25 am
Hi, George. Happy to hear of your good experience with the Spark EV. I knew I would overlook any number of EV’s prior to Aptera. Embarrassed to admit a good friend of my wife’s owns a Spark EV AND a Telsa Model 3 yet I forgot to add it to the list.
Per your correct comment on the EV1 being a lease only vehicle, I did see “Who Killed the Electric Car” which makes it clear that you’re right. No one “owned” an EV1 with exception of a museum or two. On the EV1 front, here’s a little known factoid: John Wayland grafted an EV1 motor and sundries (have no idea how he managed to get those pieces) into a Honda Insight a few years ago, packed it with lots of lithium-polymer batteries to get a target range of 400 miles. The finished vehicle only weighed about 2800 lbs as I recall.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 10:04 am
My FWD 1969 Saab 96 was a great snow car. The Ford V4 engine and freewheel option combined for great gas mileage, compared with most other cars of that time. Skinny tall tires, a clean undercarriage, wheel wells designed to reduce snow buildup, a great heater and defroster. Included Headrests and shoulder belts before any American cars. No wonder it was a successful rally car. Plus the back seat could be removed to haul lumber. Later Saabs lost their aircraft inspired design.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 11:58 am
Hi, James. Nothing like a Swedish winter to inspire a great heater and defroster, eh? My first car was a Volvo 122S. I was really jazzed when I discovered it had a pull chain under the dash that unrolled a rubber sheet from a window blind mechanism to block the radiator so you’d get a quicker warm-up in the winter. Clever Swedish engineers. Simple, but effective. I think the heating and defrosting for the Aptera will be an interesting challenge as electric heat can draw a great deal of power and that would be contrary to the Aptera efficiency mantra.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 10:51 am
I’ve never owned a sports car. I was never a car guy, it wasn’t until I stumbled onto the Volt that I got interested, that’s because I’m a tech guy and EVs are a tech product as well as a car. For all of my life I regarded a car as a consumable of no particular interest, I’d buy a new one and drive it until it had to be towed away which would be in 10 or 11 years when everything would start to fail. Each new car was a little better than the last one but I never felt the need to buy a luxury car, I didn’t see them having value for money. The end of the ICE line for me was a Chrysler 300C which I bought in 2005, I wanted a V8 before they were banned. When the 300C was about to die I traded it in on a Volt, that was the first trade in that I ever did but it was a near thing. It would have failed it’s next inspection because the catalytic converters were shot. My father was the same way, every car he ever owned was towed away. One was even towed away by the police from in front of our house because a neighbor had reported it as abandoned, they could believe that anyone on our block would drive a rusty sh*tbox like that.
Finding the Volt was an accident. When the service people at a Chrysler dealer gave me the bad news about my 300C I went upstairs and test drove the 2016 300, it was awful. Mine was a Daimler Chrysler and the new one was a Fiat Chrysler and the difference was apparent. It was the new eight speed transmission that put me off because it was constantly hunting for gears. I then went across the street to the Chevy dealer, I asked them if they had any AWD sedans and they said no, I turned around and started to walk out when I saw a poster for the Volt. At the time I knew nothing about EVs and they weren’t on my radar because I thought they would be like the Prius which I had test driven the last time I was car shopping, the Prius terrified me because of it’s awful performance. As a lark I asked to test drive the Volt, as soon as I put my foot down I realized that there was a paradigm shift. It was quick and silent an importantly had no transmission so it was smooth. I then did my due diligence and test drove a Honda, a Cadillac and an Audi as well as testing the Volt again. Only the Audi didn’t have transmission problems because they were still using a five speed, but it still had the transmission hump down the center and it just didn’t feel as good as the Volt. I bought the Volt and that turned me into an EV enthusiast. The Volt was a bit frustrating because it didn’t have quite enough EV range, in the summer I could push it to 72 miles by taking back roads instead of highways but in winter I could only get 60 miles if I kept the heat off which was one block short of being able to do my once a week commute, I’d get to the head of my street and the engine turned on. The Volt was great in electric mode but when the engine turned on it’s noise annoyed the hell out of me.
After I bought the Volt I started to monitor the SuperCharger network to see when it would be good enough in New England for me to get a Tesla. It took three years but in 2019 Maine got lit up and that’s when I bought a Model 3 AWD. I gave the Volt to my sister because for the first time in my life I bought a new car before the old one was a pile of junk.
