Aptera Suffers Handling Issues at X-Prize Test Track

Aptera Suffers Handling Issues at X-Prize Test Track

For many, the Aptera 2e is a glimpse into the future of cars, and a frontrunner for the Automotive X-Prize. For those who don’t know, Progressive Insurance sponsors the $10 Million X-Prize, which will be awarded to the first company to produce a near-production vehicle that can achieve 100 miles per gallon. At Michigan International Speedway, the cars competed using the same tests that Consumer Reports runs on all production cars, including 0-60, 60-0, and lane-change maneuvers.

The Aptera 2e, while a very forward-thinking, aerodynamic design, does have some inherent design flaws, including the fact that a three-wheeled car will have less mechanical grip than a four-wheeled car. This flaw became very apparent to bystanders and anyone with a video camera at the test, when the Aptera was unable to complete the double lane-change maneuver without knocking over several cones. Watch for yourself in the video after the jump.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

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The following message was posted on Aptera’s Blog after the tests:

The first dynamic event was the 0 – 60 mph acceleration, followed closely by the 60 – 0 mph deceleration event, which provided little challenge for the 2e. After a few short passes, the team was off to the next event: the double-lane-change maneuver, which was not as much of a cakewalk. Without the benefit of prior ride development, the 2e repeatedly passed through the course, but 1 – 1.5 mph below the required speed. The challenge was particularly frustrating because the double-lane-change is a standard part of Aptera’s development plan, but the team simply hadn’t had the opportunity to tune the vehicle yet.

Passing the gate was the only option, so the Aptera team loaded up on caffeine and worked into the night to adjust the suspension for better handling through the course. Then, when the call came for Aptera to retake the test, the team showed up at the track with tuning gear in hand and iterated the vehicle set-up right there on the track until it floated through the trap at the mandated speed.

So, since the first version of the Aptera, they have added cupholders and roll-down windows, both of which add weight, but they never tuned the suspension before showing up at a racetrack? Let’s hope they can contain this mess, or that prospective Aptera buyers don’t actually plan on changing lanes.

  • pfon71361

    Sorry to hear that Aptera isn’t road worthy yet. Interesting that their team showed up at the competition unprepared for all aspects of it. Better luck next time.

  • Dan

    Your “journalistic” credentials would be much improved if you included the fact that the Aptera passed the double lane change test on Day 2, well within the time parameters set up by the X Prize committee. The Aptera is one of six teams to pass all portions of the shakedown thus far.

  • Pei

    Aptera is just a useless competitor.

    ZAP Alias passed the Consumer’s Union double lane change test on its first try. Driven by Al Unser Jr., the Alias first passed at 35, then 40, then 44, then 46. Not a single cone knocked down. Great job, Al, although he says it’s the car. Great proof of concept for 3-wheeled cars.

  • Ricky

    Aptera took 40 times to pass handling but zap made it first try.

  • Al Yousuf

    Its still nice car

    ZAP Alias passed on the first try…..


  • Weyburn

    Hey Dude, the Aptera’s performance is really suck, even its specialities could not satisfied us!

  • Thomas

    PIAXP is a platform to differentiate good from bad. See what Aptera has performed? Of course, the competition could help us eliminate our weakness and oversight, more importantly, it let those best performed vehicles to make their mark. Just like Alias from ZAP, it’s really cool. I have followed the shakedown stage for days, what impressed me is its steady performance.

  • Take anotherlook

    The ZAP alias and the company ZAP have been infamous for bringing Chinese cars t America then when they Fail NHTSA standards Zap stops importing the cars. Thats how Zap feels about Quality and Safety for Americans. They stop importing or wont go along with Required SAFETY tests. You life is at risk in a ZAP because there is no Safety testing done by the company. The ZAP warranty is the weakest in the business of car making.. 6 months maximum. 3 Wheel cars haven’t made it in America since the 1930’s not just now; they suffer from the same 25 mile range they were getting in 1930. No improvement in range equals a limited use product. Zap stock since it was involved in a Chinese Reverse Takeover Merger is stick in the 20 cent range and its a OTCBB Pink sheet company. Better not risk any money in it.. your bound to lose your shirt as ZAP has a 20 year history of NOT making any money for a common share holder.