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Aptera Motors shuts down, effective today; cites lack of private sector investment to match DOE commitment

Aptera Motors, the developer of an all-electric, three-wheeled lightweight aerodynamic vehicle (earlier post) is shutting down. In an email sent out this afternoon, President and CEO Paul Wilbur said that, “despite never having been closer to realazing our vision”, the company was out of resources, and so had to close its doors.

Aptera executives had been engaged in exhaustive due diligence with the Department of Energy (DOE) pertaining to an ATVM (Advance Technology Vehicle Manufacturing) loan. Our business plan was examined from top to bottom by internal agency representatives, independent consultants and experts in academia. They did an amazing job of vetting us and they tested every possible weakness in our plan. And after nearly two years of discussions, we had recently received a Conditional Commitment Letter for a $150-million loan.

The ATVM loan would have provided funding for the development and commercialization of a five-passenger, midsized sedan (similar to a Toyota Camry) that would be base priced at less than $30,000 and deliver more than a 190 mile per gallon equivalent. The concept of this vehicle had been in place since the very beginning of Aptera, and we had been wholly focused on its development for the last year. The last remaining hurdle was finding new funds to match the DOE loan.

We were so optimistic that the company would move forward that we were in discussions to reactivate a mothballed automotive plant in Moraine, Ohio. In the past months we had engaged with the labor union that operated that facility to discuss the hiring of 1,400 new job opportunities. These jobs would have reactivated talented workers who had been dismissed when the facility was closed.

We were well on the way to satisfying the vision of efficiency on which the company was founded and we are confident that with time and capital we could still achieve our goal. The Aptera formula: aerodynamics plus light weight design (through composites) delivered efficiency of 206 EPA miles per gallon in tests at Argonne National Labs. That wasn’t a simulation; it was real measured performance. Despite that promise of efficiency, this challenged market—specifically large private investors—did not have an appetite to lead an investment for the perceived low volume return of our three-wheeled vehicle. So we reprioritized our product plan to four-door sedans, which also cost us time.

We remain confident, even as this chapter closes, that Aptera has contributed tech new technologies to build a future for more efficient driving. Through the dedicated staff at Aptera, our board and suppliers we have touched this future. All that remains is for someone to grab it. We still believe it will happen.

—Paul Wilbur



Let's be honest: the Aptera is another uglier than sin deathtrap, which combined with it's 3-wheel design, was going nowhere in the real world. The Can Am Spyder is a 3-wheel design that is surviving, but not in a high-growth game-changing Model T kind of way. Some ideas are not meant to make it to mass production & into every home in the world.


Just so, ejj.

Another $150 million gone.

Just peanuts, relatively speaking.

And paid for by those 1 percenters and the minority that pay taxes, so no worries mate.

But an indication of competence.

And no one can accuse the government of picking winners.


Great points ToppaTom! This easily could have been another SOLYNDRA, where the government tried to pick a winner, another photo op made possible for Obama, and hundreds of millions of tax dollars of the minority were vaporized into thin air.


Range Fuels Inc., a closely held cellulosic ethanol company backed by as much as $156 million in U.S. loans and grants, is being forced by the government to liquidate its only factory after failing to produce the fuel. (Ref Mike Millikin’s Tweets).

What? “the government to liquidate its only factory” ?
How can this be?

If (IF) it matters NOT how efficiently or how much or how practical green industry is, why would Mother liquidate Range Fuels Inc?

It is almost like FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY – (the last refuge of the Tea Baggers, wall street crooks and the top 1%), actually matters.

Tell me it isn’t so.

But wait – maybe the administration wants to start giving this money to Big Oil, Shale Oil, Tar sands, GOM, Alaska?

- Or for war planes.

No. Never.

Or to buy votes from the achievers – (the flower chillin may not notice).

I just keep repeating,
"green job failures are cleansing"
"failure makes us stronger"
"there is plenty of money"

Roger Pham

Read Bill Clinton's new book "Back to Work" on how to promote "Green Jobs" without spending a dime of tax-payer's mney!

Green industries is providing Germany and China with millions of new jobs. The same can happen in the USA, if we learn from them.

BTW, if the Aptera is gone, VW 1-liter cars can step up to the plate. VW can offer those uber ekonomical cars in both HEV and BEV versions.


the ignorance in these comments is appalling.

the reason the company closed was because it was NOT given the loan. the reason it wasn't given the loan was because IT COULD NOT FIND MATCHING PRIVATE FUNDING.

but sure, if you need a reason to rant about your favorite political problem or take a dump on a politician, you don't really care about details or facts. right?

Nick Lyons


Another $150 million gone.

Not so. Please read the article--the loan was never made, because they couldn't find the matching dollars.


After a luxurious vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Obama is now off for 17 days in Hawaii...must be nice while the country continues to go down the crapper!


Bush was in Crawford many more times ignoring everything, causing the problems we now have to fix.


Toyota has built and sold 2500 ultra light weight single seat BEVs at about $8K each. They could be a much better solution (to drive downtown to work on a daily basis). Operation cost and parking fees could be reduced almost 4 times. Tata of India is considering a similar unit at less than $3K. At about 3-ft wide they could drive two abreast on most streets and roads and park in about 1/3 the space.


ejj summed it up with the first comment, "uglier than sin". Very few would want to buy the aptera, and that is why they couldn't get funding.
Pity, though, because they were taking the light-weight approach.


Funny. Aptera went for image instead of practicality. No way would that design crash test for highway travel. Let's see, toppa and ejj hate guv'mnt funding ventures, I guess that include, Fed, Fannie, Freddy, AIG, Goldman-banks bails.

And subsidies for farmers and oilcos. And ridiculous losses by Pentagon programs (Bradley fighting Machine???) not to mention ABC Agency black budgets lost in stupefying covert ops (Bay of Pigs, Cambodia??)

Obama's Hawaii vacate pales compared to Nixon's La Casa Pacifica, and Key Biscayne officially dubbed the Western & Southern "White Houses", substantial Federal funds were used to make security, communications, and real estate improvements.[1] Reagan's Santa Barbara "ranch," and Century Plaza Hotel vacations... etc.

Obama is doing more for new sources of ENERGY on the planet than previous world leaders combined. But eff him - he's not a bad actor like Reagan.
[1] wikipedia

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