Monday, December 05, 2011

RIP Aptera: Lessons For Startup Electric-Car Companies

On Friday, Aptera CEO Paul Wilbur sent out an email with the news that the Aptera 2e -- the all-electric, two-seat, ultra-efficient car we’ve awaited for nearly five years -- wouldn’t be making it into production.
As the long, drawn-out story that has been Aptera’s existence finally comes to a close, what can other small electric-car companies learn from Aptera’s collapse? And what does Aptera’s failure to materialize mean for electric-car buyers?

When the Aptera 2e electric car (and 2h plug-in hybrid) were first conceived in January 2006, few mainstream automakers were interested in making electric cars. As far as most were concerned, at least in public, electric cars were far too small a niche to spend time on them.

So when Aptera went public in 2007 with the news that it planned to bring the futuristic, 200 MPGe, two-seat car to market at a price of $20,000, it attracted a lot of interest from electric and hybrid car fans who desperately wanted to drive a car that made the Toyota Prius look like a gas-guzzler.

Being one of the first companies to attempt to build a mass-market, ultra fuel-efficient plug-in car won Aptera a lot of interest and publicity. It garnered everything from a feature in Wired magazine to a cameo role in the Star Trek movie reboot.

RIP Aptera: Lessons For Startup Electric-Car Companies

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