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Google.org Invests $2.75M In Aptera Motors

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the hoping-for-a-smooth-ride dept.

Transportation 110

Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, has just invested the first funds from its RechargeIT program: $5.5 million for plug-in electric vehicles. Half of the money goes to Aptera, whose 230-mpg, 3-wheeled electric we have discussed before. The other half bolsters the efforts of ActaCell, a Texas company working on li-ion battery technology developed at UT Austin.

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pirst fost (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320245)

So tempting.

I said it once and I'll say it again (3, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320293)

If they want to sell more of those Apteras to people besides the 'OMGTHEENVIROMENT' groups, they will seriously have to give that vehicle a better look.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (5, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320485)

I'm part of the 'OMGFOURFIFTYAFUCKINGGALLON' group, and I'm okay with its appearance. Paint it black, throw a skull and flame job on it, and I'll drive it.

-Rick

Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#24325381)

And people are still happy to run around in their Chelsea tractors. It can't be all that expensive.

 

Re:Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24325597)

LOL, I'll admit it, I had to google 'Chelsea tractors' ;)

I've never been to the UK, but I did spend a bit of time in Germany and a year in Japan. All in all, driving in the US vs driving in Germany (Frankfurt) and Japan is looked at in entirely different lights.

For example, my round trip commute is 64 miles. Even in my VW Golf TDI I'm still looking at about 1.5 gallons a day and that's if I go straight to and from work. Going to a theater is a 40 mile round trip. Going to a large grocery is a 36 mile trip.

When I was in Germany, the family I lived with had 1 car, and it was only driven on rainy days and weekends. Every other day it was bicycles and foot. I walked to school, I walked to the train station, I walked to the beer gardens.... mmm beer gardens... where was I? Oh yeah, the whole time I was in Germany, I think I road in a car maybe 5 times, twice for the air port, once to head to Bavaria, again to head for France, and one other time that had little to do with driving ;) So even though gas was twice as expensive as I was use to (I think it was about 1.30DM/l) we drove so little that it didn't matter.

Same thing in Japan. I road in a car twice the whole time I was in Japan. Everything else was walking or mass/arranged transit.

So driving a 12MPG hog sucks, but driving it 10 miles round trip or only on weekends isn't nearly as bad as racking up 15,000 miles a year commuting here in the US. Sure, some people can afford $3000-5000 annual gas bills, but me? I'd much rather dive something that cuts that bill way back, even if it is function over form.

-Rick

Re:Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#24335217)

For example, my round trip commute is 64 miles. Even in my VW Golf TDI I'm still looking at about 1.5 gallons a day and that's if I go straight to and from work. Going to a theater is a 40 mile round trip. Going to a large grocery is a 36 mile trip.

Holy Nuts, 36 miles to a grocery store, do you live in the middle of nowhere, or have zoning laws gone that beserk? Is this typical in the US?

Re:Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24336603)

There are plenty of tiny little towns, even in crowded New England, that have as their 'grocery store' something that's just a bit larger than a typical convenience store, with a Wal-Mart as either the only or one of the few larger options that are in the next big town that is, in fact, 40 miles away. These aren't oft-ballyhooed suburbs; these are isolated rural areas that might be mostly farms or wilderness.

Re:Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24336763)

36 miles to a large grocery store. One with highly competitive prices and a much larger selection.

We have a decent sized grocery store in town, maybe 2-3 miles away. The prices are a bit higher, and the selection isn't quite as nice, but we can manage to feed ourselves from it. But any time we are looking for something specific that is out side of the most profitable lines, it means driving in to the larger store.

And we have a little quicky-mart 3 blocks away we can go to for milk and bread, but it costs twice as much there as the place 3 miles away.

I'd say this situation is very common in the US. Sure, inside a larger city you will be closer to all of the standard services, but if you live in a smaller community, or out in the country, you deal with lesser services, or you drive to the larger cities for greater services.

And then you have to balance out the cost differences. Is the additional fuel I burn going an extra 30 miles to the larger store going to cost more than the savings I get from paying less for my groceries?

For the vast majority of Americans, the word "go" is synonymous with "drive".