I’ve reached the point in my life when I’m willing to buy a car for fun not just necessity which is why I’m interested in the Aptera. It would be the first thing that I’ve owned that will be sports car like and with a 600 mile range it will free me from having to plan my weekly trips around SuperChargers.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm
Joshua, I’m impressed you could get 72 electric miles from your Volt. Was it the 2nd or 1st generation? I had the first gen Volt and could manage 40-45 electric miles being real careful. I’ve always been easy on the gas pedal — more interested in playing the game of how many mpg’s I could get than 0-60 times.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm
It was a 2017, second generation. I got that consistently on my commute in summer. It was a 60 mile round trip, I would arrive home with 12 miles of range left. I took all back roads, minimized braking and relied on regen braking as much as I could. In my Model 3 AWD I’ve averaged 228Wh/mile over the last 9000 miles and 234Wh/mile for the life of the car. That’s better than the EPA range for a M3 but not nearly as much better than I got on the Volt. Chevy left a lot on the table when they rated the Volt, Tesla doesn’t leave anything. My driving in the M3 is mostly weekend roadtrips which are half highway and half back roads. I’m hoping to get 80-90Wh/mile on the Aptera.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Thanks for compiling the list, Ray!
Proud owner of a Miata and Leaf. Always wondered what it would be like to put the two together…
My parents saw 1 of the 16 Davis’ at the Chatanooga Motorcar Festival and had to show me! I’ll see if I can find that picture.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:24 pm
Jay Leno has a Davis, you can find it on Youtube. The Davis was terrifying, in the video the other person asks if it will roll over at high speed and his answer is that he has to be careful not to roll it over at low speed.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 2:36 pm
You’re welcome, Davis. I’ve been thinking that if I were artistic, it would be a hoot to render some sort of evolutionary tree diagram to map the roots that bear fruit as the Aptera design. Got major respect for these guys for picking a design direction and sticking to it. There’s a beautiful purity and honesty about the current Aptera design.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 1:55 pm
None of those mentioned, but we own a classic Mini. It revolutionized lightweight car design while maximizing passenger space.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 2:32 pm
Michael, I had a classic Mini for a time and later the BMW version. BIG fun in those. The original Mini was a breakthrough design in 1959. The Aptera is clearly breaking new ground in a similar vein.
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 2:56 pm
I owned a 2001 Honda Insight with the 5 speed manual transmission. It was an awesome car to drive, and the mileage was still far above any other gas burning car we’ve ever owned. I made a road trip through the Rockies that was over 72 MPG, and lifetime I think I had something around 68 MPG. It was also fun to drive (very “tossable” due to the lightweight and basically 50/50 weight distribution. It wasn’t fast though, with 0-60 times up in the 10.5 second range, but it was super quick off the line and 0-30 speed was quite fast (because you could hit 30 at redline in first gear :). My dad gave it the nickname of “silver bullet” (which I might reuse for my Luna Aptera).
We’ve also owned several Priuses (Prii?): A first gen, a second gen, and we still own a third gen from 2014. Not exciting, but decent mileage and very dependable. The 2014 is a very nice road trip car, with the full tech package and “Dynamic Cruise Control” (Level 1 autonomous driving).
And I’ve been driving Nissan Leafs since 2011 (leased a 2011, then leased a 2014, and currently own a 2018). I love the E-Pedal in the 2018, and the “ProPilot” is pretty good (Level 2 autonomous). These are great city cars, good for commuting and driving in the metro area (the 2018 has about 145 miles range after 3 years, although I’ve put less than 1000 miles on it since the start of the pandemic, so it might not be typical).
MemberOctober 8, 2021 at 3:01 pm
I got a 2000 (Gen1) Insight in 2015, loved it, took it to L.A. and back a couple of times. Had a Honda CRX before that, for a short time, but with less success. Was on the electric quest even earlier: converted a Yamaha 650 to 72-volt EV in 2008.
MemberOctober 9, 2021 at 10:26 am
Hi, Ken. Sounds like you have more DIY skills than me. Closest I could come your Yamaha 650 conversion was the electric, recumbent trike I used to have.
MemberOctober 9, 2021 at 3:18 pm
Add to the list a Lotus Eleven (mine is a Westfield replica). Photos exist of Keith Duckworth sprawled across the hood of an Eleven with Colin Chapman driving down a runway. Keith, an aerodynamicist who designed the body was looking at tuffs of yarn all over the body and checking airflow. At somewhere around 1100 pounds it is a light weight, about 100hp (1098cc), and Stirling Moss drove it over 141 mph around Monza in the late ‘50s.
My list has included past ownership of a Miata, Honda CRX, 1st gen. Insight, 2nd gen. Insight, and a S1 Lotus Europa. Current stable is a Lotus Esprit Turbo and the Westfield Eleven.
