Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wishlist for Aptera from a European perspective

I have been blogging on the Aptera for quite a number of times already. I admit, I like this radical car and the passion of its makers. I would buy one if it only was available now (June 2009) and here (Europe). With it recent delay of the production start it seems even unrealistic to see one driving around here for the foreseeable future. But maybe that's also a good thing. It give Aptera more time to adapt the car to the specific needs of the European driver. Here a couple of thoughts - sort of a European christmas wishlist:
  1. Things are smaller in Europe than in the US. The current Aptera 2e is too wide for European roads and parking spaces (see a previous post of mine). The maximum acceptable is probably 80 inch or 2 meters. This will ask for some significant reengineering of the car and probably impact the drag coefficient negatively. Maybe by using smaller and narrower wheels (i.e. 13 inch instead of 14 inch) and a narrower track something can be achieved.
  2. We have a lot of rain in Europe, some countries report more than 120 days of rain per year. Also we do have real winter seasons with snow here. So it will be important to be able to mount snowchains and winter tyres (easily). Also the heating system will have to cope with these conditions. How does the Aptera behave in snow conditions anyway?
  3. Europeans are used to accessories and help tools to easier park their cars. Many vehicles have "park distance control" systems these days. Especially with a car that wide support for parking will be appreciated by Europeans.
  4. Lastly, range is always an issue. This is not a European problem of course, but an important sales argument. The Aptera needs a clever range extension approach, ideally with a very lightweight engine and a not too large fuel tank. Running on LPG might be an interesing option.
So, many of these requirements are especially key for the mass market, less so for the early adopters who are ready to suffer more. I count myself to this category, so Aptera, when can I order my 2e? Or even better, when can I start to market and sell these cars in Europe?

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