• Nov 15th 2009 at 12:16PM
  • 38
A website devoted to following the development of that futuristic vision of automotive efficiency known as the Aptera has spent much of the month of November in stomach-knotting suspense as rumors began flowing that CEO Paul Wilbur and company directors were planning significant staff cuts (thread here). According to multiple anonymous sources, the blood-letting began in earnest on Thursday when the top fabrication engineer and supervisor (and aluminum jewelery maker) Tim Dine was axed and continued when word trickled out that co-founders Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony had also been ousted, along with 30 percent of remaining employees.

We expect Aptera to release a statement soon addressing the situation. If true, the firings would seem to confirm recent speculation that the company was not going to hit its target of beginning production by the end of the year. An alleged final production version of the craft has only been seen in a computer rendering and communication from the firm has been, well, let's just say their Twitter feed has been tweetless for over a month. On the other hand, the company has recently re-applied for $75 million in DOE loans that, if successful, should lead to cars coming off the line. Eventually. Our fingers remain crossed.


[Source: ApteraForum]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      A startup is a very hard thing to pull off. A startup building hardware is even harder.

      As for VCs, at the end of every year, they have to axe the investments that did not pan out. The classic statistic is that only one of ten will succeed, so doing this allows them to concentrate on the clear winners and invest in new ones.

      Now that Nissan, Tesla, Fisker and Coda are all set to compete for EV buyers, a three wheel vehicle doesn't look like it will be able to compete. So the backers are jumping ship, before they loose more. I'd like to be wrong, but we'll know soon.

      Good luck to them and those who may have lost their jobs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I could have said that most people will not want to buy a three-wheeled car... even BEFORE any other company announced their 4-wheeled electric car program.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe some technical problems haven't been solve. Maybe some business problems haven't been solve. For exemple the body of this car is like an helicopter, so maybe a patent somewhere is proposed by some lawyers as a potential supreme court trial.

      Anyway battery cars are meant to not go on sale for real, just for the subsidies paid by workers ( tax ) then continue suffocating petrol for 100% of gm, ford, chrysler, freightliner, brigg and straton, hayley davidson, lawn boy, bic lighters, coleman camping equipments, imported cars, airplanes, ships, machineries..
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's those fossil fueled bic lighters I'm worried about. Lets get some lithium ion lighters bic!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have my style, i guess..

        First, im shopping in advance. I mean, i want a green product to buy for cash and there is not a single green product for sale anywhere except the tesla at 115 000$ .
        Im born in 1961 and since i've always been a car-guy. Do you have an idea to where i've been since 1961 ??? Bad tires, bad traction, bad engines, rust, difficulty to start, expecially in winter but even a hot engine in summer, bad carburators, few mpg, etc.
        In 2001 i bought a real green product except for the gasoline thing, a kawasaki zx6r ninja color green. 140 mph easy, good everything, reliable fast, modern, lot of mpg but too cold in 6 months winter here in canada. Now im ordering the same basic thing but with a cabin, 4 wheels, etc and no gasoline, a gazeous tank in the trunk with a small home hydrogen machine.

        Each and every articles and news come from liars, explaining why they have to suffocate you or from poor victims explaining why energy is scarse and polluting and cost a fortune and have to return something like 2 mpg up to 35 mpg for a limp little car.

        The trick i do to blog these poor folks, the traders and victims, is to only accept and respond of what is written between the lines. Many time, only the timing is not a lie. The most important thing in an article or blog is when it come in reality and who put it there, unfortunatelly the content is mainly criminal confessions because energy was the ancient word for religion. Did you ever get satisfied in religion or energy ?? No, and you still talk about it. That's the ?%$(& thing that is impeded green technologies. Peoples confuse ' energy' with 'religion'.

        I said to say the facts and do the facts( material devises called an invention) and put it for sale for cash near where i live and forget energy, religion, co2 entrapment, state subsidies, epa rating, security testing, world production-conception-pricing, fleet testing, etc. Just put a &%#@& green car for sale near where i live and stop any theory and thinking about it. Assemble it at 15$/hour wage near where i live without certification, marketing, speculation and tax. No leasing, no testing, no prolonged guarantee. Just the cool stuff.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sometimes I wonder if "gorr" is a pen name for band of college students who have competitions in writing incomprehensible comments. If so, what are the rules? I wonder if this reply means someone just won a beer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it will still happen but I think it was a huge mistake to redo the design and delay another year. unless the original design didn't work mechanically which would be a clusterfuck in itself.
      much better to launch the first and make new models later. that's what all the other companies do. and making it bigger is sort of contrary to the premise of the vehicle anyway and will only hurt the cost.

      just do it already
      • 5 Years Ago
      This trike was set to fail by it's trike design from the get-go. It's too left of center right now for acceptance and acceptance=sales!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh look, an electric car that won't come to the market after years of being played up. I'm so shocked and surprised!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would lke to know how to order and the actual price tag. Deliveray time is now an issue, money however is.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Doesn't surprise me.

      Probably the money guys flexing their muscles and placing their own men on board.

      Similar to Elon Musk firing the founder of Tesla and clearing house.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Siry managed to get some more info and wrote about it on Wired:

      http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/aptera-founders-ousted-in-boardroom-showdown/
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks Doug. As usual, Siry is clear and consise. It sounds to me like the company will survive, at least for awhile while they await a new round of priviate investment by the end of this year or the beginning of next. DOE funds, could be a year away, so hopefully the company will be able to bring the updated production vehicle to market before that. I happen to love this vehicle. While it is sad to think of the founders getting pushed out, one has to remember that this kind of thing is common in startups.

        I'm not a fan of Wilbur but some of the improvements seem to make a lot of sense, even if they are painful. Anyway, all hope is not lost. Remember Th1nk? I thought they were gonners for sure and they're starting to come back to life with new agreements, and production plans and funding from Ener1.

        Aptera is a revolutionary vehicle and there are bound to be difficulties bringing such a thing to market. Go Aptera!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know two people who think this car is awesome, one which has put down a deposit. I just don't get the appeal, and the extruding wheels seem like a real safety issue.

      It seems like vaporware at this point, like most of the electric cars that were all hot last year. Jay Leno having driven one is the only credible thing i can think of.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "On the other hand, the company has recently re-applied for $75 million in DOE loans that, if successful, should lead to cars coming off the line."

      If these rumors are true why would the DOE loan Aptera money? Clearly they have management issues which need to be addressed before being handed a check.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "...why would the DOE loan Aptera money."

        Because it's NOT THEIR MONEY so they have nothing to lose if the loan is not repaid. It is VERY easy to squander the money of others when there is NO REAL consequence.

        When you or I invest OUR money foolishly and it is lost, we personally suffer for it. When some Gov't "Progressive" (socialist) foolishly "invests" (redistributes) money from successful (productive) taxpayers and it is lost, they simply increase their budget and hire more staff, raise taxes to punish the productive and legislatively kill any competition for their favorite lobbiests pet projects.

      JOHN PALACIO
      • 5 Years Ago
      That sucks
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hello,

      I wonder if an open source super efficient vehicle would be a better way to go? I've been advocating this sort of thing for a while now, and here's a little blurb from my blog: http://neilblanchard.vox.com/library...formation.html The idea is already out there -- they just mentioned it on the 'On Point' radio show about the renewed energy of inventors and tinkerers.

      http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/11/...and-innovation

      The idea is the most important thing, and spreading it around means that you get the input of everyone who uses the information.

      Sincerely, Neil
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