Aptera 2e – Click above for high-res image gallery

There was good news and bad news out of the Aptera camp last month. The good: The company raised another $2.25 million. The bad: Reservations are now no longer being accepted. We just got word that the bad news is stacking up: Aptera is refunding deposits for the ultra-aerodynamic, three-wheeled electric vehicle (or planned hybrid version). In an email to supporters, Aptera says it is returning every deposit made thus far, according to Green Car Reports. The email reads, in part:

Our path to production has been longer than anticipated, which has complicated our reservation administration to the point that we have decided to return your deposit. ... [Our credit-card processing system] is designed for transactions to be completed in a six-month window. Since most of Aptera's deposits have been in reserve for more than six months, maintenance of the account has become problematic for our credit card processor and administratively cumbersome for Aptera.

Apparently, anyone who put in a deposit will now be added to a "newly created VIP database" and that, "As our production date approaches, we will use the database to direct you to your local retailer so you can be among the first to own an Aptera vehicle." The Aptera website doesn't have any of this news update, but it does still say "Reserve yours today!" without a working link. So...


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  • 41 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hope they have their resume's ready and can move fast enough so their stench of what they did to Aptera won't follow.
        mehulkamdar
        • 3 Years Ago
        Steve, Time for you to buy the company back for pennies on the dollar and market the cars, I think. The design is great and the potential immense - maybe a partnership with a foreign manufacturer could see success after all. Revenge is a dish best served cold and you could take back what you started and make a success of it just like another Steve did with a company called Apple. :) Good luck and best wishes!
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        that's the spirit : ) do you think aptera could be restructured and the process resumed from the original design? would you do it if allowed?
      vwfailagain
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL @ 3 wheels.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @vwfailagain
        Engineering-wise, I don't have a problem with the 3 wheels. It is less rolling resistance, less weight, etc. But marketing-wise and politically, it has been a complete disaster. Most people (such as you) can't seem to accept 3 wheels thus it really cuts down their potential market. And then when the tax-credit came out only for standard 4 wheel cars, that pretty much killed them.
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @Spec
          @Miles - Right. Just like the Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue... at 38 MPH. http://www.examiner.com/cars-in-national/ford-escape-nissan-rogue-roll-over-nhtsa-side-crash-test-photos-and-video
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          The 3 wheels does have downsides . . . less traction on the road, a little less stability, bad for rain/snow. But those are not serious issues for where I live. @miles The two front wheels are pretty wide so that reduces the roll chance. It would probably go flying though since it is so light. But so what if it did roll? As long as you have your seatbelt on, you'll just have a fun ride. The composite body is pretty damn strong.
          miles
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Actially I consider not enough rolling resistance to be the main problem here - this tri-pod gets T-boned and it WILL roll!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem with Aptera started as soon as PW and MM got there. Anyone that followed this company form the start knew how promising the product was until a few came on board and destroyed the entire company. Many saw this years ago when the change took place.
      Tyler Reilly
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, PennyOrder.com
      JP
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is no real market for three wheeled bug machines. The small advantage had by forgetting to put the fourth wheel on simply isn't worth the loss of stability, traction, useable space, and weird looks. A similarly efficient vehicle can be built with four wheels and contain more useable space. There is a good reason that most vehicles larger than wheel barrows and tricycles have an even number of wheels.
        Grendal
        • 1 Month Ago
        @JP
        The vehicle was thoroughly tested at the Automotive X-Prize and there was no loss of stability over a standard car. If you place the weight properly a three wheeled vehicle can be just as stable as a four wheeled vehicle. And in the case of a lot of SUV's, even more stable, A lot of people also believe that large SUV's are more safe than small compact cars but statistically a nimble compact car has a lot less accidents than an SUV.
          Nick
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Grendal
          Grendal True but the Aptera has a giant, Hummer like front track.
          Grendal
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Grendal
          Marco Polo - You're right. The attitude of the designers was to appeal to a niche crowd. Their concept was to start small and redesign the vehicle along the way (similar to Tesla). The investors brought in an ex-Detroit management team that was supposed to bring the vehicle to production. They chose instead to try and make the vehicle more appealing to the general public. This involved a significant redesign that delayed production over and over until all the seed money was spent. History has proven that was a really bad strategy. The design didn't kill the Aptera, really bad management did. In late 2008 they had over 4000 people, in California alone, eagerly awaiting this unique vehicle. Three years later they've got nothing. But there are still a few niche customers interested in a lightweight aerdynamic vehicle, but at this point it's unlikely it will be the Aptera.
          Grendal
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Grendal
          @EVnerdGene - Sorry, but I did watch the X-prize. All of it - not just the video of the earliest run. After a suspension tweak the Aptera completed the second round for the slalom in 7 tries. And by the 3rd round they did it on the second run - and that's with a larger than average stance. I'll agree that the X-prize version (the S0-1) was overly heavy and that hurt them and their efficiency. But to get back to the point, a 3 wheeled vehicle is not automatically less stable than every 4 wheeled vehicle. It all depends on where you place the weight.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Grendal
          Grendal, It's obvious you are a fan of the Aptera. Unfortunately, there are lots of designs which appeal to a small number of devoted fans. When a designer decided to manufacture and market his product, he must decide on whether to restrict production to enthusiasts who can pay a high enough price to make low volume manufacture profitable, or try to sell in volume. Aptera, spent far too much money trying to produce a volume product with a design which would only ever have attracted a very limited number of buyers. .
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Month Ago
          @Grendal
          You obviously weren't watching the X-Prize. Aptera took many tries to make it through the slaloms at the required speed - looked really snarley. Moving their battery pack behind the driver's seat sure didn't help things. Butt-heavy 3-wheeler is a kiss of death. However, there were some other 3-wheelers that breezed through.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like they are wrapping things up over there.. I knew this car would not make it. Like many things ahead of their time, they don't work until the time comes.
      Breconeer
      • 3 Years Ago
      I trust that any interest which might have accrued on funds held will also go back to the customer..
        Chris M
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Breconeer
        I doubt it, any interest accrued during that short of a period would be just enough to cover the credit card processing costs, with little left over.
      TIMMAH!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I passed out a long time ago from holding my breath...
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Refunding people is the right thing to do as they have no idea if and when the car could finally be on sale. Good luck to them.
        Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
        @Nick From Montreal
        I agree... it's the right thing to do. However, NOT taking deposits if they have 'no idea if and when the car could finally be on sale' would have been even better.
      Mark Sumner
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really hate to see this. I made my deposit back in October of 2007, when it seemed as if this 3-wheeler was right around the corner. No design before or since has so well fit just what I wanted out of a vehicle for my daily commute. Aptera reservation #120. Sigh.
      Archonic
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm sure the hundreds of people writing everyday in anger saying "GIVE ME MY DEPOSIT BACK" had nothing to do with it. No, it was their credit card system. Also, VIP database to ensure they're among the first to own the vehicle? Really? Isn't that the idea behind RESERVING them? Starting a car company based on a few ideas makes no sense and never will. You need a dramatic auto-philosophy, tons of industry experts and endless capital to start a car company and be successful. Aptera has none of these; they just have a few neat ideas. As far as I'm concerned, Aptera is a bunch of goons finding new and different ways to burn through millions of dollars while letting down hundreds of people.
        Spec
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Archonic
        They have had a system for refunding money this entire time. Anyone that wanted their money back could get it back. Right now, they are pretty much forcing people to take their money back even if the people didn't ask for the money.
      letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      I didn't realize that they had been taking reservation funds via credit card; no wonder it's an admin nightmare!
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