The ashes of the Phoenix

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions The ashes of the Phoenix

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions The ashes of the Phoenix

  • The ashes of the Phoenix

  • Rery Ro

    October 12, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Just about 10 years ago…

    December 2, 2011

    After years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today. This is a difficult time for everyone connected with our company because we have never been closer to realizing our vision. Unfortunately, though, we are out of resources.

    It is especially disappointing since we were so close…

    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.

    During the same time, we continued development of our patent-pending composite manufacturing system that enables energy efficient vehicle production by drastically reducing vehicle weight (by as much as 30%) while tripling its strength. This same patent pending system allowed us to finish the surface of our composites without manual finishing and without the high capital cost of a typical automotive paint shop. In all, the process would save nearly $750-million versus a typical volume auto assembly plant start-up.

    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
    President and CEO
    Aptera Motors

  • John Malcom

    October 12, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    What is past should stay in the past. no need to resurrect this memory.

    Fresh start now. Lets focus in a positive way on this remarkable vehicle and the remarkable achievements of this management team the the remarkable future ahead for Aptera

  • Paul Schultz

    October 12, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Personally, I appreciate the sharing of this info. While I know enough of the Aptera past it was nice to review where they were at back in 2011. Back then, I was not following them at all. We certainly can share past info while still maintaining a positive attitude for the present and future of Aptera.


    • John Malcom

      October 12, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      TTo each his own????

    • Nathan Bendall

      November 6, 2021 at 1:10 am

      I think those two ideas are best. 1.) Learn from one’s mistakes to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. 2.) To move on so that we do not get stuck in the past and made no progress in the present. I think they are both valid.

      • Ray Holan

        November 6, 2021 at 7:11 am

        Oft quoted sentiment from George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

  • John Trotter

    November 6, 2021 at 7:16 am

    I am in the camp that says remembering history is always useful. Now, from the limited amount I have learned in the six months or so that I reserved and have been following Aptera, what seems different this time than a decade ago:

    – The three-wheel was abandoned in favor of a more expensive-to-produce four-wheel because “the market” seemed to demand it. That delayed possible launch. The delay proved fatal.

    – Financing. The company does not seem to be depending on government or large investor monies, perhaps in part because the three-wheel product is a more limited project. No need for an abandoned auto factory and a thousand workers, nor the $150,000 government loan. Crowd funding, plus some private investors, seems to be enough for launch. Hopefully.

    – Tesla has created a market for electric cars. In my case, I can see the three-wheel as a second EV, having broken the ICE-to-EV barrier with a Model Y.

    – That market is also bringing with it batteries and other EV-specific inputs that Aptera, and other designers, can use.

    – Finally, the Aptera management does remember history and can be expected to avoid past pitfalls. I am a big believer in the wisdom of scars and gray hair, as long as the causes are avoided this time around.

    • kerbe2705

      November 6, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Well-stated, John.

  • Ron Ledohowski

    November 6, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    One’s past &/or mistakes are not to be forgotten but learned from, and as such, remembered; even shared.

    QUESTION: How do you not make errors &/or mistakes in business or in LIFE?

    ANSWER: Consider oneself perfect (“Narcissistally DILLUSIONAL”) & an all knowing superior being or creature; do nothing innovative &/or of consequence whilst avoiding all risk in the process. The special, the chosen you (or few) & B.S.?

    Take credit for all others successes and deny any/all blame (a.k.a. relevant knowledge) whilst being flawless &/or clueless. I call it DUHNIAL.

    A little vulnerability & humility is good for the soul and for growth.

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