There are some exceptions though, public transportation is decent in some areas. When I lived in Washington, DC, I only ever drove in town when I was going out to party (return trips were after the metro shut down for the night). But almost everything else I did I could walk or take the metro system for. I had some friends from New York city who said they hated having a car, parking was impossible, and when someone stole their car after 3 months of living in an apartment, they took the insurance money and just stuck to the subway and buses.

-Rick

Re:Gas is around $9 per US gallon in the UK (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24333733)

Define happy - I hear plenty of moaning about the price of fuel and calls and petitions to have it lowered (by reducing the tax on it, which makes up a large proportion of the price).

I have to admit to feeling very little sympathy for the Chelsea tractor set though...

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (3, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320487)

Yes, it needs to look like a Hummer H1. And still have a 0.11 drag coefficient.

Seriously, what's wrong with form-follows-function? The Prius was considered ugly when it was first released; now it's the sexy, trendy car to own.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (4, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320745)

The Prius might be the trendy car to own, but its still ugly.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321697)

I disagree. I think it looks cool.

See? [automotive.com]

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322121)

I'm sure there are people that agree with you, but I'd imagine that people aren't buying it because of how it looks.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | more than 6 years ago | (#24323305)

The Prius is ugly. My 1969 Cadillac Coupe DeVille Convertible is cool.

However my 69 Caddy only gets 7mpg of super.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#24324971)

It's still fugly, I don't see how your photo proves otherwise. Just because hollywood douchebags are all over it doesn't mean it's not ugly. It's only when one adds some sexy models to spice things up that looking at the Prius becomes bearable, like so [imageshack.us] . Much better.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24325353)

Its a fucking CAR, not a woman, for fucks sake. How much can looks really matter? I own a Prius, and I think its fine. The only car that I think is REALLY ugly is the PT Cruiser, because its like the designers wanted to go back in time, but decided to pick a crap car design from back then, not one of the sweet ones.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24331507)

Prius Sucks!

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320911)

On a semi-related note, most Prius drivers I've seen have been as big of assholes on the road as most Hummer owners. And the way they typically drive (petal to the floor at take off, slam on the breaks at the last moment) completely negates the already negligible increased fuel efficiency the hybrid engine provides.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (3, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321385)

Though the electric assist and regenerative braking mitigates bad driving to some degree, I won't deny that most (American) Prius owners are trying more to be trendy than efficient.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (4, Informative)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321473)

I just got a Prius a couple of months ago. I've been doing city and mountain driving, including driving up Pikes Peak, and still average 47-50 mpg. Out in the flatlands on the highway I would get even better mileage.

It is larger than my old Saab 900 and still gets significantly better mileage (the Saab got 25-28 mpg in similar driving conditions). I typically got 270 miles per tank on the Saab (10 gallons) and now get 500 miles per tank on the Prius. How the heck is that insignificant??

Yeah, but what was (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24323975)

your saabs 0-60? I am sure it's less than the week it takes for the prius to get up and go. If you plant a tree sideways, and feed it a little miracle grow + it'll grow faster than a prius can accelerate.

I drove my friends 1st gen while he was in Alaska for a few months. 5k miles, got 55 avg w/ some freeway some intown driving split about 70/30. It was neet to have some feedback about how my driving helped or hurt my fuel economy, which did make me more concious of how I drive today.

Personally, I am one of those that belong to the "OMGifEveryoneHadAFuelComputerWe'dSavegas" group. :)

I do have to admit though, it wasn't that bad to drive. I just hope we get performance "CLOSE" to gas. While everyone would take a T-Zero or a Tesla, or an Electric crotchrocket, if we just got them up maybe 20% (bringing a prius to a 0-60 of what? 9 seconds?) People would be far more happier driving one.

(0-60 rant)
Why is 0-60 so important to me? I have to merge on the freeway daily from work through an uphill onramp that merges w/ an exit only lane that you have 100 yards to merge from that lane into the main freeway. I have lost count how many times I've been behind someone who ran out of room and tried to merge at 45 mph, almost killing them, panicking a trucker, and causing a massive amounts of stress, and now a backup on the freeway.
(/0-60 rant)

Re:Yeah, but what was (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24330367)

For me the real test will be heading west into the mountains on I-70. Pikes Peak was relatively easy since it was all low speed (30-35 mph max). I haven't driven west on I-70 yet in the Prius but in my old Saab (which was a 1990 900 without a turbo) I couldn't maintain the speed limit the whole time.

