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.