Aptera returns with plans for 1,000-mile EV

Decade of manufacturing, tech and supply advancements should help its revival

A long time ago — especially in the relative timeframe of the modern EV — there was a promising, über-efficient electric car being developed by a company called Aptera. The three-wheeled, two-seat pod looked like the fuselage of a small plane. Time went on, and in 2011 Aptera began refunding deposits for the vehicle, called the 2e, before going bankrupt and closing up shop. The assets were bought by a Chinese company, Zap Jonway, and then the whole story kind of died off. We figured that’d be the end of it.

To the contrary, says an exclusive article from IEEE Spectrum. Aptera’s founders have reconvened, it says, and bought back its intellectual property in order to re-launch the brand and the Aptera 2e EV. The three reunited founders, Chris Anthony, Steve Fambro and Michael Johnson, told the publication they plan to build the world’s most efficient EV. To do that, they’ve completely updated the old design, relying on years of new manufacturing (including additive manufacturing) know-how, improved materials and technology and a more robust supply chain.

The new Aptera electric vehicle would use 50-kW in-wheel motors, likely at all three wheels (though it’ll test a two-motor setup as well). Battery packs will range from 40 to 100 kWh, which in an aerodynamic, lightweight car (the 60-kWh version would weight about 1,800 pounds), would mean up to 1,000 miles of range in the highest configuration.

Aptera is still in the early stages of its second life. Now, it needs working prototypes, which require funding. It has just launched a crowdfunding campaign — with a $1,000 investment earning a spot in the reservation list — and is in talks with more traditional investors as well, in an effort to raise $2.5 million. With that, it’ll build three prototypes, with a potential unveiling next year. Aptera is also considering building a six-seat autonomous vehicle in the future, but first things first … again.

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