MemberOctober 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Don, I have Lotus envy. Always wanted an Esprit — even one that wasn’t a submarine (nod to Roger Moore going underwater in one of the James Bond movies).
MemberOctober 10, 2021 at 10:17 am
I hope the Aptera marketing folks have seen the responses in this thread since they paint a very telling portrait of the past vehicle preferences of current Aptera reservation holders. Here’s a few pics of vehicles that have been mentioned. The white Twike is actually an EV that can be pedaled also.
MemberOctober 11, 2021 at 12:44 pm
I have a ’17 Chevy Volt, which I love for the ability to travel almost exclusively on electric and only fuel up on long road trips. It’s unfortunate that GM prematurely discontinued it. If it was upgraded to a true fast charge and got a little more battery in it, it would be a great transition vehicle until all go electric.
MemberOctober 11, 2021 at 2:14 pm
Hi, Jeremiah. I had a very good ownership experience with my 2014 Volt. It was the first gen. My only complaint was the engine was somewhat rough running and noisy once the batteries were depleted. Also, premium fuel was recommended.
I did drive a 2016 model like your 2017 when it first came out and it was much smoother running on gas and was happy with regular unleaded. The showstopper for me was it was significantly smaller in the interior compared to my old 2014 and I needed a bit more carrying space. Overall I good improvement on the first gen. It is too bad GM dropped it.
MemberOctober 11, 2021 at 4:14 pm
I owned a first generation Honda CRX Si which had a curb weight of 1900lbs which is very close to the Aptera. And both also share a similar 2 seats up front with cargo in the back hatchback format.
But there the comparison ends as the CRX had a 0.33 coefficient of drag and a 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds. And it was definitely not an EV.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 6:33 am
Hi, Scott. I had a CRX HF (H.F. = high fuel mileage) model and regularly got in the high 40’s mpg. I remember selling it to a nice kid in his early 20’s who groused about how it didn’t have enough pickup for his taste. Guess he was expecting it to be the CRX SI model;)
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 9:31 am
I am surprised that in the two-seater list, a wide range of very successful cars were left off. Our favorite, was a 2002 Porsche Boxster that we drove for over a decade throughout Europe. Small but comfortable interior. Front and back trunks. Great travel machine. For me, Aptera is a two-seat sports car with, possibly, even better performance and roughly half the price. Nowadays, the Boxster/Cayman interior is fancy to the point of being gaudy, so I value the Aptera’s simplicity, closer to our 2002 Porsche. Of course, the best example might be the original Porsche “bathtub” or, my very first car, a MG TD.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 12:31 pm
Hi, John. I knew my initial list was just to get the ball rolling and would not be a complete list. Generally, Porsches have been a bit above my pay grade but a classic 911 is still on my wife’s “why don’t you buy me one for my birthday” list — she got flowers instead. Man, your mention of the MG TD takes me back. Just out of college, I was an apprentice mechanic for a sports car shop where I had the opportunity to work on a MGA twin cam. I thought it was as cool as cool could be. The MG TD was a late 50’s item wasn’t it? Definitely lightweight.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 1:49 pm
Suprised theres not already an Insight owners club on here.
I have been dailying mine for the past 4 years averaging 50-60mpg. got 72mpg out of a 120 mile trip once.. I drive it too hard haha. Sought the citrus green one when I decided I needed an Insight when my commute got crazy.
(2 seater)Also have a Suzuki Cappuccino. Smaller and more efficient than a miata, and with a turbo.
Plan on getting a Reliant Robin/Rialto soon.
Insight, fun, unique, efficient.
Aptera, Craxy fun unique efficient and fast.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 3:38 pm
Joshua, nothing like little fun cars, eh? I have a friend who, believe it or not, has a citrus Insight with less than 200 miles on it. He’s been offered $25K US for it and turned the offer down. Now that’s an Insight fan in the extreme.
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 4:31 pm
Another EV Gene Corbin Sparrow around 20 years ago
3 wheel 144 volts
MemberOctober 12, 2021 at 4:50 pm
It’s been a long strange trip. I had a deposit on one of these. Reports of problems with early production examples convinced me to get my deposit back after waiting for about a year for the factory to deliver. The company went bankrupt soon after.
To bring the Corbin story up to date, Dana Myers, an Ohio businessman, bought the assets of Corbin Sparrow once that California-based company went belly up. Mr. Myers is apparently still in business with a more refined version(s) at: https://www.myersev.com/about.html
Have no idea about how good, bad, or indifferent his latest version are in production form. Guess the moral of the story is that it’s not easy to produce a low-volume EV and stay in business.