Accelerating is pretty decent if you want to floor it with the current generation of Prius. I don't often floor it but it was a test I did when trying one out for a test drive. I'm pretty sure it would get to 60 faster than my old Saab but I guess I could do a test to see (I still have my Saab too). The Saab is a manual so even though it doesn't have a ton of power I might be able to get to 60 faster with it but I doubt it.

Re:Yeah, but what was (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337011)

When I went over I-90 out here in WA, the Prius didn't do a bad job. I was honestly more worried about going down than up. While the regen braking works fine, it tops off the batteries rather quickly coming down. The pads (at least on gen 1) were so tiny and the car was so heavy that I wondered a few times if I was going to fast. It's a thought that I have only had one other time in my life, when I was 4yo on a bicycle and there was a small cliff in front of me.

Gratz on the new car btw!

The prius is a great way to showcase technology in a pretty comfortable ride.

As for shifting, you may be suprised, but I think the Prius' might have an edge there. You loose time on the torque curve when you shift. Even if your fast, .1 sec is .1 seconds. the CVT doesn't stop applying power, and I have really enjoyed that. You'll probably find it easyier in the pass w/ the prius because of that as well. Often cars will be "between gears" on a climb like that. (my old Datsun 210 was that way) The only real way is to ride the top of your rpm range then upshift w/ a small amount of clutch slip to keep the RPMs up... But do that once or twice and it's a trip to the clutch shop.

My wife drives a 99 civic HX (gas but w/ a prototype CVT) My only complaint is that it doesn't get to top RPM's fast, if you hold it down hard, the gauge "slowly" goes up to 5.5k or so, but once there, it scoots because it stays there until you remove your foot, or hit top speed. It's like a permanent powerband on a motorcycle. I so want to turbo that thing and take it from 75hp to 100hp. 8')

Re:Yeah, but what was (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24337559)

Thanks! Yea, it's definitely heavy. Going down Pikes Peak I tried doing a stupid experiment: relying solely on brakes heading down from the peak, not sure what the heck I was thinking. There's a stop along the way down where they check your brake temperatures and suggest that you wait x minutes to cool off if they are over 300 degrees F. Well mine were 600 degrees so had to wait 20 minutes. I downshifted the rest of the way down (there's a special 'B' mode for engine braking) so didn't have to use the brakes too much the rest of the way down.

I meant to try to do a 0-60 timed test today with the Prius but forgot my stopwatch. The shifting is very nice and smooth. Just having cruise control and A/C is nice -- both were broke in my old Saab when I bought it.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

T3hD0gg (908064) | more than 6 years ago | (#24338893)

If people are more interested in looks and still want great gas mileage, take a look at a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. It looks exactly like other Jettas but it has the same gas mileage as a Prius with greater torque.

500 miles to a tank? Oh, please... my dad gets 600 miles in his TDI.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24340197)

The TDI has a fuel tank that stores 14.5 gallons. The Prius stores 11.9 gallons.

Also, does he drive in the mountains? I do and I'm sure if I was in the coastal plains or Kansas I could get even better gas mileage.

The TDI is also a diesel which costs more than regular gas.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321527)

I don't doubt they're being stupid (especially the "slam-on-the-brakes" part), but sometimes it's actually a good idea to floor the accelerator in a hybrid because it makes sure the electric assist is fully engaged. I think it might apply more to manual-transmission Insights rather than Priuses, though: they say the way to drive an Insight is to floor it in 1st and 2nd, then shift straight to 5th once you're up to speed.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24324447)

I think it might apply more to manual-transmission Insights rather than Priuses, though: they say the way to drive an Insight is to floor it in 1st and 2nd, then shift straight to 5th once you're up to speed.

Well then maybe that means the Insight is the hybrid for me, since that's how I drive my gas-powered car today. =D

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24323509)

I say Prius owners are worse than Hummer owners. At least Hummer owners don't do the "pulse and glide" hypermiling BS that Prius peeps do on the road making it hard to get ahead or behind them in traffic. Plus, Hummers actually accelerate off the light, while most Prius drivers take for-fricken-ever to accelerate because they want the big numbers on their MPG gauge, even if forces people to merge in 65-70mph traffic at 45.

