Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Locomotion

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Locomotion

  • Locomotion

  • Michael Jarvis

    November 4, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Steve Jobs once famously compared man on a bicycle as the most efficient method of locomotion in a Scientific American study to computers for the human mind. The study topic is a large focus today for environmental enthusiasts and in the Aptera community. We all are sold on the idea that the Aptera paradigm changes the game for efficiency in current forms of automotive transportation, but where does the Aptera fall within the Scientific American study of all forms by all animals?


  • Harry Parker

    November 4, 2021 at 11:47 am


    So I felt the need to do some calculating to try to see what Aptera’s efficiency score would be in the units used in the Scientific American article: calories/gram/kilometer. On that score, the man on a bicycle came to about 1.5 cal/g/km. But what about Aptera?

    Using Aptera’s 0.1 KWH/mile with a 500 pound payload, I translated KWH/pound/mile to cal/g/km.

    The answer I got: 0.24 cal/g/km. Aptera is about 6 times as efficient as a man on a bicycle (when fully loaded)! Even driving solo in an Aptera is still more efficient.

    I hardly believe this myself. Someone please check my math. I’ve enclosed the spreadsheet I created to do this.

    Still, you’ll get more exercise by riding a bicycle.

    • Michael Jarvis

      November 5, 2021 at 8:26 am

      your math looks ok, but the numbers from the study are walking man = 0.75 cal/g/km, “man on bike” = 0.15 cal/g/km. So, the Aptera is close especially if you can find 2 x 250lb passigners and prove the 100 watt/mile performance! My latin American wife would get a dismal 1.18 cal/g/km at 100lbs driving alone. It is notable the Aptera beats the walking 200lb man at 0.59

      When I first heard this speech from Jobs it was the Condor that was given credit as the most efficient animal which man on a bicycle still beat but I don’t see that listed on the chart.

      • Harry Parker

        November 6, 2021 at 8:39 am

        Thanks for catching my silly error.

        That man on a bicycle would have trouble performing the EPA combined highway and city drive cycle, however.

        I would like to know Aptra’s efficiency at bicycle speeds. Perhaps that would be close to a match.

        Then again, a man on a velomobile would beat even an Aptera every time.


        • Michael Jarvis

          November 6, 2021 at 9:47 am

          fun Article. I’ve bike commuted in Colorado since 1999 over a 14 mile one way trip to an estimated 40K miles….one year alone (2013, I believe) I made a 4,228 mile personal goal riding the trans-america trail (Virginia to Oregon virtually) on my commutes via a now shutdown website run by lawrence berkeley labs. Just this last July my bike snapped the lower crank arm on a hard push to get through the second of two lights and I broke my collar bone in 5 pieces. I never imagined that happening or I would have replaced the bike earlier…..I’ve played around with eBikes too and wondered about their efficiencies.

          I really like the idea of an official study between the efficiency comparison between a bike, eBike and the Aptera.

          While the planet certainly can not support 8 billion people in SUVs, I think the Aptera might be the next best alternative to the bike.

  • Michael Jarvis

    November 4, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    the car is 1,800lbs, I weigh ~200lbs so I’d say 2,000 lbs might be a little more fair.

    • Curtis Cibinel

      November 4, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      Base 250 mile Aptera will be considerably lighter. The 1800lb quoted was either 400 or 600 mile version. As a rule of thumb each kwh = 10 miles of range and 10lb of weight (+-15%)

  • George Hughes

    November 4, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    I’d check IP law, I know it is different in California because the west coaster’s protect the cash value of personal brands/celebrities but this looks like a legitimate way to invoke Job’s memory in relation to efficiency … and then make the point.

    I think it also important to note that you’d have to feed the bicyclist with either plant matter or processed through beef cows plant matter to make up for the power expended. No so with the Aptera. If you ignore the magic of the solar panels feeding power directly from the sun (like the plants), you could further enhance the energy efficiency advantage of the Aptera/cyclist comparison.

    It would make a great ad.

    • Ray Holan

      November 4, 2021 at 4:56 pm

      I can contribute one factoid about fueling the human with meat vs. plants. Rough estimate is that it takes about 10 lbs. of plant matter to create 1 lb. of beef so us vegetarians like to think of ourselves as more “energy efficient” than omnivores. Not that I have anything against meat eaters. My wife loves her medium rare hamburgers;)

  • Michael Jarvis

    November 4, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    I would revert back to the locomotion of a person or ~200 (x2?) even though the original study likely collected data in a much different manner, this could be made as a relevant comparison. The counter arguments are more likely to be against the cradle-to-grave comparison of the ecosystem and perhaps CO2 emissions from production of the Aptera vs. a Bike which would favor the bike.

  • kerbe2705

    November 4, 2021 at 6:53 pm

  • Loren Gilbert

    November 4, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Remember, too, that we humans expel CO2 with every breath and our other waste products also contribute to the carbon load on the planet.

    • kerbe2705

      November 5, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      True, but our physiology doesn’t give us any other options: How we power our transportation and heat or cool our indoor environment are choices we can make.

    • Alain Chuzel

      November 5, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      Specifically with respect to human breathing, the article at the following link has some interesting info.


      In short, we can be carbon sinks if we really wanted to!

      • Harry Parker

        November 6, 2021 at 8:51 am

        Thanks for that great link. I’m bookmarking that one to share.

  • Philip Raymond

    November 4, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    I’m never efficient when fully loaded.

