Given the countless rumors posted widely over the internet, Aptera has finally set the record straight in the press release below. It is my sincere hope that funding comes to Aptera sooner, rather than later, from both private and public funds. Tesla Motors was fortunate to receive funding / support from Daimler, while Fisker Automotive was able to receive federal funding likely due to their Tier 1 suppliers being well established in both the commerical and defense industries. Th!nk received financial support from Ener1, Inc., and is now pursuing federal funds, so who would be the likely supplier / partner to take Aptera under the wing (no pun intended)?
VISTA, Calif., November 18, 2009 -- In September 2008, when fledgling vehicle
manufacturer Aptera named Paul Wilbur president and CEO, the 27-year
Detroit auto executive set forth a series of financial goals and
deadlines. “Aptera’s funding will be tied directly to production and
delivery,” said Wilbur.
During the past 12 months, the company’s initial offering – the
aerodynamic Aptera 2e, an all-electric, three-wheeled two-seater that
gets the equivalent of 200-plus mpg – has evolved from concept to near
reality. Companies including Google and IdeaLab have made significant
investments in the southern California auto manufacturer, and numerous
potential private and public backers are in the process of doing their
due diligence. However, according to Wilbur, the vehicle development
has been outpacing the rate of fundraising.
“We’re making significant progress every day with product refinements,
the completion of engineering and design details, and securing
meaningful strategic partnerships,” says Wilbur. “However, we now
have to adjust our production schedule to align with financing
realities. Properly managing the resources of the company means we’ll
complete our first vehicles in 2010, not by the end of 2009 as
“Aptera management is being a prudent steward of all resources to
ensure a long future for the company and strong returns for its
stakeholders, so we’ll begin volume production vehicles once our
current series of private funding has closed or when we secure
financing through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology
Vehicle loan program.”
The aerodynamically-inspired Aptera 2e goes from zero to 60 in under
10 seconds, tops out at 90 mph and has already received nearly 4,000
deposits, which are fully refundable and remain in an escrow account.
The production vehicle includes enhanced safety features, a redesigned
interior cabin that is airy and user-friendly, a unitized structural
composite body as well as a telematics and infotainment system.
“I’m as disappointed as any of our depositors and loyal followers
around the country that we’re delaying initial production,” says
Wilbur. “There’s no one who’s more anxious than we are to put the 2e
on the road.
“Because of this production delay, we’ve unfortunately been forced to
lay off some hard working employees. It’s a strategy to streamline
our spending to hone in on the items that advance our fundraising and
completion of our first vehicle. Additionally as part of this plan,
our co-founders, Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony, are stepping aside
from day-to-day activities. Steve, our company visionary and the
captain of future planning, will re-engage with the company in the new
year. Both Steve and Chris will also continue to support Aptera
through their positions on the board of directors.”
Fambro, who started tinkering with the idea of building an aerodynamic
vehicle five years ago, is the company’s Chief Technical Officer,
directing all advanced concept development activities.
“Right now my advanced work is a lower priority for Aptera,” said
Fambro. “We’ve got to be wholly focused on funding and getting the
first 2e on the road.
“Paul’s leadership and (chief engineer) Tom Reichenbach’s talent have
led to changes in the vehicle that are spot-on. They’ve made the
vehicle safer, it’s better handling and more comfortable. Once we get
through this stage, we’ll begin mass producing the 2e – the most
aerodynamic and efficient vehicle in the world.”
According to Wilbur, “Building and launching a new car company is the
challenge of a lifetime – even in the best economic times. At Aptera,
this is especially true because we didn’t start with an existing
architecture for our vehicle. The 2e was designed from scratch, which
is why we’re focused on properly, and painstakingly, creating a
foundation that can succeed over time; it’s a chance for everybody
working at Aptera to reshape the automotive world for the next
Aptera Motors (www.aptera.com) was founded in 2004 to develop and
build the safest, most energy efficient commuter vehicles on the road.
Utilizing streamlined aerodynamic design, lightweight composite
structures and unique drive systems, Aptera (which means wingless
flight) delivers vehicles that are attainable and efficient. The
company operates two Southern California facilities in north San Diego
County, where it designs, engineers and manufactures the vehicles and
their composite systems to create an exceptionally strong, sleek body.