To boot, Priuses are just darn underpowered compared to other vehicles in its price range, such as BMW 3 (heck 5) series. Ironically BMW 3xx models get more MPG to boot.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24326269)

I agree that the Prius drivetrain is incompatible with current driving habits. When I first started driving one, I noticed it kept creeping up speed (got up to 84mph, thought 70) and never matches the flow of traffic. I typically let it coast up to 60mph or higher, but slow to 45 on some hills just b/c I know there's a drop coming up.

The effective power of the Prius depends on how long you need to put the foot to the floor. It can maintain full power to the electric motor and gas engine for only about 2 minutes. After that you're down to the 76hp gas engine. I wouldn't want to take it on the Autobhan, but can vouch that it can maintain 130km/hr without issue.

Can that BMW get 40mpg at 90mph on low octane gasahol (E10)?

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321453)

The Prius was considered ugly when it was first released; now it's the sexy, trendy car to own.

That's because it was ugly [wikipedia.org] when it was first released; the sexy, trendy one [wikipedia.org] is the second-generation model.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322353)

It's trendy, but I certainly wouldn't call it sexy. It's still what I'd refer to as ugly/plain. I did enjoy driving one a few years ago though. It was nice to have a car with a decent amount of room and luggage space that was still efficient.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#24326209)

Those two look exactly the same to my eye, and they've both just average looking.

Of course, the only car I really consider ugly are those box-things. Dunno the name of them, I'm not a car guy, but they look just like large metal rectangles with a spot cut out for the hood/windshield.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24329537)

That would be the Scion xB, [wikipedia.org] which is made by Toyota.

It's a great car for environmentally-conscious geeks looking to reduce their polygon footprint.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

default luser (529332) | more than 6 years ago | (#24336509)

Of course, the only car I really consider ugly are those box-things. Dunno the name of them, I'm not a car guy, but they look just like large metal rectangles with a spot cut out for the hood/windshield.

Hey, don't hate the xB until you tried driving one. I admit that I don't really like the original, but I actually bought a 2008 model because of the redesign [edmunds.com] .

Really, it's a better Camry: same engine, similar curb weight, more passenger space, less cost, all without the grandpa-inspired handling of the Camry.

And yes, you will get poor gas mileage if all you do is drive city, but so does the Camry. If you drive mixed like I do, you'll get good mileage (despite the boxy frame). My combined mileage is 27 mpg (and I drive FAST), which is about average for the performance level of the xB. The older model gets even better mileage, but you don't want to try driving a box around on a 1.6l engine.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24323505)

Sexy? Seriously? A Ferrari, or a Porsche is a sexy car. A Prius is neither of those.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320493)

Yes and no -- part of the success of the Prius relative to other hybrids is that it's distinctive looking. For a lot of the 'OMGTHEENVIROMENT' people, being seen to be doing something supposedly useful is at least as important as whether it is actually useful (which in the case of current hybrids is questionable).

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321583)

How is it questionable? The Prius retains its value more than any other car sold in 2007 (selling used in 2008 for virtually the same amount it was sold for new in 2007), it gets better gas mileage (I get 47-50 mpg in mountain and city driving vs. 25-28 mpg in my old Saab 900 hatchback that was a significantly smaller car), and has tons of safety features (side curtain airbags, side impact air bags, backup video camera, etc).

If you have the money and a 5-seat vehicle that can't tow does what you need then getting a Prius is a no-brainer.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322961)

I don't own a Prius, but I like the Prius, and I think the the build quality is superb.

Although based on solely the economic point of view, I would have to disagree with the "no-brainer" part of getting a Prius. I have come up with the following analysis based on my wife's 2005 Corolla. From my calculation, it gets about 30/38 for mileage (about 33 MPG mixed average usually).

So the annual gas savings from driving a Prius (let's say 48.5 MPG mixed average) for 12,000 miles at $4.25/gallon would be about $493 per year.

The Corolla LE (mid-level model) is approximately $8,000-$10,000 less than a Prius - and therefore will take my about 15-20 years to recoup the gas savings.

Certainly, this disregards the higher build quality of the Prius, plus the number of extra features not available on the Corolla. But based strictly on a cost analysis, the Prius just doesn't work very well for the sub-$20,000 car consumer. I'm not doubting your numbers either - but I have a number of friends who have the new Priuses who get no better than 42MPG mixed non-lead-foot driving.

