Aptera Is Still Not Ready for Prime Time

· · 10 years ago

It takes great courage and vision to develop a vehicle as innovative as the Aptera 2e. The innovative design immediately earned a devoted following when it launched in 2007. Thousands of potential customers put money on the line in the form of $500 deposits.

But three years later, it appears the vehicle is still nowhere near ready for prime time. The Aptera 2e failed the “Shakedown Stage” of the Automotive X Prize competition, when its right door swung open. Just as embarrassing, the vehicle—built with a core philosophy of lightweight design—performed poorly during an accident avoidance test due to weight and balance issues.

In a newly released corporate newsletter, Aptera admitted that the vehicle was notably overweight. The newsletter’s somewhat cryptic language: “The team was challenged to eliminate weight from every component and subsystem and to do so quickly, while keeping a close eye on the test data to ensure that the changes would not adversely impact vehicle performance.”

You would reasonably expect the company to have resolved these issues three years after its introduction, and certainly in time for a make-or-break competition like the X Prize.

Nonetheless, Aptera continues to say its moving forward. The May 2010 newsletter open, “It is amazing how the momentum continues to increase within the walls of Aptera.” The key question is if the company can demonstrate momentum for its visionary vehicle outside those walls, and on real roads.

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