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June 17, 2009

Aptera, Making the Car of the Future. Looks Like a Plane, but Will It Fly?

Filed under: Start-up Companies Reviews — admin @ 1:51 am

Nowadays, environmentalism, living green, and our carbon footprint seem to be a growing issue in large groups of society worldwide. High fuel prices, the threat of carbon tax, and the green fad is leading to all kinds of new innovations in the automotive industry. One of the greatest innovations is being developed by Aptera. The car being developed by Aptera is definitely unique. Seeing the car, you might think that it is not a car at all, but some sophisticated small airplane. The car’s unique design is shaped like the fuselage of someone’s unique airplane featured in a Popular Mechanics magazine, it is actually a new bread of car, that can work on both gas and electricity. Aptera also has great potential in the market because of the car’s green design. The interior of the car, including the appulstry on the seats are all made from recycled plastic cups and bottles. The car is fuel efficient because of its aerodynamic design, causing less drag and allowing the driver to excellerate quicker without gunning the engine and burning excessive fuel. Another environmental or green feature of the car is that it is also equipped with an electric motor, not a gasoline or diesel engine, but it needs to be recharged by being plugged into the wall. The drawback of the car is that it is very small and seats only two people. The Aptera car can go for 100 miles on one charge. The car needs to be recharged for one night, which might not be the ideal car for those who drive frequently.

Aptera and this unique car is the brain child of entrepreneur Steve Fambro, who grew up with a love for cars and work on cars, since before he could drive one. Mr. Fambro, in his early adulthood has served in the Army, where he worked as an electrical engineer, repairing electronic equipment. Along with the rising tide of the green movement, this sprung the idea of building a very efficient car that does not run on conventional fuel, but to use electricity. Mr. Fambro also has experience in aviation, as one of his hobbies is flying composite airplanes. These factors were all influential in the Aptera car’s design. Mr. Fambro’s love of composite airplanes is the driving influence of the aerodynamic design of the car’s body, his experience in electrical engineering was the driving force in the creation of the car’s electric motor. Being environmentally friendly is the reason for the interior to be made from recycled plastics. Besides being the founder of Aptera, Mr. Fambro is also the company’s CEO.

Another cofounder of Aptera is Chris Anthony, who is also the company’s COO. Mr. Anthony is an avid boat builder and also founded Epic Boats, LLC. Epic Boats, LLC is also a successful company with special resin compounds used for the construction of the company’s boats have also played a role in creating the material used for the body of the Aptera car. Mr. Anthony also has quite a bit of experience and knowledge in both hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, used both in the constructions of his boats at Epic Boats, LLC and the Aptera prototype car. Mr. Anthony also used his knowledge in both hydrodynamics and aerodynamics to build award winning high-speed whitewater kayaks.

Aptera is based in Carlsbad, California and is a privately owned corporation. Aptera’s investors include Idea Lab, Esenjay Petrolium, the Quercus Trust, and Google.org.

Idea Lab is a vc firm that thinks ahead to build groundbreaking companies. Idea Lab mainly likes to invest in entrepreneurs who have a product or service that is innovative and will change the way we live, work and think. Some of the companies in Idea Lab’s portfolio include Cooking.com, Petsmart, eToys, Desktop Factory, and others.

Google.org is the philanthropic arm of Google and is dedicated to investing in companies that have exceptional green-tech product prototypes.

Aptera does have a competitor, Tesla Motors, which is a company that is aiming to build a sports car that runs solely on an electric motor. Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and is based in San Carlos, California. Tesla Motors has 270 employees and four people on its management team.

For more information about Aptera, click here.

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