Aptera Three Quarters of the Way to Government Funding

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The WSJ reports that EV manufacturer Aptera is asking the government for $75M from its energy-efficient retooling funds. Unfortunately for the makers of the Jetsons-inspired 2e, there’s some debate about whether its three-wheel design makes it a car or a motorcycle. Which means the gravy train could be delayed at the station. The Department of Energy has already rejected Aptera’s request for this reason, but Congress is wading into the issue at the EV maker’s request.

The new rules, approved by the House but still waiting for Senate and Presidential support, change the definition of energy efficient cars to “any fully enclosed vehicle designed to carry two adults and that averages at least 75 miles a gallon.”

But this ruling has other automakers in a frenzy, specifically GM which is “counting on” $10B worth of retooling loans. “Novelty vehicles are not really the ones that will help the U.S. address the growing concern over U.S. oil consumption,” say GM’s snarkiest spokesfolks. Novelty vehicles? Just what does that make the Volt?

But don’t count Aptera out yet. Not only are some of its biggest backers prominent Democratic Party fundraisers, the firm also claims that it doesn’t need retooling loans to begin production. In that sense, their wacky three-wheeled car of the future is in better shape than GM’s Volt.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Niky Niky on Sep 17, 2009

    +1 on the gasoline model... I would seriously rock one of those cars... errh... bikes... errh... things. It's absolutely beautiful. The essence of minimalist motoring (without being so minimalist as to get you wet in the rain).

  • Qbranch Qbranch on Sep 17, 2009

    I just had an epiphany... Google should buy Aptera! Funding problem gone and world car is born - think about it.

  • Stickman Stickman on Sep 17, 2009
    @chaparral66: Whether the 3-wheelers qualify as a motorcycle or not and the resulting helmet requirements vary state-to-state, which is why Aptera will only be selling in California. I've been on the Aptera mailing list for awhile and I seem to recall that the reason they are staying in California is to keep customers near the home base of Carlsbad, CA instead of supporting a network of repair/dealer centers all over the country. It wasn't because of California's laws -- just a desire to keep the initial customers nearby. FAQ entry #1 under Ownership and #1 under Misc: http://www.aptera.com/faqs.php hiptech: Aptera probably isn't in Google's business model but they are an investor: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9997926-54.html (or just search for "Google Aptera") stevelovescars: In California, helmets are not required if the enclosed vehicle meets certain size minimums (>= 7' long AND >= 4' wide AND >= 900#). According to the Aptera Wiki page, it meets all the minimums. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc27803.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aptera_2_Series
  • Tetons97 Tetons97 on Sep 17, 2009

    I have been following the development of the Aptera since I first placed my deposit on a Type 1H 2 years ago. During development, Aptera sent out a questionair on different options that consumers would prefer and took many desires into consideration to fine tune the production model. As the company grew and hired more mainstream auto manufacturing execs, they also drew on their expertise in refining the design of the drive system and manufacturing expertise. If anyone has ever ridden a motorcycle, you would be familar with avoiding the water covered oil spots at @ intersections because they are extremely slipery. This was my only real concern when I ordered my Type 1. Another trick feature of the Type 1 were the two lcd panels in the dash that acted as side view mirrors that displayed the images produced by the cameras embeded in the sides to reduce drag. It was a great engineering idea but a bullseye for a sleasly attorney argueng for his client who didn't see the car passing in his "mirror" when he looked. Yea, it sounds crazy but a Donzi powerboat owner, in Miami, sued the manufacturer and won because after hitting a seawall and killing two passangers, he explained that the dealer didn't show him where the brakes were. I 'm guessing what's why the Type 2 has mirrors and two wheel, front wheel drive..Saftey As far as the government funding, I stronglt believe that it should qualify. In the early days of avaition we had bi-planes. when we removed one wing, was it no longer a airplane? Think about it. Inovation allowed us to develope much faster, quicker and safer aircraft. If we allow and support Apteras' approach to thinking outside the box, I'm sure we will be rewarded with comparable results.