The Aptera Hybrid prototype looks a little strange, but this three-wheeled vehicle promises astounding fuel efficiency. Do you know how it works? Take the Aptera Hybrid Quiz and find out.
While 230 mpg sounds like a lot, the <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/aptera-hybrid.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">Aptera's</a> developers, Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony, aim to achieve 300 mpg with the model that becomes available for Californians in late 2008.
Perhaps your last three-wheeled mode of transportation was a tricycle; if so, the Aptera Hybrid will be a real step up. This three-wheel, two-passenger prototype is actually classified as a <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/motorcycle.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">motorcycle</a>.
The Aptera Hybrid hails from company headquarters in San Diego, Calif. But San Carlos and Geneva aren't without innovative automakers: The <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/tesla-roadster.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">Tesla Roadster</a> was created in San Carlos and the amphibious sQuba is manufactured in Geneva.
The composites that are used for the Aptera Hybrid's body design give the vehicle a unique, aerodynamic shape. Similar lightweight composites are used for the body designs of sports cars like the <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/aston-martin-rapide.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">Aston Martin Rapide</a> and the <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/lamborghini-reventon.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">Lamborghini Reventon</a>.
The Aptera Hybrid is available as both an all-electric and a plug-in hybrid. Developers abandoned the <a href='http://auto.howstuffworks.com/diesel.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">diesel engine</a> when it became impossible to build one small enough that conformed to California's emissions standards.
Top speed for the Aptera will be around 85 mph and developers will likely electronically limit speeds at 95 mph for safety purposes.
A three-wheel design in which one wheel is in the front of the car and two wheels are in the rear is called a delta formation. Aptera is designed with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back.
Aptera's safety cage, low center of gravity and traction control all work to keep the driver safe when rounding sharp corners and in frontal impact collisions. In fact, the safety cage was inspired by the ones in <a href='http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/formula-one.htm' style="font-weight: bold;">Formula One</a> racecars.
"Eyes Forward" is a system designed to give the driver a 180-degree video display of the view behind the vehicle. Because the Aptera's body design limits the driver's view of the rear, this display is an essential safety component.
If you thought a station wagon was the best "grocery getter" on the market, take another look in the Aptera's sizable backseat. You can fit 15 bags of groceries back there.