Aptera and Me

On August 3, the X PRIZE posted a blog at the request of Aptera regarding the MPGe this California based team had obtained. Apparently there was a dispute about whether they had obtained 164.3 MPGe or 178.2 MPGE. The discrepancy had to do with communications between the Aptera charger and the battery pack. The blog sounded astoundingly similar to an experience we had.


Now, it is really important to understand that there is virtually nothing similar between Aptera and the West Philly Hybrid X Team. Their car came in a humongous, beautifully painted, fancy, air conditioned tractor trailer/computer lab combo. The EVX Focus came on an open trailer that hauls lawn mowers. Aptera has lots of important folks, like a founder, a co-founder, a CEO, a CFO, a CMO, a Chief Engineer, and a bunch of VPs. We’ve got a couple underpaid high school teachers, some recent Drexel grads and a whole bus full of kids.

The Aptera and the Focus are polar opposites, too. The Aptera is super quiet, all electric, light weight and looks like it flew in from the Jetsons. The Focus, well, it looks like a Ford. Under the hood, it’s badass, though. It’s got a Harley, an electric motor and a magnetic clutch out of a combine, which makes it sound like a motorcycle racing a trolley car when it comes down the track. And lightweight it is not.

But, YO! We’re from Philly and we know what we’re doing just like Aptera. A prime example are our skills at spotting for our respective teams when they are on the track. Aptera had a guy trackside with a laptop in some kind of electro-digital-shoe-phone-constant-bluetooth communication with their driver in order to communicate lap time. We decided on our spotter based on who had cell phone reception inside the track in case we had to call for jumper cables. We did have a watch. Unfortunately, only one of the guys driving knew how to use it.

Consequently, our communications between spotter and driver were delivered in pure South Philly fashion. Roll up a pant leg, which means, slow down. Roll up a shirt sleeve, which means YO! Slow down. Roll up the other pant leg and gesture wildly, which means YO! Si! Slow down. Roll up the other shirt sleeve and walk into the middle of the track, which, also means YO! Bro! I said slow down.

Another difference between our teams is that we got knocked out in the Knockouts, while Aptera remains a top contender in the Finals. But here’s where the story takes a funny turn. We got an official 65.1 MPGe from the X PRIZE. Just like Aptera, we had a communications problem between our charger and battery pack. When we pulled the data card from the Focus, we found that we had achieved 78.2 MPGe.

Based on the X PRIZE blog about Aptera, we think the X PRIZE should post our actual MPGe and acknowledge our communications and telemetry problems. For the benefit of all the X PRIZE fans, I think they need to post the picture of our telemetry problem, as well.






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