Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is the market finally ready for small electric vehicles?...

...A California company thinks so, and it is busy taking orders

From the Economist:

APTERA is certainly not the sort of name an old-school carmaker would give to its newest creation. Biologists will recognise it as the term for scuttling wingless insects—silverfish and suchlike. But Steve Fambro, the boss of the Californian company that plans to make and sell electric vehicles under this name, hopes they will soon be swarming over the state’s highways.

Unlike Tesla, another boutique electric-vehicle-maker from the Golden State, Aptera is aiming for the bottom end of the market. A Tesla sports car will set you back $98,000 (or it would if you could get your hands on one: Tesla has delayed shipment of its first 50 cars until next year).

An Aptera, in contrast, starts at $26,900, and should be available this time next year. And instead of a Ferrari knock-off, you get a space-age tricycle. But Aptera and Tesla have things in common. They are both small firms (Aptera has 16 full-time employees, though that will grow; Tesla has 250). They were both started by people with no experience in the motor industry. And they are both aiming to start by roping in the eco-conscious of California, and then working outwards to the mainstream....MORE