The never-ending attempted flight of the Aptera three-wheel design continues. After years of struggles and a bankruptcy in 2011, the Aptera assets were revived last year by a Chinese company, Zap Jonway. Zaptera USA, which now owns the Aptera Motors assets, has announced that Aptera will be split into two companies.

One, Zaptera, will stay at it is, and "will retain the same Owners, Board Directors and Officers," according to a press release emailed to us. Zaptera will focus on China and will mass-produce an all-electric Aptera 2e at a manufacturing facility owned by the Jonway Group. The other company, Aptera USA, is splitting off to become independent. It will be run by CEO Richard Deringer, who told Gizmag in no uncertain terms that Zap Jonway is not in the picture. "We have nothing to do with Zap Jonway. We wish them well in trying to survive, but we don't want any association with them," he said.

Aptera USA, owned in the US and focused on selling cars here, will offer both a 2g (gas-powered Aptera) and a handmade-in-the-US version of the 2e, to be built in Santa Rosa, CA. Aptera USA is also apparently going to look into building trucks and motorcycles, a hybrid vehicle and "new vehicles with further advanced body improvements, including quick charge battery technology." Despite the info in the press release, the company website remains annoyingly vague on the whole matter.

The website does talk about "a portfolio of vehicles priced from the high $20,000s to the mid $40,000s in a variety of powertrain options that include plug-in electric and range-extended electric drive" and has at least one mention of 200 mpg. In the good old days, the original Aptera was said to have a 20-kWh battery pack from A123 Systems that offered about 114 miles of range. After all the ups and downs, though, who knows where the story goes from here.
Show full PR text
PRESS RELEASE
6/9/2013

Zaptera USA, Inc., the Company that purchased the assets of Aptera Motors has moved forward splitting the Company into two separate and independent corporations. Zaptera USA, Inc. will retain the same Owners, Board Directors and Officers. However the second Company will become a separate independent Company under new US ownership, with new officers of the Company. This new Company will become Aptera USA. The company will be housed in its current manufacturing warehouse and assembly space in Santa Rosa, California.

The Aptera USA CEO will become Richard Deringer, who has extensive knowledge in Green Technology, Urban Smart Growth Development, and Electric Car Design and Manufacturing. Zaptera USA, Inc. will continue to build in China a mass produced version of the Aptera 2e vehicle at the manufacturing facility of the Jonway Group. Aptera USA will move forward to develop and build a "Gas Powered" "2g" version of the Aptera vehicle, while also producing a US handmade version of the electric Aptera "2e" vehicle. It is estimated that the gas powered vehicle will produce in excess of 100 miles per gallon, mainly due to its composite light weight construction and aerodynamic USA designs.

