When congress established the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program in the 2007 energy bill, it explicitly said that it applied to making cars that come under the federal motor vehicle safety standards. Those safety standards apply only to vehicles with four or more wheels, meaning that three wheelers like the Aptera 2e were not eligible for the money.
This week, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that revises the $25 billion loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. The ATVM program now applies to high efficiency two- and three-wheelers that carry at least two people and get 75 mpg or more. Aptera is now revising and re-submitting its loan application based on the new rules. In spite of not being required to meet federal safety standards, Aptera has committed to passing all the crash requirements anyway. Now the company may be able to get some-low cost funding to help expand and get cars into customer hands.
NEW FEDERAL LEGISLATION MAKES APTERA
ELIGIBLE FOR MILLIONS FROM DOE LOAN PROGRAM
Dept. of Energy's fuel efficiency loan program expands to make companies like Aptera
– with its ultra-high mileage, three-wheel electric vehicle – eligible for funds
VISTA, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2009) -- Aptera Motors, maker of the three-wheeled, all-electric 2e that delivers the equivalent of up to 250 miles per gallon, is updating its loan application for resubmission to the Department of Energy after President Obama signed a bill that makes ultra-efficient, two- and three-wheel vehicles eligible for federal loans.
The new measure, approved as a part of an energy and water appropriations bill, was originally sponsored by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and received overwhelming bi-partisan approval in the House and Senate. It stipulates that any manufacturer of enclosed two- or three-wheeled vehicles that carry at least two people and get 75 miles per gallon are now eligible for DOE funding. Aptera's original submission to the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program was rejected Dec. 31, 2008 because the program was initially drafted to only include passenger vehicles, which, by federal definition, have four wheels.
"This bill shows Congress and the Obama Administration support real American green tech innovation and are behind companies that create manufacturing jobs in America," says Aptera CEO Paul Wilbur. "Aptera's goal is to be the world benchmark for efficiency, with a portfolio of vehicles designed and manufactured right here in the U.S. Our hope is that we can use the DOE loan to accelerate our march to that goal."
Vista, Calif.-based Aptera, which plans to enter full production in 2010 with its two-passenger Aptera 2e, expects to directly employ 1,500 people and create thousands of support roles for American workers from auto parts and components companies. The 2e, with a price range of $25,000 - $40,000, will require no unique charging infrastructure, delivering a range of 100 miles by simply plugging into a conventional 110 volt or 220 volt household outlet.
"Aptera's corporate strategy has always been to go to market on private funding, but the prospect of this new legislation gives us a means to accelerate our plans for national brand expansion," says Wilbur.
Aptera Motors (www.aptera.com) was founded in 2006 to develop and build the most energy efficient commuter vehicles on the road, without compromise to safety or comfort. Utilizing streamlined aerodynamic design, lightweight composite structures and unique drive systems, Aptera delivers vehicles that are affordable and efficient. The Southern California company operates a facility in north San Diego County, where it designs, engineers and manufactures the vehicles and their composite systems to create an exceptionally strong, safe, sleek body.