  • Peter Jorgensen

    November 5, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Ok, I started from scratch – Because I’m an engineer and I wanted to go through ALL of the numbers. Here’s what I got in cal/g/Km:

    Qty 1 (150 lb person)

    Walking: 0.79

    Cycling: 0.41

    Aptera: 0.78

    Toyota Camry: 7.794

    Qty 2 (150 lb people, 300 lbs total)

    Walking: 0.79

    Cycling (two bikes): 0.41

    Aptera: 0.39

    Toyota Camry: 3.897

    At max payload (500 lbs) Aptera is 0.2348.

    So… Aptera could run a TV commercial saying it’s more energy-friendly than walking. With two people it’s more efficient than bikes.

    • Michael Jarvis

      November 5, 2021 at 1:43 pm

      looks good. I’d say the best that could be claimed is the Aptera is equivalent to transporting two people to the efficiency of the bicycle…..plus extra cargo. minus the health benefits of biking.

      • Riley ________________________________

        November 6, 2021 at 1:12 am

        Just put pedals hooked to a generator for the passenger and help power the Aptera. Should help with exercise.

        • Harry Parker

          November 6, 2021 at 9:39 am

          I’ll 2nd that option to turn an Aptera into a “hybrid” EV.

          ???? Better than a Peloton!

  • Francis Giroux

    November 5, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I ride my human powered enclosed
    vehicle 5-6 days a week, typically for 16+ miles on a hilly course of
    back roads near my house. At 15 mph I expend 70 watts. At 20 mph I
    expend 130 watts. So if I drive easy (15 mph) I am covering 15 miles
    with 70 watt hours. That is less than 5 watt hours per mile or 20
    times more efficient than me driving in my Aptera (if I ever get it
    in a couple years, Res # 21878).

    Typically I am out for a workout so I
    expend 225 watt hours to cover 25 miles and that is only 9 watt hours
    per mile or only 11 times more efficient than the Aptera (at 55 miles
    per hour).

    But for the only real comparison I can
    make is by using Curtis Cibinel’s chart linked to his comment in the
    “Tall, Heavy Driver” section of the discussion section of the
    Aptera web site. There Curtis claims the Aptera at 25 miles per hour
    uses only 42.13 watt hours per mile. So at the same speed, my pedal
    machine is only 4.68 times as efficient as the Aptera. If it wasn’t
    for my need for exercise at 71 years old, I would prefer to drive the
    Aptera after parking in the sun all day, than expend those 42 watts
    per mile from my legs.

    If you want to convert all that to
    <font color=”#000000″><font face=”Avenir LT Pro, sans-serif”><font size=”2″>cal/g/km</font></font></font>
    I weigh 75 kgs. My fastest 100 mile ride was at 18 mph moving
    average on a fairly hilly course. My fastest hour ride was at 21.7

  • Francis Giroux

    November 5, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Oh my, how do I edit a post after its already up? I meant to say I would prefer to drive the Aptera rather than expend the 9 watt hours per mile (not 42.13). If you want to convert that to cal/g/km I weigh 75 kg.

    • Oz (It’s Oz, just Oz)

      November 5, 2021 at 7:43 pm

      Francis, this might work for you.(Unfortunately different accounts have different options on the site, not sure why, but if it doesn’t work, it’s probably not a problem on your end.)

      Move your cursor into the area around your post. (A boxed area a slightly different color than the rest of the page.

      You should have a 3 dot menu icon appear in the upper right corner of the box, hover over that and with any luck the edit function will appear

  • Francis Giroux

    November 7, 2021 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for the tip. You are right, it doesn’t work for all of us. I even tried a different browser than the Brave I use. I tried Explorer and I still don’t get anything popping up when I place my cursor outside my post’s block. No big deal when I noticed my post not coming up as I entered it (because I copied and pasted the Cal/g/km from someone else’s post and it came up as the html code instead, I simply posted again..

    Now I have received a few emails about replies to my post, but I go this discussion section and only see one of the replies. I would like to reply to them but I don’t see them. How do I view them?

    I expected my nickname to appear on my posts and I have now changed my name in the profile to my nickname.


  • Francis Giroux

    November 7, 2021 at 3:45 am

    Wow, look at that. The three dot icon and edit menu comes up on these posts now but not on my original post. Now if I can see the other replies.

    Thanks again,


  • Francis Giroux

    November 7, 2021 at 5:06 am

    I found the replies that I had email notifications of, way up above my post. The emails didn’t say they were responses to MY reply but that they were replied to the discussion on Locomotion in the forum Aptera discussions. So I want to post a couple replies to those and don’t know where they will show up if I reply here or go up and click on the post I want to reply to and then click reply. So I will try both ways to find out. I am new to social media, having not participated in all the big tech sites. So here we go:

    Harry Parker in a post above mentions the efficiency of velomobiles and how they would always beat the Aptera. I agree in a certain way. The velomobile will take less energy to move its driver down the road, but when I get my Aptera fully loaded with solar cell, it will bring me down the road with “free” energy from the sun so it will beat pedaling as far as carbon footprint is concerned.

    If you look closely at my profile picture you’ll see this “Poor Man’s Velomobile” which started out as a Catrike recumbent tricycle. You can watch an instructional video of how I made the capsule with around $100 of materials versus spending $10,000 to purchase a nice velomobile here:


    In the last 12 years I have logged over 50,000 miles on three recumbent trikes, one of which sits on the bottom of Lake George in upstate New York in 50 feet of water, where I fell through the ice on Presidents Day.

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