When Aptera first applied back in December 2008 to the loan program sponsored by the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing, their application was summarily rejected. However the reason for the rejection was not because the government agency failed to appreciate the value offered by its innovation, rather it was due to a provision in the law defining that passenger vehicles should not have been changed for almost 50 years.
Fortunately, it was not long before the government realized that innovation does not follow one form but can come in different shapes and sizes. It was in 2009 when the agency decided to expand the definition in order for companies like Aptera, who practiced a different market approach, to be able to participate. With this change, the company reapplied.
After that, the company has since moved ahead in the design and development of its 2-series vehicles. Since the company wanted to come up with a great vehicle, they had to conduct tests, and repeat it and then do it all over again just to confirm the results. During the past several months, the company’s engineering team used a vehicle that during the X PRIZE was challenged by error states and turned it into something attractive as it is predictable and powerful to drive.
The improvements done on the 2-series will remain and the engineers will only stop once the first model of the successor is shipped. It is due to this practice that Aptera always delivers top quality products. The main challenge that the company is currently facing is to be able to get the necessary capital in order to have a chance in the modern automotive market. This issue is not limited to Aptera as this is also the problem faced by companies such as Nissan, Tesla, Fisker, or even Ford.
However like Aptera, these different companies have also applied to the ATVM Loan program. This is because both the government and the auto industry understand the importance of capital when it comes to the innovation that will move the country to the future. Someone once asked why the company doesn’t just use a smaller amount of money in order to come out with a vehicle and release it to the market.
The short answer to that question would be on what the company would be prepared to give up. Since manufacturing vehicles is by nature manual, having a lower investment would be a problem since the cost of each vehicle continues to increase. This is also assuming that quality is maintained and it would entail additional costs especially on testing not just for quality but also for reliability and durability.
When parts or components are bought in bulk, the overall cost is shared and spread out. However when only a few vehicles are made, the cost of quality would generally increase the price.
So for those who are interested to learn what is happening inside Aptera, the best answer is that the company is currently finding a way to secure the necessary capital in order to deliver the quality and volume that would impact the market. While the company would want this process to be expedited, the government has to complete the comprehensive evaluation and follow the proper processes.