Last week we brought you a story about Aperta employees boorishly smashing the remaining shells of their 2e electric vehicle, including quotes from their disgruntled former CEO, Steve Fambro. You may wonder how things went so wrong.
If you haven’t been following the Aptera saga, or if you don’t know what Aptera is, this is a good time to jump in.
Rewind to 2006 where founders Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony found a company called Aptera with the intent to build and sell super-efficient electric vehicles. They planned to take advantage of a program offered by the Department of Energy by which companies could take over abandoned factories and enjoy low-interest loans if they made vehicles 25 percent more efficient than those they would replace.
Aptera had a funky three-wheeled car in mind that looked a lot like a tear drop made out of plastic composite. In September of 2008 Fambro found himself on the outside of the company, replaced as CEO by Paul Wilbur.
By December, Aptera’s application for money from the DoE had been submitted and promptly rejected— three-wheeled cars apparently didn’t qualify.
Over the next two years Tesla and Fisker both recieve hundreds of millions of dollars in DoE funding, and three wheel cars are provisioned for subsidy by the DoE.
In 2010 Aptera re-applies and was denied funding again, this time becuause the DoE says they cannot pay back capital costs for the company.
Shortly afterwards, the company re-allocated their remaining resources to developing a four-wheeled sedan that had a better chance of catching on.
At this point the DoE committed $150 million in loans on the condition that the company also secure $80 million in private funding. That proved to be too much. Aptera simply couldn’t find investors to pour money into their company after another operation failed to get funding because of their similar plastic composite bodies.
By early December of this year the company had run out of cash and needed to shut down. They decided to execute the close early enough to distribute remaining cash reserves among their employees as severance.
In an interview with Green Car Reports, Wilbur admitted that they spent too much time chasing DoE finding and that a better path would have been to look for private money from the beginning. The DoE, he said, took far too long to yield any money for Aptera to stay afloat.
[Source: Green Car Reports]