Aptera production is one year behind schedule according to its owner, but the automaker is hoping to have its gasoline-powered 2g model on sale by early 2014.
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The Aptera 2e, a funky three-wheeling electric car, has had a funky history. Originally founded in 2006, Aptera closed its doors in 2010 after not being able to gather enough funding to stay alive. Prior to its closing however, Aptera employees destroyed the 2e bodies making us believe that we would never hear or see of Aptera ever again.
Maybe the staff at Aptera watched the printer-smashing scene in Office Space too many times and felt like taking some frustration out on inanimate objects.
Whatever their reason the video footage of their antics is creating a stir. Last Sunday we reported that Aptera, the environmentally focused startup responsible for building funky-looking 3-wheeled EVs would cease to exist. They had no choice but to shut their doors after failing to find investors willing to match a $150 million Department of Energy loan offer.
Had they succeeded, Fox News reported that the company was aiming to market a family sedan similar in size to the Toyota Camry.
Aptera co-founder and former Chief Technical Officer Steve Fambro expressed his dismay on the Aptera forum yesterday, saying These were beautiful, fully functioning vehicles.” He went on to say that there was ”no viable or logical reason for this to have been done, only to prevent the founder from ever seeing their functioning [cars] work again.”
Fambro left the company in 2009 after a failed coup attempt aimed according to him at trying to save the company “from team B’s failed path of waiting for the DOE.”
The videos feature unnamed employees destroying what looks like body shells of the raindrop-like 2e. You can watch them below.
Aptera’s visionary three-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle will never become a reality as the company unfortunately announced that it closed its door effective December 2nd. The reasoning behind it – as it is often for many companies – was that Aptera ran out of resources.
Paul Wilbur, President and CEO of Aptera Motors disclosed the company’s closure in a press release and went into some detail on the company’s history and the direction they were hoping to head. They had recently received a Conditional Commitment Letter for a $150-million Advance Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan. That loan would have provided funding towards the development of a five-passenger, midsized sedan similar to Toyota‘s Camry. Aptera was optimistic that this vehicle could have been priced at under $30,000 and achieve more than 190-mpg.
The last remaining hurdle for Aptera was to find new funds to match the Department of Energy (DOE) loan. While this was happening, Aptera was pushing forward with reactivating a mothballed automotive plant in Moraine, Ohio and had even engaged the labor union to discuss the hiring of 1,400 workers. They continued developing their patent-pending composite manufacturing system that would have enabled energy-efficient vehicle production by drastically reducing vehicle weight by as much as 30-percent while tripling its strength.
Aptera also expressed that through real measured performance in tests at Argonne National Labs, they were confident they could have brought to market a vehicle with a 206 EPA miles per gallon rating. Unfortunately, what probably cost them the most was having to change their product plan from their rad three-wheeled, two-seater to a more convention four-door sedan.
Aptera still wants to be optimistic with the future however, stating that much of their technology is open for someone to grab. They still look forward to helping pursue a future with more efficient driving, and perhaps their closure may ultimately open doors to someone with the funding to incorporate their technology into a real-world vehicle.
For many, the Aptera 2e is a glimpse into the future of cars, and a frontrunner for the Automotive X-Prize. For those who don’t know, Progressive Insurance sponsors the $10 Million X-Prize, which will be awarded to the first company to produce a near-production vehicle that can achieve 100 miles per gallon. At Michigan International Speedway, the cars competed using the same tests that Consumer Reports runs on all production cars, including 0-60, 60-0, and lane-change maneuvers.
The Aptera 2e, while a very forward-thinking, aerodynamic design, does have some inherent design flaws, including the fact that a three-wheeled car will have less mechanical grip than a four-wheeled car. This flaw became very apparent to bystanders and anyone with a video camera at the test, when the Aptera was unable to complete the double lane-change maneuver without knocking over several cones. Watch for yourself in the video after the jump.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]