• Feb 7, 2011
What's been happening at Aptera? The hyper-aerodynamic vehicle company is still moving forward, just not as fast as the original plans called for. In the company's latest newsletter, plenty of virtual ink is dedicated to explaining where things stand with the request for money from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program (still waiting to hear back), the development and design of the 2-series vehicles (still testing) and why Aptera hasn't sold any vehicles yet (still waiting, see ATVMLP). Here's a choice quote:

A friend asked me today, "Why don't you simply use a smaller amount of money to force some vehicles out the door and into the marketplace?" My response was, "What are you willing to give up?" At a lower investment, vehicle manufacture is much more manual in nature, so the cost of every vehicle increases significantly. (This assumes, of course, that you want quality to stay the same, because testing for durability, reliability and quality has a cost.) When you can purchase components in volume, that cost gets spread out and shared. But when you build only a few, the cost of quality drives up the price.
So to those who ask what's happening in the halls of Aptera, the answer is that we are working to secure the capital necessary to deliver the volume and quality to move the market. We would obviously love to accelerate the process, but the government has to make sure they complete their comprehensive evaluation and we have to let the process run its course.

Basically, Aptera is saying, we needs money, whether from the government or some other major investor. Without that, the wingless bird might forever remain out of reach. You can read more from the newsletter after the jump.

[Source: Aptera]
Show full PR text
Aptera Newsletter:

We Appreciate Your Support

Aptera applied to the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program in December 2008. At that time we were summarily rejected, not because the DOE didn't see value in our innovation, but because the prevailing law that defined passenger vehicles had not been altered for nearly a half century. The great news, and one of the things that makes us proud to be Americans, is that our leaders ultimately recognized that innovation can come in all shapes and sizes. So in 2009, they opened the definition to allow those of us, who take a slightly different approach to the market, to compete. And with that wind at our back, we reapplied.

Since that time, the team has continued to advance the development and design of the 2-series vehicles. The goal is to make a vehicle that is great, so we test and repeat, then test and repeat some more to confirm our results.

Over the past months, our engineering team has taken a vehicle that was challenged by error states during the X PRIZE and transformed it into a vehicle that is as robust and predictable to drive as it is attractive. Aptera's engineers won't be done making enhancements on the 2-series until we ship the first model of its successor. It is this mentality that breeds quality for Aptera.

So what is our challenge? Well, the primary hurdle is raising sufficient capital to compete in the modern automotive market. This is reality whether your name is Fisker, Tesla, Ford or Nissan. The best supporting evidence is that each of these companies, like Aptera, has applied for funds from the ATVM Loan program. Both industry and government alike have realized that capital is needed to sponsor the kind of innovation that will lead this country forward.

A friend asked me today, "Why don't you simply use a smaller amount of money to force some vehicles out the door and into the marketplace?" My response was, "What are you willing to give up?" At a lower investment, vehicle manufacture is much more manual in nature, so the cost of every vehicle increases significantly. (This assumes, of course, that you want quality to stay the same, because testing for durability, reliability and quality has a cost.) When you can purchase components in volume, that cost gets spread out and shared. But when you build only a few, the cost of quality drives up the price.

So to those who ask what's happening in the halls of Aptera, the answer is that we are working to secure the capital necessary to deliver the volume and quality to move the market. We would obviously love to accelerate the process, but the government has to make sure they complete their comprehensive evaluation and we have to let the process run its course.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be unfair for Aptera get govermment (my) money when other start-ups have worked hard to produce a compelling product which private investors have willingly decided to invest in? The government's role is to maintain a free marketplace with minimal barriers to entry, not picking winners and losers. Where are the celebrities who pocket $10 MM+ per movie who are are inclined to repeatedly lecture us about what cars we should be driving and how much water to use when brushing our teeth? Maybe they should put their money where their mouths are and support Aptera with part of their wealth. Declaring your need for government money is admitting your product concept is lacking feasibility in the marketplace.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The thing with the Aptera... too much emphasis on trying to sell it as a car with car safety... except it's not actually as safe as a car, else Aptera would have given it four wheels. (There are some aerodynamic benefits to a three-wheeler, but that thing is insanely wide due to the front track they chose.)

