By on August 15, 2011

It’s been over a year since we’ve herd anything from the California EV startup Aptera, and the last we’d heard the firm was watering down its product and waiting for more funding. But apparently that’s not been panning out as Greencarreports.com hears that the firm is returning deposits due to delays in the production rollout. According to the firm

Our path to production has been longer than anticipated, which has complicated our reservation administration to the point that we have decided to return your deposit. … [Our credit-card processing system] is designed for transactions to be completed in a six-month window. Since most of Aptera’s deposits have been in reserve for more than six months, maintenance of the account has become problematic for our credit card processor and administratively cumbersome for Aptera.

Aptera says that existing depositors will be moved to a “new VIP database,” and

as our production date approaches, we will use the database to direct you to your local retailer so you can be among the first to own an Aptera vehicle.

But will anyone stick with a company that has lost its founders, made ill-advised product changes, has been overpromising since nearly the get-go and has already invited questions about its reservation escrow account? Methinks not so much. Thanks for the memories, Aptera!

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

11 Comments on “Aptera Refunding Deposits: Run While You Can!...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    At least they’re returning the deposits. Which is a lot more than most other automotive startups have done in the past.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Indeed, if they’re lacking in funds, you’d expect them to ask for more deposit!

  • avatar
    redliner

    Such a shame. I still hope they pull through, but honestly, we’v probably heard the last of them. It is sad when real world economics get in the way of innovation.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Unfortunately the “real world economics” at this point aren’t pointing to electric cars.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        You’re right. It’s a shame we’ll never see a production electric car.

        Besides the Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt.

        And the forthcoming Focus EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Fisker Karma, Renault ZOE, and Tesla Model S are no doubt flukes. BMW’s i series is doubtless some type of joke.

        Aptera’s failure is certainly an indictment of the electric vehicle segment as a whole, instead of being a management failure to navigate startup hurdles.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      I agree, I loved the Aptera design as soon as I saw it in some utility commercial. It’s a shame that the realities of getting product to market have overwhelmed these guys. Hopefully the idea doesn’t die with them.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        The Aptera is a fantastic design. Efficiency at all costs, in a similar vein to the 1G Honda Insight, VW 1L series of concepts, or even solar racers.

        The ugly truth is that “good enough” wins for most people. Halving your energy consumption (say, compact car => Prius or big SUV => midsize car) at $200-300/mo is something people can get behind. Cutting $100-150/mo energy consumption in half again is harder to convince people to buy in to.

        There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit on the tree; downsizing your vehicle if possible or hybridization if not snag the low hangers. Aptera went too high up in the tree, and (when?) delivered too late. I imagine a great many Leaf early adopters would be driving Apteras had they had been available two years ago.

  • avatar

    I’m not surprised in the least. I was expecting problems a year ago, I am surprised they held out as long as they did. Another case of pie-in-the-sky greenwash fueled by ambitious ideas but let down by the reality of production, engineering, and real-world cost.

    I still believe such energy should be devoted to emergent technologies to increase efficiency of existing tech, like the now forgotten HCCI cycle gas engines. Many solid possibilities for efficient and economical petrol engine redesigns were tossed out the window in favour of flashy new ideas like hybrids, hydrogen, electric and one-off super-eco-cars like the Aptera. The funding and the brainpower will go wherever the latest fad is.

    To be fair, I do think we need to come up with a light, efficient and SMALL (not new Mini small, not Fiat small, I mean Tata small or Original Mini small) vehicles. Problem is the whole safety aspect, where many hundreds of pounds of dead weight must be added for sound proofing, crumple zones, air bags, et cetera. Imagine if we could produce a car like the original Mini, tiny but with amazing packaging and fly-weight specs, but with a modern high-efficiency gas or diesel engine.

  • avatar
    roamer

    Depressing. I liked the design; the original car was technically interesting and looked like fun.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India