3-wheeler looks as if it could soar: New prototype could achieve 300 mpg

An airplane-inspired car that costs $10,000 less than a basic Volvo and gets 300 miles per gallon? Not quite yet, but San Diego robot-builder Steve Fambro may be onto something with the Aptera (“winglessin Greek) vehicle.

Fambro was inspired to build the vehicle when his wife deemed a kit airplane he was building was too dangerous. The vehicle pictured was designed by Jason Hill and his firm “11” for Fambro.

The three-wheeled, 1,500-pound prototype has 2 1/2 seats, and when the vehicle goes into production in October, Fambro expects that it will have an acceleration rate of zero to 60 mph in 11 seconds (a second slower than the Prius) and retail for less than $30,000.

The Aptera will come in two versions: an all-electric that is expected to go 120 miles on a charge and a hybrid that will have a 600-mile range on a full charge and full tank.

Unlike other three-wheeled cars that are technically motorcycles (thus skirting a lot of safety criteria), the Aptera’s airplane-wide wheel base makes it stable. The fiberglass shell is reinforced with steel and aluminum, and there will be air bags in the seat belts.

What’s not to like, unless, of course, you’re the passenger in the half seat.

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