      This adds weight, size, and greatly adds cost. The Aptera 2e weighs 1800 pounds, ffs!

      On the other end of the spectrum, scooter and motorcycle sales have gone way up with the fuel crisis. (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/us_scooter_sale.php for 2006, and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24620567/ns/business-autos/ for 2008)

      I think it's possible to make a 150 MPG 2-seat vehicle for well under $10,000, with no government assistance.

      The trick is, don't sell it as a three-wheel car. Sell it as a three-wheel vehicle that's safer than a traditional scooter, protects you from the weather, and gets better fuel economy while going faster than that scooter (thanks to the aerodynamics.)

      Then, you don't have to do nearly as much for safety (because your target isn't "almost as safe as a car", but rather "safer than a scooter"), and if it's cheap enough, you can even skimp on features, because it's a secondary vehicle - basic heating, ventilation, and a radio prep package will be enough for a base model, with AC and a radio as options.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's an idea..let's demand a law requiring that certain for-profit companies that spend money lobbying state and federal law-makers (like say...the oil companies) provide matching funds that the Government applies to US based new-tech battery development.

      Oh, and we should stop using MY taxes to subsidize the oil industry...at the same time we use MY taxes to support oil-industry alternatives.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Aptera is a 3 wheeled vehicle, and therefore classified as a motorcycle in all 50 states (though licensing procedures for 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles vary greatly from state to state). Atpera has lobbied the DOT repeatedly and unsuccessfully to be classified as a (preferably new class of) automobile, so it'll probably always just be another motorcycle builder ignored by most commuters who prefer cars and trucks to an Aptera bike that costs as much as a base BMW 1 Series. Still, I hope it can secure funding to move it out of its vaporware existence. MarkF
      • 3 Years Ago
      NO,NO and NO !! No taxpayer monies for a market that is not ever going to be feasible...Unless the left has their way as they are doing by not letting us drill for oil,they want to sky rocket electricity rates,the current president even said he will sky rocket electricity rates...Wake up people,please !!!! Stop being scammed !!!

      People dont want these electric cars.

      People dont want small vehicles.

      People want trucks,suv's and larger cars !!

      Larger vehicles are safer,more comfortable to drive ect..

      Stop pushing these electric garbage on people,its not environmentally friendly (the green thing is a big lie)

      It's 2011,we all know vehicles dont harm the environment,there is no global warming ect...We have the highest population of polar bears in history ect...ect...

      http://www.climatechange101.ca/
        • 3 Years Ago
        "I want an electric vehicle (actually I want a diesel/electric hybrid, and if it looked like the Aptera - bonus!).
        I love (and drive) a smaller vehicle.
        I hate oversized SUV's.
        I am perfectly comfortable in my smaller vehicle. And I feel perfectly safe in it too."

        I want a Volt and a Jeep.

        But here's the rub -- Why should YOUR wants and desires dictate what I can by for MY family? MY 6'8" body is not perfectly comfortable in a small car, and my wife has been rear-ended twice in the last 3 months here in DC. If you think you are perfectly safe in a small car, then you probably also believe in manmade global warming, too!
        • 3 Years Ago
        By underground news channels he also means Rush Limbaugh
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wow, you have a serious case of brain cancer, son. So you think sending $1 BILLION a day abroad for oil, breathing filthy, toxic air, polluting out groundwater, is positive?

        Then, you're telling us driving an SUV is less damaging to the environment than an EV such as, say the Nissan Leaf???

        There IS global warming, for f--- sake get yout of the Middle Ages and get a science course, and for god's sake, stop reading nonsense from 'underground news channels'.

      • 3 Years Ago
      You know, I need government money to get my next software idea off of the ground. Seeing as how I cant find investors this seems like a ripe way to get free money I surely will never have to repay should my idea tank.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Abso-freaking-lutely NOT, Aptera. If your idea can't find enough investors on its own, then it should not be brought to market. Period.

