You’ve probably never heard of Aptera. If you have, you deserve a gold star, or a cookie.
If you do have a vested interest in the eco-friendly startup, we have bad news: As of today, its operations cease to exist. Done. Over. Finished. Stick a fork in it.
Aptera CEO and president Paul Wilbur put it quite succinctly: “Unfortunately, though, we are out of resources.”
Getting in early on the green bubble, Aptera created a three-wheeled space pod called the Aptera 2e that the company said could get the electric equivalent of 206 mpg. But after that car was found to be unfeasible, Aptera went back to the drawing board to create a more conventional 190-mpg electric Toyota Camry competitor. The company says it would have cost around $30,000, too, in a world where mass-produced Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) with many more resources to pull from still cost more than that.
Alas, it was not to be. Aptera had banked on receiving a $150 million Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan from the U.S. Department of Energy—the same loan operation that has given life to Fisker and Tesla Motors. Aptera had plans to restart General Motors’ defunct Moraine, Ohio plant, hire on 1400 workers, and get its operations going. Investors pulled out, and the rest is history.
Aptera got its start in the mid-2000s, and for a while, it looked like the 2e had a legitimate shot at reaching showrooms. Green became the new black, anyone with a large wallet and a desire to build a car got in on the act. Only a few startups have made any cars that customers could actually buy, and most went bust. It turns out starting a car company is tough. Who woulda thunk it?
Wilbur concluded is letter, after letting go of 30 employees, with an enigmatic “We’ll be there in spirit”-like last hurrah.
“We remain confident, even as this chapter closes, that Aptera has contributed new technologies to build a future for more efficient driving. Through the dedicated staff at Aptera, our board and suppliers we have touched this future. All that remains is for someone to grab it. We still believe it will happen.”
Translation: Expect Aptera to license its lightweight composite technology to the first company to cut decent-sized a check.