Aptera Awaits Government Loan Decision, Says More Capital Still Needed to Make Vehicle

· · 9 years ago

Last year, Aptera's poor performance at the X Prize competition may have given some indication as to just how far the startup actually is from bringing its radical 2e design to market. When the company formed in 2007, it stunned everyone by promising to release a vehicle within two years. But that date has since been pushed back three times, and there's currently no official timetable for when we'll finally see the first production 2-series delivered to a customer.

So what's the hold up? Money of course. Aptera says it needs more of it in order to set up a manufacturing process capable of producing at volume—which makes all the difference in the world when it comes to getting prices down to a point that could make the vehicle competitive. The new funding could come from a large, surprise investment from a private source, but most likely the startup will have to rely on the federal government to approve a $180 million loan request.

“We are working to secure the capital necessary to deliver the volume and quality to move the market,” said the company in its newsletter (via Autoblog.) “We would obviously love to accelerate the process, but the government has to make sure they complete their comprehensive evaluation and we have to let the process run its course.”

If and when that money does come in, Aptera has said that it will be enough to keep the company running for five years, and that production on the 2-series will be able to begin within 11 months.

In the meantime, the startup wants you to know that it's been using the extra time to refine the 2e. “Our engineering team has taken a vehicle that was challenged by error states during the X Prize and transformed it into a vehicle that is as robust and predictable to drive as it is attractive. Aptera's engineers won't be done making enhancements on the 2-series until we ship the first model of its successor.”

But the real question on everyone's minds—particularly the prospective customers who haven't yet asked for a refund on the $500 deposits they put down to get on the Aptera waiting list—is whether the company will ever ship any models at all.

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