Financing Crunch Postpones Aptera 2e Intro Until 2010
This has been a somewhat tumultuous week for nascent electric vehicle manufacturer Aptera. The Vista, California, based purveyor-to-be of the three-wheeled Aptera 2e announced some significant changes, not the least was that supplemental funding issues had caused the scheduled rollout of its first production vehicles to be pushed back from the end of this year to sometime in 2010. Accompanying that news was word that Aptera's co-founders Chris Anthony and Steve Fambro would be "stepping aside from day-to-day activities" for a while, although both remain on the board of directors. Expanding demands of other business involvements leave Anthony's future role unclear (he also heads up Epic Boats and Flux Power), but Fambro, Aptera's chief technical director, says he'll re-enter the action as the launch date moves closer. "Right now my advanced work is a lower priority for Aptera. We've got to be wholly focused on funding and getting the first 2e on the road." The fate of some other employees that were also let go as part of this "streamlining" shakeup was not quite as clear.
In a formal statement, Aptera's president Paul Wilbur noted that the changes, while painful, will leave the operation in better shape for the long run. "We're making significant progress every day with product refinements, the completion of engineering and design details, and securing meaningful strategic partnerships. However, we now have to adjust our production schedule to align with financing realities. Properly managing the resources of the company means we'll complete our first vehicles in 2010, not by the end of 2009 as previously projected. Aptera management is being a prudent steward of all resources to ensure future viability for the company and strong returns for its stakeholders. Therefore, we'll begin volume production vehicles once our current series of private funding has closed or when we secure financing through the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Loan Program, whichever comes first."
Earlier this month, the Obama Administration officially approved three-wheeled vehicles for consideration under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program and Aptera has already applied for an undisclosed slice of the $25 billion in available funding.