Even if gas went up to $5-$6/gallon, the math still doesn't work out very attractively for the Prius.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24324155)

As a Prius driver, a few quick points.

(1) You mileages estimate is bang on.

(2) The corolla comparison is not great, the Prius is a little bigger than a corolla (interior wise), its closer to the Camry in interior feel at least. This means that the cost differential is smaller, and the fuel economy increase is larger for a real apples to apples comparison. When we shopped we looked at the Matrix for comparison (which for all we could tell was the closest comparable vehicle) and it is a lot narrower feeling at least. And interior build quality is a lot closer to the Camry than the Corolla as you pointed out. We were coming off an Accord and the Prius feels bigger and more comfy inside.

(3) With the tax credit at the time I worked out 3-4 years was the differential pay back at $3.20/gal and 40mpg. Gas has been more expensive and fuel is closer to 48mpg real world, so I'd say they are still paying off cost wise without the credit.

(4) Where they totally fail to pay off is that a lot of people are paying more than list for the stupid things.

-sk
       

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 6 years ago | (#24324505)

(363 - 247) * 4.25 = 493$ (If you only drive 12,000 miles a year.)

But, a Corolla does not have the same features as a Prius. So by going with a Corolla you skip:
4 Wheel ABS Brakes
Electronic Brake Distribution

Front Side Airbags
Side Head Curtain Airbag
Roll-Sensing Side Curtain Airbags

Steering Wheel Audio Controls
Automatic Climate Control
Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls

It's $22,220 vs $17,135 ~1/2 of which should be paid back in 5 years. IMO the 2.5k for that many safety features is an easy question but it's up to you.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24323741)

I noticed that too, we bought our Prius in '06, and probably could have sold it FOR A PROFIT 6mo -1yr later. Between that and the 'used house' problem (housing way out in the suburbs dropping value when they go from new to 'used', before the whole melt down thing), and clearly the old concept of what would appreciate and what wouldn't is a bit off these days.

-sk

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24323487)

It helped Toyota's hybrids become popular and Honda's didn't because they were "normal" looking. Also, the Toyota system was better

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320553)

i dunno, i think it's attractive actually, a nice, clean, sleek look

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322313)

Same here. It looks like a sleek airplane. What's so terrible about that?

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320683)

If they want to sell more of those Apteras to people besides the 'OMGTHEENVIROMENT' groups, they will seriously have to give that vehicle a better look.

When gas hits $6/gal, the Aptera will be the most beautiful looking car on the road.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24321119)

Gas is well over $6/gal in Europe, and it still looks like shit.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321435)

That's awfully pessimistic. I figure someone will have come up with something much better looking by the time 2020 rolls around.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24322465)

Are we buying gas on the same planet? I'm paying almost five dollars at the cheapest station anywhere near my house. Last year it was about $1.50 less per gallon.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322895)

I take it you live in California? Anyway, oil is currently trading at prices that suggest $3.50 gas is coming, not $5.00 gas, and I see a pretty good chance of oil going back to $100 and staying there for quite a while.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24325191)

Eh, the market sustained $4/gallon US average. There is no reason for the price to drop below that unless consumption drops due to life style impact or competition.

-Rick

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24327895)

The market didn't sustain $4 a gallon. People are running screaming away from SUVs. People will look much more carefully at their commute distances for a few years. I guess you are accounting for that when you say life style impact, but I don't expect that gas will stay at $4 a gallon for very long at all if oil continues to slide (on the other hand, I don't think it is going to go under $2).

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320707)

I'd buy it, but then I'd have to run a long extension cord from my apartment to the parking lot. Once dealerships start offering monthly payment plans and leases, this thing is going to look really attractive to the people getting one tenth the mileage or less - ie, everyone.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320827)

While we're at it it also needs spinners. And racing stripes. And a "TYPE-R" sticker. Yep, you may be driving a pile of junk but hey, at least you look cool while you burn through those hydrocarbons! /sarcasm

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322287)

You forgot the ever popular performance upgrades of a coffee can sized exhaust tip and a TRD sticker.

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (3, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321737)

Yeah. I prefer the look of the Lean Machine [3wheelers.com] .

It's gorgeous! (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322283)

What do you mean, it's gorgeous!

