In the era where electric car manufacturers are coming out of the woodwork, one company has opted to seek bankruptcy protection. Aptera Motors has announced it was undertaking Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.
The move was announced by Aptera CEO Paul Wilbur. The Carlsbad, CA company would close its doors this Friday and with it, the layoff of all of its thirty employees. The decision came after failing to obtain a $150 million dollar loan from the Department of Energy, similar to what other electric car makers such as Tesla Motors obtained. This was further compounded by the lukewarm interest from investors in the company’s cars.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Wilbur said “A lot of people on the West Coast thought they could do the industry better. But the reality that has set in is that these are capital intensive industries and it’s difficult. It’s scared a lot of investors in the space right now. We have a million sympathizers, but when it comes to writing a big check there aren’t many of those around.”
The company was formed in 2006 when it developed a three wheeled electric car. It was called the Aptera 2 series with a projected fuel efficiency capability of 300 miles per gallon. True to its name, wingless flight, the design of this vehicle uses aerodynamic optimization with lightweight composite construction materials. There were many problem though, as design conflicts as well as production delays made the vehicle not viable for the commercial market.
In a bold move, the company decided to make a four door electric sedan instead of continuing with the three wheeler. The sedan was projected to travel 190 miles per gallon of gas compared to the Nissan Leaf All-Electric, which has a rating of just 99 miles per gallon. No actual vehicle was made since this design was only on paper as part of its new loan application of the company for the Department of Energy grant.
The design of the Aptera Sedan would be the size of a Honda Accord using extremely lightweight materials. The sticker price of this car would be around just $30,000, much lower than the Leaf’s $35,200 price tag. Unfortunately, the many issues with start up companies could not be overcome by the company, leading to its eventual closure. Now, all the pre-order deposits are now being processed for return to the buyers.