How do you make a name for yourself as an EV startup when you have plenty of rivals? By promising a mix of breakneck performance with uncommon tech, apparently. UK-based newcomer Apex has unveiled the AP-0, an electric supercar that's ready for the track but also has a few perks for commuting. The company is keen to tout the combination of a 650BHP motor system with a lightweight carbon fiber chassis (the entire car weighs 2,646lbs) that delivers 0-62MPH in 2.3 seconds and a top speed of 190MPH, all the while managing a healthy 320 miles of estimated range from the 90kW battery. Those are solid numbers for a performance EV, but Apex is clearly counting on the intelligence to win you over.
To start, you might have noticed that sensor array on the roof -- that's LiDAR, and it's a central feature of the car. The high-resolution environment mapping enables Level 3 semi-autonomy (that is, you can theoretically take your hands off the wheel most of the time) for driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and automatic emergency braking. It might spot cyclists and other potential collisions more effectively than camera-only systems. The AP-0 theoretically ready for Level 4 autonomy (full self-driving in some conditions), although Apex didn't say when that might be available.
Augmented reality will also play a crucial role. You can expect a holographic AR display on top of the abundance of screens, and there will be an AR "Race Instructor" to help you learn tracks and improve lap times. Apex didn't outline how that virtual coach would work, but it's easy to imagine a Forza Motorsport-style assistant that shows the optimal race lines and braking points.
It sounds interesting, and it should given the £150,000 (about $184,000) asking price. However, you'll need to be particularly patient. Production for the AP-0 doesn't start until the fourth quarter of 2022, or well after challengers like the new Tesla Roadster are expected to arrive. Given that Tesla's car promises to be quicker (0-60MPH in 1.9 seconds) and longer-ranged (620 miles) for only slightly more money, Apex may have to rely on its car's smarts to reel in buyers.