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Transparent engineering illustration of Aptera electric propulsion system

APTERA: The Dream Reborn

Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony team up again to bring the world one of the most efficient electric cars ever created, only this time, it's even better and can be powered by the sun alone.


It's been more than a decade since Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony introduced the super sleek Aptera electric three-wheeler. It was during that twilight period between the end of the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate and the debut of GM's Volt and Nissan's LEAF. Tesla had just rolled out its Roadster, adapting a Lotus Elise, giving it an electric powertrain with technology borrowed from AC Propulsion's landmark T-Zero.

Where Tesla and ACP followed a familiar planeform, Aptera chose to take its cue from an entirely different class of vehicles: super-efficient Eco-marathoners, but engineered for the highway and not just the racetrack. Debuted in 2006, the company would generate its share of media publicity and excitement only to find itself sidelined during the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition in 2010, losing out to Li-Ion Motors.

Its future would become even more clouded as it lost its bid for funding under a federal program designed to advance high-efficiency American automotive technology. By 2011, it would close its doors and eventually sell its Intellectual Property (IP) to a Chinese company, that would, itself, sink into obscurity. But this would eventually present the original founders with the opportunity to revive their dream.

In the interim between the 2011 liquidation, which Fambro and Anthony were no longer a part of, technology had evolved to the point that it would be feasible to not only improve how the car is built but also how it's powered, including in-wheel motors on all three wheels, a 1000-mile battery range, and the capability of being charged only by the sun.

Solar-powered Aptera electric car

In this nearly 40-minute interview, Steve and Chris bring EV World up-to-date on their plans to bring back a much-improved Aptera, including eventually applying their technology to a larger, more-conventional five-passenger car, but only after they're solidly on their feet and production of their game-changer well in hand.

Want to invest in the new Aptera? Check out their WeFunder.com page.

First Published: 2020-03-28

Pages Viewed: 15568

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