The automotive startup firm, Aptera Motors, shut down last Friday because it ran out of money and wasn’t able to raise funds from private investors. Aptera hoped that these funds would be enough for it to survive before the Department of Energy's Advance Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program grants it a loan of $150 million.
Aptera is known for promoting the unusually styled three-wheeled 2e electric car. In a statement, CEO Paul Wilbur said that this time is a “difficult” one for the firm since it is now very close to accomplishing its vision.
Last August, the cash deposits that came from prospective buyers of the 2e were returned by Aptera. Back then, Aptera said that it required the funds since a credit card processor gave it a six-month period wherein it has to start production but this had passed.
Delays marred the Aptera project. It was when Aptera entered the 2e in the 2008 Automotive X Prize competition that it attracted plenty of attention. It had asserted that the 2e would get the equivalent of 300 mpg but would be priced less than $30,000. It pledged that it would start production in 2009 and then again in 2010 but it wasn’t able to meet its promises.
Wilbur released a statement to reveal that in the past year, Aptera was busy with the development of a hybrid-powered sedan (similarly sized to a Toyota Camry) that could offer 190 mpg and have a base price lower than $30,000. He said that the shift in focus used up a lot of the company’s time. He added that Aptera had been in talks to use a closed auto plant in Moraine, Ohio, to produce the car.
Aptera was refining technology that allowed it to build body panels from composite materials with a Class A surface finish that doesn’t have to be painted. This would have led to a significant reduction in labor and production costs. Wilbur said that even with the closure of the company, it remains confident that it was able to contribute new technologies that will make driving more efficient in the future. [source: FoxNews]