Automotive X PRIZE car testing at MISEnlarge Photo
Automotive X PRIZE Aptera 2eEnlarge Photo
Super-streamlined, often three-wheeled and impeccably green, the cars battling it out at Michigan International Speedway for the Automotive X PRIZE win are chock full of technology and good intentions. What they're apparently not so far along on, however, is stability control and ABS. Accident avoidance testing shows that several vehicles aren't quite yet ready for prime time--including the Aptera 2e.
A number of cars are shown accelerating off at speed and braking hard, including what looks to be a modified Th!nk and a Tango, but the drama in the video below comes primarily from the Aptera 2e, which shows that while it might be running, it's not up to the task of keeping drivers safe in emergency situations. The three-wheeled configuration is no doubt due at least part of the blame for the car's poor performance in the "moose test"--a high-speed lane-change maneuver to avoid a road obstacle.
During the test, the Aptera slides heavily and the driver's door flies open. Later, during the acceleration/braking test, the video reveals the Aptera's front wheels locking and throwing off tire smoke, hinting that it may not yet have ABS, or if it does, it may yet need some tuning. It fared better than other vehicles, however, at least one of which spun out during the moose test.
All of this just goes to show how hard it is to build a production-quality car that meets not only its power, weight and efficiency goals, but safety and handling requirements as well. Check out the full video below, or for an honest take from a green perspective, don't miss Nikki Gordon Bloomfield's article at AllCarsElectric.