      There are lots of ideas that, with some government funding, could be brought to life. But taking money out of my pocket to fund your pipe dream is not what this country is all about.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Do you mean just like Tesla did? Or maybe you are talking about Fisker because last I check both of those rich boy toys got half a billion dollars from the same program. That says nothing for the money Nissan got and they're not even an American company. Or what about Ford? They have money. Hey I'm even one of there investors but they got Billions from the same program.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The thing with the Aptera... too much emphasis on trying to sell it as a car with car safety... except it's not actually as safe as a car, else Aptera would have given it four wheels. (There are some aerodynamic benefits to a three-wheeler, but that thing is insanely wide due to the front track they chose.)

      This adds weight, size, and greatly adds cost. The Aptera 2e weighs 1800 pounds, ffs!

      On the other end of the spectrum, scooter and motorcycle sales have gone way up with the fuel crisis. (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/us_scooter_sale.php for 2006, and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24620567/ns/business-autos/ for 2008)

      I think it's possible to make a 150 MPG 2-seat vehicle for well under $10,000, with no government assistance.

      The trick is, don't sell it as a three-wheel car. Sell it as a three-wheel vehicle that's safer than a traditional scooter, protects you from the weather, and gets better fuel economy while going faster than that scooter (thanks to the aerodynamics.)

      Then, you don't have to do nearly as much for safety (because your target isn't "almost as safe as a car", but rather "safer than a scooter"), and if it's cheap enough, you can even skimp on features, because it's a secondary vehicle - basic heating, ventilation, and a radio prep package will be enough for a base model, with AC and a radio as options.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey Aptera!! If you're vehicle is such a great thing, you should have no problem finding investors. Keep your hands out of my pockets, I'm sick and tired of funding banks, investment companies, mortgage companies and automobile companies!!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        What Aptera is doing is nothing new or unusual. Virtually every single company regardless of size hits up its government for money. This is not Aptera going up and asking for a hand out, if you read that are waiting for the government's answer to their Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program application. Its a loan not a grant. The money has to be paid back and with interest, albeit a lower interest rate than a bank would offer.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It takes $7500 in government money to move a Volt. Take away all the government money and GM and Chrysler may not exist either.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Thanks Alex 'VoiceOfReason'
        Getting tired of herp derp my tax money which is mine herp derp.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I couldn't have said it better, myself.

        Fully agreed.

        The government SHOULD NEVER be in the venture capital business with the money they legally take from people by force of law.

        A venture capitalist organization looks at the marketable merits, and decides whether to gamble with the money they have legally acquired in the market. Otherwise, if it is illegal, they should be indicted for fraud.

        The GOVERNMENT, on the other hand, takes money from the public in terms of taxes, they borrow money from foreign sources to the point that we can't even pay it back... and the government deflates the money to pay back debt with less value on the same paper.

        Then they go and give money to organizations that they politically pick, since the government is a political organization that is not ultimately governed by market forces. Government doesn't EARN anything. Government COSTS the people (some necessarily, other costs are things that the government shouldn't be doing)... and government TAXES what they get as revenue.

        I have a choice whether to invest or not, and with whom.

        I have no choice whether or not to pay my taxes, or to whom that tax money goes to as long as representatives are not listening to their constituents, and behaving extra-constitutionally.

        One would have thought they would have gotten the message the people sent in November... but it doesn't appear to be enough.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Then maybe the Volt shouldn't exist!! If it can't survive on it's own! Same with GM and Chrysler!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Always having to seek the government grants for private, business ventures is a sign either the idea won't fly or somebody's unable/unwilling? to do the hard work of finding investors...or the doors have all been slammed already.

        I like the Aptera, and would love to see it in production, but I don't think over-reliance on public funds is the way to there.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well I guess we should just keep getting that good ol oil from the middle east like we always do...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Stop wasting taxpayers' money. Get the Hummer back.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You mean the Hummer that was 6,000+ pounds and so was able to be taken as an instant write-off on federal and state taxes as opposed to having to be written off over a period of 5-7 years??


        • 3 Years Ago
        You mean the hummer designed for the military using taxpayer dollars that then became a commercial product?
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm guessing that was supposed to be either ironic humor or sarcasm. Either way, fail.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have some beachfront property in Arizona to sell to the American Tax Payer as well! Anyone up for it?


      *big middle finger* to Aptera. Eat it, government has no business in private business. Where are we, China?
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