Re:I said it once and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24324371)

Not really, they will just have to sell it outside the state of California.
Orders are currently restricted [aptera.com] by location.
Luckily, I have an acquaintance in CA with a truck.

Google.org is both profit and non-profit. (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320295)

Slashdot editors often post confused stories.

"Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org..."

Google.org is both profit and non-profit.

Link (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320341)

Link: Google.org About Us [google.org] . Quote: "But we can also invest in for-profit endeavors..."

Re:Google.org is both profit and non-profit. (1)

TPIRman (142895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321289)

No, the summary is accurate. "Philanthropic" doesn't necessarily mean "non-profit." From the About Us page [google.org] on Google.org, emphasis added:

Google.org is a hybrid philanthropy that uses a range of approaches to help advance solutions within our five initiatives.

Is any for-profit enterprise philanthropy? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321649)

If for-profit enterprises can be philanthropy, then the Google.com search engine is philanthropy, also, since it certainly benefits humankind.

Re:Is any for-profit enterprise philanthropy? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321903)

They (.org) give away money, that's about all that is required to be a philanthropy. "for-profit" and "non-profit" and so forth are just tax statuses, and the ones that aren't "for-profit" come with more obligations than "for-profit" does.

Re:Is any for-profit enterprise philanthropy? (1)

TPIRman (142895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322189)

You're being purposely obtuse. Google.org has a set of five charitable aims. The organization pursues those aims through a combination of grants and investments. Most observers would classify this as philanthropy, as does Google.org itself.

The term "non-profit" is essentially a legal term, a function of the tax code. Philanthropy existed before the notion of NPOs did.

The fact is... (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24324009)

The fact is, the average person does not think of philanthropy as a for-profit venture capital enterprise. Anyone who uses the word that way confuses many people.

Re:The fact is... (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24336643)

The average person probably doesn't understand how endowments work, either, and gets offended when the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation doesn't give away all their cash every year.

Re:Google.org is both profit and non-profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24327885)

Google.org is both profit and non-profit.

Can you provide a citation for this claim? It seems extraordinary unlikely that a corporation can be simultaneously be classified as both a for-profit and a not-for-profit under the US tax code.

Or are you just wildly confused about the definition of "philanthropy?"

Look at the link comment posted under the parent. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24329555)

You apparently didn't read the link I provided.

Remind me: (4, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320331)

is that 230mpg in gasoline-only operation, or 230mpg when you're cheating by pre-charging it electrically?

Not that precharges are useless but it's not really effective to compare otherwise, and they seem all vague about the pure-gasoline figure.

Re:Remind me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320355)

I'm not affiliated with the company, but I assume the answer to your questions would be "yes."

Re:Remind me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320527)

It was pure gas iirc. But the think was basically a covered motorcycle with crazy-good aerodynamics. Read: Good for Environment, Bad for you if you hit a chipmunk.

Re:Remind me: (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320619)

Yes, you can compare the 230mpg with all of the other plug-in hybrids out there.

Oh, right, there aren't any.

Seriously, I don't believe that Aptera has even built a hybrid version of the car yet, all the prototyping has been done on a relatively-easy-to-build pure electric car. The 230mpg is a projection based on that data.

At 70mph, even with a .11 drag coefficient, tiny hard tires, and very light weight, it's hard to believe they could get anywhere near 230mpg under gasoline power. Maybe 120 mpg would be possible. Even at that, though, it would be a revolutionary car. [I say "would" instead of "will" because while I would dearly love the company to succeed, there are thousands of failed car companies for every one that succeeds, and Aptera is trying something harder than most of them]

Been a while since I looked into the Aptera, but.. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321361)

If I recall correctly, the 230 MPG rating was based on the Plug-in electric/gas hybrid.

The challenge of determining the actual MPG of a PE/Gas hybrid is that when you start driving, you are running almost entirely off of electric, and as you drive longer and longer, the gas engine has to contribute more and more.

So on a 1 mile drive, where the engine never even turns on, you are driving a an infinite MPG, but obviously, this isn't a practical way to advertise the car. I believe the 230 MPG number was taken at about 100-150 miles and was based on average commutes. So if you drive it LESS than 100 miles, you'll get more than 230 MPG, if you drive it more than 150 miles between recharging, you'll get less than 230 MPG. If I recall correctly, it bottomed out at ~100MPG after 300 miles of driving, but driving it on Gas alone I have a feeling would not be a pleasant experience (the words 'gutless-pig' come to mind).

