Since the "Jason Hill..LA Times" thread was going off-topic with safety and Tesla founder Martin Eberhard's comments I thought I'd pick up on the last of that discussion here:
Originally Posted by DDB
Martin has made references to other forums (along with his wife) that she wouldn't let him get involved in anything that didn't have 4 wheels. And as a personal injury attorney that deals with motor cycle accident victims, you'all would be singing a different tune if you talked with some of them.
And from Eberhard's blog
Thanks for starting this blog - it’s already becoming a nice forum for discussion about our energy future.
One suggestion for your next post: can you offer your opinion on the Aptera?
The idea of a car designed from the ground up for aerodynamic efficiency and low weight makes a lot of sense, and forms a great synergy for batteries. An Aptera shape either reduces the required batteries, controller, and motor needed for a given range, or, for the same equipment, yields greater performance and range.
As for styling, many successful cars from the last 10 years have had love-it-or-hate-it styling, like the Hummer H2, the Prius, and the 300M. I don’t see the Jetsons styling mattering.
Definitely check out the Aptera Popular Mechanics video or LA Times review videos if you get a chance. And no, I have no connection to them, I just get excited by elegantly designed vehicles (especially electrics).
Good idea. I took some heat for dissing the Aptera at the GadgetOff Conference in New York last fall, after the Aptera guy took a pot-shot at Tesla.
Whether or not the Jetsons-styling makes sense is one thing, but there is *no* good reason for making a 3-wheeled vehicle except the skirt the DOT safety requirements, which classify 3-wheelers as motorcycles, and thereby exempt them from requirements for bumpers, airbags, side-impact protection, etc. I personally think the DOT safety requirements are a very good thing, despite the bureaucratic red tape needed to meet the requirements. A very, very good thing.
Comment by Brandon Heller January 15, 2008 @ 10:15 pm
I'm not comfortable 'dissing' Eberhard, who's work I admire but I think there *are* good reasons for making a 3-wheeled vehicle (full disclosure--I've talked smack about the 3-wheel aspect here but only as it pertains to $ ).
It really comes down to something the non-Aptera EV makers need to be smacked upside the head with: efficiency.
I don't believe avoiding the DOT reqs for safety drove Aptera to 3-wheels vs. 4 (heck let's be REALLY safe, why not 10 wheels?). I think the 3-wheel design wastes less energy by allowing for a lower drag shape, less rolling friction and less loss in the differential (those things get hot; heat=energy loss). And Aptera seems on a course to meet or exceed the DOT reqs (I don't know which they're skipping other than bumpers).
But what do folks here think? Is the Aptera safe enough? Anything you wish it had to make it "safer".