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Automotive X Prize – Entrant Accelerated|Composites Aptera

  • March 9, 2007
  • The Car Biz
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We were pleasantly surprised to see Accelerated|Composites Aptera featured in the March 12, 2007 issue of Business Week as an entrant in the Automotive X Prize. The three-wheeled Aptera is a composite body ultra-high efficiency concept for the future. Powered by a hybrid powertrain, Aptera is reported to achieve 330 mpg. Not designed to be a fast car, Aptera can get to 60 miles per hour in 11-seconds. Aptera seats two across and can travel in the car pool lane with only the driver.
Concepts like the Aptera are those that AutoPacific and VehicleVoice are closely tracking to identify breakthroughs for the future.
Aptera side sketch.jpg

Read more about the X Prize and the Aptera below the fold.

The Automotive X PRIZE will invite teams from around the world to focus on a single goal: design, build, and sell super-efficient cars that people want to buy.
Why an Automotive X PRIZE?
* Because today’s oil consumption is not sustainable – our current use of oil endangers our health, our economy, and the political and social stability of the world.
* Because 40% of world oil output fuels the automotive industry – and, in the U.S., 65% of oil consumption is in the transportation sector.
* Because automotive emissions contribute significantly to global climate change.
* Because there are no mainstream consumer choices for clean, super-efficient vehicles that meet market needs for price, size, capability, image, safety and performance.
* Because the automotive industry is stalled – legislation, regulation, labor issues, manufacturing costs, legacy costs, franchise laws, obsolete technology, consumer attitudes, and many other factors have combined to block breakthroughs.
* Because increases in engine efficiency have been “spent” on increased vehicle power, acceleration, and weight, rather than on increased fuel economy.
* Because we believe there is great opportunity for technological change.
Goals of the Prize
Our goal is to stimulate automotive technology, manufacturing and marketing breakthroughs that:
* Radically reduce oil consumption and harmful emissions
* Result in a new generation of super-efficient and desirable mainstream vehicles that people want to buy
Accelerated|Composites Press Release of January 19, 2007 is shown below:
“A 330 MPG Car for Everyone”
“Three San-Diego Engineers form company to build and sell revolutionary 330 MPG Hybrid Car”
Accelerated Composites, LLC, has designed a two-seat passenger car that will achieve up to 330
MPG and sell for under $20,000. The lightweight composite, hybrid car will post this fuel
efficiency in normal city and highway driving and demonstrate acceleration and handling similar to that of a Honda Insight. Dubbed the Aptera©, the vehicle achieves these remarkable numbers
through the use of cutting-edge materials, manufacturing methods, and a maverick design
Unique, optimized aerodynamics gives the Aptera© a drag form factor that will be lower than any mass produced car in the world. “It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen because it performs like nothing you’ve ever seen,” says Accelerated Composites founder and CEO Steve Fambro. “What we’ve done is changed the way cars are thought of and designed. Rather than designing to a styling aesthetic, like the big auto makers do, we hew to an efficiency and safety aesthetic. When you do that, math and physics mostly dictate the shape of the car, and in this case, math and physics look awesome.”
But aerodynamics is only half of the equation. The other half is weight. The Aptera© is made
almost entirely of lightweight composites, making it one of the lightest cars on the road. Yet this
savings does not come at the cost of safety. In fact, the construction of the car is based on the
driver-protection “crash box” found in Formula One race cars. “Composites are enormously
strong and lightweight,” says Fambro. “That’s why all the aircraft manufacturers are switching to
So why aren’t the auto makers switching? “Cost” says Fambro. “They haven’t figured out cost-effective manufacturing processes for composites. But we have.”
The Aptera© utilizes proprietary composite construction that significantly lowers manufacturing
cost when compared to most other composite construction methods, and even steel. The patent-pending “Panelized Automated Composite Construction”, or PAC2©, lends itself to parallel assembly and has a very low initial capitalization. Additionally, AC’s patent-pending hybrid technology allows off the shelf engines and electric motors to be seamlessly integrated for a very low cost. Another reason the big automakers aren’t jumping to composites is corporate inertia.
“They have many billions of dollars invested in factories and infrastructure for making cars the
old-fashioned way. They couldn’t walk away from that if they wanted to. This is something that
only a new company can do, and that’s where we come in. We are going to disrupt the status
“We’re very serious about this. We’re going to produce and sell these cars,” says Fambro.
“We’ve got a perfectly timed, market busting product. We have a great team of world class
engineers and designers, high-powered marketing and sales experience, and a solid business
Accelerated Composites, LLC, is a Carlsbad-based startup that is disrupting the car design status quo by developing a low cost, 330 MPG hybrid car to be manufactured in Southern California. For investment or press information, please contact Steve Fambro @ 760.908.3051, or

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