-Rick

Re:Remind me: (3, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321723)

if you read their site and the preformance info..

they do hit 120mpg at high way speed under all gas power

the 230mpg mark came from a diesel prototype - which because of how CA does emmsion rattings they can't get past the diesel restrictions as they can't get a small high effecient diesel engine - and CA does emissions by the gallon consumed and not mile driven

- it looks nice - i would love to test drive one and maybe even own one.. but it seems like it takes these people way to long to get out the door with anything - even when they have massive funding. :/

Re:Remind me: (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322251)

It is really unfortunate that CA diesel regulations keep a lot of efficient European and Japanese vehicles out of the US market. Now they are keeping this one out too. :( I wish the manufactures would say "to hell with California" and make them available to the rest of us.

Re:Remind me: (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322459)

the 230mpg mark came from a diesel prototype - which because of how CA does emmsion rattings they can't get past the diesel restrictions as they can't get a small high effecient diesel engine - and CA does emissions by the gallon consumed and not mile driven

So sell it *new* everywhere but California & States that follow California emissions.

Even better, lease it for 7,500 miles in non-California emissions States then sell those cars as 'certified used' in CA. Used cars don't have to meet the same stringent emissions requirements.

Re:Remind me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320799)

From their site

"Diesel or Gasoline? Our first prototype, the Mk-0, was a parallel hybrid Diesel and achieved an average of 230 MPG at a steady state of 55 MPH. This was pure Diesel/mechanical drive with no electric assist."

Re:Remind me: (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321489)

or better yet they said it was an electric plug in, not a plug in hybrid so what liquid are they talking about? Does it run on cheetah blood?

Re:Remind me: (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321915)

There are 2 production models planned, the 'Typ-1e' is electric and the 'Typ-1h' is a plug in hybrid.

Re:Remind me: (2, Informative)

origamy (807009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321819)

The answer is in their Vehicle Details page, under PowerTrain & Energy:

Diesel or Gasoline? Our first prototype, the Mk-0, was a parallel hybrid Diesel and achieved an average of 230 MPG at a steady state of 55 MPH. This was pure Diesel/mechanical drive with no electric assist. Diesel is attractive for its Carnot efficiency and the increased enthalpy of Diesel fuel vs gasoline. However, diesel contains lots of unburned hydrocarbons and NOX compounds, and it's impossible to get a small Diesel engine certified for emissions in California. Therefore, the typ-h uses a small, water-cooled EFI Gasoline engine with closed loop oxygen feedback and catalytic converter. This engine is coupled to a lightweight 12KW starter/generator. It's very clean and quiet.

There's more information in Performance too. Hope it helps,

Use a Stirling (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#24325577)

If they aren't using the engine for acceleration then a Stirling engine might be able to do the job. In fact, decouple the generator from the drive completely.
 

Pre-filling vs Pre-charging (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321875)

What would be the difference between pre-filling with gas or pre-charging with electricity. Maybe the time to fill/charge is the only difference. With removeable batteries, this point is moot.

Re:Remind me: (2, Informative)

adisakp (705706) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322927)

is that 230mpg in gasoline-only operation, or 230mpg when you're cheating by pre-charging it electrically?

Their website clearly states that the MPG curve starts at around a ridiculous 1000 Miles per gallon for short electric-only trips and is asymptotic to 130 MPG (where it will stay all day long driving on gas only). The 230MPG figure was chosen at a range of 120 Miles of driving which is about 3X the average daily commute.

The *WORST* MPG you'll get is 130MPG. To get the 230MPG you are required to precharge. With prechargeing you have the potential to get much better than that if you have a short commute and the gas engine never turns on, you could get the energy equivalent of 1,000 MPG.

Re:Remind me: (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 6 years ago | (#24324677)

On the aptera site they had a graph of fuel economy vs. how far you drive between charges. If you only drive 50 miles between charges, you shouldn't ever have to go to the gasoline motor. If you drive 120 miles between charges, it's more like 300MPG. Granted, the electricity is still coming from somewhere (most likely a coal power plant where I live) but it's still more efficient and cheaper to go off the electric energy.