Aptera USA will also concentrate on developing an Electric Motorcycle Division and a Truck Division for future development, all under the Aptera USA name. After careful consideration, due to the magnitude of loyal Aptera fans and family, Aptera USA determined that it was in the best interest to produce a USA designed and USA made vehicle. Initial production is planned for its Santa Rosa manufacturing facility with a new planned manufacturing facility coming soon to Southern California. Aptera USA will, after completion of the "2e" and "2g" models, concentrate on various new products, including a future hybrid version and new vehicles with further advanced body improvements, including quick charge battery technology. Richard Deringer for Zaptera USA, Inc. and Aptera USA.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the Aptera's ideas that make land vehicle design different. There is smart way to make focus to save energy and our life. We happy to get relationship with you for cheapest propulsion development. Vehicles are pushed by force of friction between their wheels and land or between propeller(s) and water or air according to the Third Newton’s law of physics in moving. Force of friction DOES NOT dependent to motor power but it is dependent to vehicle weight. You know vehicles are pushed by force of friction between their wheels and land or between propeller(s) and water or air according to the Third Newton’s law of physics in moving. Force of friction DOES NOT dependent to motor power but it is dependent to vehicle weight. Unfortunately, machine administrations continue to increase cylinders diameter of motor or its number for reducing time of vehicle movement by gas or magnet field at present increased traffics of cities in many thousands times than 127 years ago when first steel vehicle is moved by 0.75 hp motor from stop (Carl Benz‘s patent #37435, in Germany). In comparison, the existing SUV of 2,000 lb uses 550 hp motor that accelerates from 0 to 100 mph during 5 seconds. Why maximum weight of each USA lightweight vehicle is moved from stop by direct gear “drive” or 1,2,3,4 etc gears never used by customer? You can check how the motor power exceeds the normal power according to highest weight of your car. Why huge cruise ship motor consumes one gallon per 34 INCHES? Other huge machine-polluters of public using and tax-payer’s investment as are locomotives, helicopters; submarine, etc have only motor(s) as propulsion too. Therefore any transmission DOES NOT need for vehicle excluding heavy-duty truck propulsion only. The 80,000 lb heavy-duty truck is moved by 400 hp motor instead 2192 hp for moving as SUV? Its shift gearbox reduces vehicle motor size or power in 5 times. Unfortunately, the propulsion of heavy-duty truck has WRONG design for saving energy and keeping clean air too: (1) 80,000 lb is accelerated by gas and any motor shaft speed exceeds idle speed reduce its torque that requires increasing motor power; (2) excessive motor power consumes up to 80% mechanical energy for its heat form; (3) shift gearbox works as second brake to vehicle acceleration that requires additional energy consumption for additional emissions. This innovation on www.repowermachine.com is finalist at Clean-tech and Energy of 2012 Minnesota’s TEKNE AWARDS. The Creator’s physics laws of lever is base of above 1,000 non-accelerated propulsion designs that are transformed by shift gearbox apparatuses (GAFEES, USA patents 8,011,274 and 7,191,676). Therefore existing SUV non-accelerated propulsion with chosen 12 overdrive speeds GAEES that uses idle speed of 20 hp motor. Existing heavy-duty truck non-accelerated propulsion reaches 100 mph for one-two seconds tin comparison too by GAEES of 24 torque/overdrive speeds that reduces motor power to 100 hp.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Come on guys, lets at least attempt to get it right. Aptera in the past did not say the car would get 114 mile range, they said originally that the car would get 200 miles on a charge which they did at the X-Prize (slightly under due to electrical problems). Random errors in reporting on the Aptera is one of the causes of so many people being confused about the car.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Um, yeah.. Go hand build it in California, the state with one of the highest costs of living in the United States. Recipe for success!
        carney373
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Reduced transportation costs to the state where you have your best chance of sales.
      Giyad
      • 2 Years Ago
      keep wasting money... no one wants to drive that ****. Put your money to some more useful electric/gas/hydro/whatever vehicles, but stop wasting your time and money!
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giyad
        Some people are willing to spend extra to get extreme efficiency. This vehicle fits into that category. If people are willing to spend $100K just to shave off one second in their 0-60 times you don't think someone would spend an extra $20K to double their efficiency. What would someone spend to be able to say that their car does 200 MPGe or 100 MPG? In 2008 Aptera had the possibility of becoming big. They didn't have an enormous amount of money to go crazy with but they had a very loyal following. The best idea was to follow in Tesla's shoes and make small numbers at first and as interest and demand peaked get more investors to get on board. Instead they gambled on getting a government loan while overthinking a simple design. The loss of vision and innovation was just crippling. Now there are plenty of EV's available that are very efficient and hyper-efficiency is only the dream of OCD number crunchers.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      4 Wheels! Unless it has 4 wheels, it will always fail. Nobody wants to be a nerd outside of the nerd havens of MIT, San Francisco/Bay area, and Austin... But a aerodynamic, lightweight car would have some interest and use. If it cost me under $10 in electricity to drive home to Michigan, I would do it a lot more than when it costs $70 in gas.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Look at the RC Car from Toy Story to see how it should be designed.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        4 wheels will make it more expensive and less aerodynamic.. This sort of design works solely due to the 3 wheel configuration.
          Warren
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          What? Do you recall the Wave II, which looked a lot like the Aptera, but had four wheels and beat it in the X-prize competition? http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/teams/li-ionmotors
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        These guys do not have the assets of Tesla. The entire point of 3 wheels is so that it doesn't have to meet all the automotive regulation for a car. This is why so many little startups use the 3 wheel design. The moment they add a 4th wheel, every little damn detail of the car has to be a certain way. Bumpers, airbags, side impact beams, passing a crash test, lights, control schemes. Heck, we don't get the Audi A5/S5 in the USA because the headliner padding is about 1/8" too thin. The Aptera simply cannot exist as a 4-wheel vehicle in the USA. It might be possible in Europe, where they allow "quadricycles".