Aperture Motors (2, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320635)

At first I read that as Aperture Motors, and immediately thought: 'Sweet, car mounted portal guns!'

Re:Aperture Motors (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320937)

Now that, my friends, would be true fuel efficiency!

Re:Aperture Motors (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24320945)

Sure would make the morning commute easier...

=Smidge=

Re:Aperture Motors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24320965)

The gas is a lie!

Re:Aperture Motors (1)

kellenc (1310809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321523)

This car is a triumph...I'm making a note here - huge success.

Re:Aperture Motors (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321339)

Heck forget the car, just a have a series of portal stations where bus stops are that lead to a huge terminal with a whole bunch of portals, so you turn you commute into pretending you are a packet on the internet.

Re:Aperture Motors (2, Funny)

saxoholic (992773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321631)

At first I read that as Aperture Motors, and immediately thought: 'Sweet, car mounted portal guns!'

The mileage per gallon is a lie.

Re:Aperture Motors (1)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | more than 6 years ago | (#24325671)

Does it have GLADOS running it? If so I want one...I always get warm fuzzy feelings from psychotic computers.

Aptera ugly?? (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#24321911)

To me the Aptera looks like a general aviation airplane without wings. If it can handle steep grades and winter conditions and they were sold in Colorado I would get one in a heartbeat.

"Hi there, I'm an Aptera" (2, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322215)

"Hi there, I'm an Aptera, a wingless bird with hairy feathers!"
"No wings, eh, that's pretty funny."
"I don't know, I'm still laughing about the feathers."

"Hi there, I'm an Aptera, a wingless bird with hairy feathers!"
"I'm a schlog of foam from the surf with no visible means of support."
"Are you making fun of me?"

-- Apologies to Johnny Hart (and apologies to Slashdot for typos, this is from memory)

Re:Aptera ugly?? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24322535)

To me the Aptera looks like a general aviation airplane without wings. If it can handle steep grades and winter conditions and they were sold in Colorado I would get one in a heartbeat.

Yeah, me too, in NH. Actually I'd get one for just 3-season driving (winter here is 6 months long) if the price were more reasonable. And by reasonable I'm comparing with an enclosed scooter which can be had for $4500. I'd easily pay double that for an Aptera. However:

The approximate price for the all electric version is $27,000 and the plug-in hybrid $30,000.

which I think is probably 2x what the general market would support. Hopefully mass production will help here.

Re:Aptera ugly?? (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24328199)

mass production won't help, they're already pioneering mass producing an ultralight vehicle, total weight 850 lbs.

and it's still only a 1 seater, and it doesn't look like it's very good for grocery shopping, either..

i hope that they manage to survive, and eventually make a 2-seat + cargo space vehicle... otherwise, i think plug in prius models will dominate. they've got 4 seats and cargo area... and with plug in over night can pre-charge, and maybe if you have a short commute, not even need to use gas.

Re:Aptera ugly?? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24328271)

and it's still only a 1 seater, and it doesn't look like it's very good for grocery shopping, either..

Look closely in the windows - two seats.

I suspect there's storage behind the seats, but, yeah, it's strictly a commuter. That's why it'd need to be cheaper than a Prius, IMHO.

Re:Aptera ugly?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24333823)

I know you probably won't read this but I'll post anyway, from the FAQ [aptera.com] :

Will you be able to accommodate tall drivers?

The Aptera will comfortably fit someone that is 6'1" and with minor seat pad adjustments you can be as tall as 6'5" and drive comfortably.

What is the seating and cargo space?

The Aptera has "two plus one" seating allowing plenty of room for driver and passenger while an infant seat (newborn to age three) can be located in the middle behind the front seating. There is enough storage space to fit 15 bags of groceries, two full-size golf club bags or even a couple of seven foot surf boards.

According to wiki the cargo space is 15.9 cubic feet. For comparison, the trunk space in a Camry is 15 cubic feet.

Only $2.5 million? (1)

coljac (154587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24327159)

I was optimistic about Aptera, but for a company that wants to mass produce cars of any sort, $2.5M is really chicken feed. That sort of money is for first-round, hire a staff and find office-space time. Does this mean Aptera are actually teetering on the edge of insolvency that they need a small injection of funds from, basically, charity, to keep the doors open?

Editors, check the amounts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24329581)

How much money is it? Is it $2.75M or $5.5M?

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