          methos1999
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Not to nit pick, but the US does in fact get the Audi A5 (see www.audiusa.com/models/audi-a5-coupe‎). Also there is another way around the 4 wheel issue - simply sell it as a kit car. I actually think this would be a good route for Aptera to go regardless of wheel count since it's always going to be a niche vehicle. All they have to do is sell it in pieces, most significantly with no engine.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Sorry, I meant Audi A5/S5 Sportback. That's the one with the headliner slightly too thin and can't be imported into the USA.
        Sean
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Take a look at the Edison 2: http://www.edison2.com/
        JoeP
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        I got to ride in the Aptera, and was impressed with the handling and the ride. If I wanted a car for 2ppl, I would be interested.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      We're ZAP, butt we're not ZAP, butt we're half ZAP, but the other half is not involved, butt we're a separate company anyway, but the one in China is not the same as the one in the US, even though we're the same company.. Same old ZAcraP
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Yeah it seems a bit confusing.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      The question is always the same, the question is when and what. 99% of the articles are just theorical project ?? the only real green cars available 'now' for real everywhere is the volt, the leaf and the tesla. I read here around 500 articles about other bev, the fuelcell cars, hho, green algae fuel, the aptera, the volkz xl1, cheap ethanol, long range batteries, etc, etc. It's been 10 years that I suggest cheap performing available green cars, trucks, suv, motorcycles, etc. Since then no real work have been done except fitting lithium battery to a car like the volt of leaf or tesla, this is poor results but on the imaginary side there is been a lot of articles, so we can at least chat. Even if there was a cheap green car for 10 000$ that go fast and have 400 mpg, then I will still chat about it. Now I suggest to build a small bev with a methanol range extender that capture the waist heat into a steam electric turbine and capture the exhaust and convert it back to methanol. Range of 5 000 miles are possible for 1$$.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they can sell a few Codas then they should get a couple people to buy this unique vehicle.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the Aptera ! Not because I think it's a sensible, or even marketable vehicle, but because it's eccentric and weirdly different. I think there's room in the world for eccentric and different auto-mobiles. (as long as they satisfy safety standards). There's certainly a market for an EV version of the Aptera, (especially convertible), with resort hire/rental companies etc. It's a great shame that Aptera developed delusions of grandeur, and dreamed of becoming a mass volume vehicle capable of replacing the Toyota Corolla ! For such a limited appeal vehicle, this was never going to happen. Had the original company been content to build a limited production run of 50-100 vehicles a month, Aptera would still be in business. The Morgan Motor company, is an example of how an impractical, and fairly eccentric vehicle builder can still be successful and prosper as a low volume auto-manufacturer. Sold to ardent enthusiasts and applications where it's eccentric design appeals, a low volume Aptera could be profitable, (especially now that the R&D costs are written off !)
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        As a three-wheeler, it is a "motorcycle" and doesn't need to bother with automotive safety standards.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          @ Actionable Mango That's very true !
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          - And would still be safer than any motorcycle. @Marco Now Aptera does not have a choice, they must be a small niche player - at best.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Anything is safer than a motorcycle. And I say that as a motorcyclist.
      Ernie Dunbar
      • 2 Years Ago
      MORTICIAN: Here -- he says he's not dead! CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. DEAD PERSON: I'm not! MORTICIAN: He isn't. CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill. DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better! CUSTOMER: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.
        Harry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ernie Dunbar
        C: I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique. O: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it? C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it! O: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting. C: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now. O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage! C: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead. O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting! Aptera is just resting.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      I sure hope they build the lighter, more aerodynamic earlier 2E version. There might be a few diehard enthusiasts still willing to buy one. I wish them good luck. Get a few on the road then let's see what happens.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        If they actually build an efficient one and not the turd they brought to the x prize then I think there is still a market for it, particularly when the efficiency translates to lower battery cost. Keeping the price low will be vital. 30k is probably too much today. 30k would fly back in the day but they effed that opportunity up so now it's a tighter game. Optimization will be vital here. I would consider in-wheel motor to keep the drivetrain simple, light and inexpensive, both development and manufacture. Maybe motorcycle front tires so they can be on a single stiff suspension arm so that is also simple and cost effective. Maybe a metal tube chassis if stiffness in fiber glass is otherwise too heavy and costly. An ICE version is a mistake. Big mistake. It complicates a lot and takes away credibility. Imagine if Tesla did a V6 version of the Model S. Horrible. If you can do a 10kWh version for 20k$ I think you are alive. If they do the xprize version for 30k they will just die once more.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          You and I are in total agreement on this. :) The gas version was a nice idea back in 2008 as an alternative for those afraid of an EV. I think with the number of EV's on the road now that is no longer a problem. It's only selling point nowadays is hyper-efficiency with light weight and aerodynamics. EV is the only way to pull off hyper-efficiency with this idea.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Flashback: "You may cast this car from your graveyard by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost, and if the flashback cost was paid, exile this car instead of putting it anywhere else any time it would leave the stack."
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