Aptera Will Auction Off Assets This MonthBy Danny King December 10, 2011
Aptera Motors, the electric-vehicle maker that said earlier this month it would shut down due to lack of funding, will auction off its assets later this month at its Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters, including computers, furnishings and auto-repair equipment, in order to raise funds to pay off some of Aptera's creditors. Heritage Global Partners will conduct the auction on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, and will offer a preview of the assets on Dec. 19. The auction will be staged through Heritage Global Partners' website.
The auction marks an inglorious end to a company whose Aptera 2e -- a widely publicized three-wheeled, bicycle-fendered, teardrop-shaped electric vehicle (above) that had solar panels on its roof -- was supposed to get as much as 300 miles per gallon-equivalent in fuel efficiency. Aptera decided to close after the company was unable to raise $150 million in private investment to activate a federally guaranteed loan commitment for an additional $150 million. The government funds were not for the 2e but rather were for a prototype midsize four-door electric sedan the company had quietly developed using the same composite materials and electric-drive technology appearing in the three-wheeler, CEO Paul Wilbur told AutoObserver earlier this month.
Founded in 2006, Aptera was looking to capitalize on both the interest of the U.S. federal government to fund the development of advanced-technology vehicles and of customers to buy them. Aptera initially applied for a federal loan guarantee in December 2008 and was rejected because its streamlined vehicle, which resembles a three-wheeled airplane fuselage, did not meet the definition of an automobile it the U.S. then defined it. The government said it had to have four wheels to be an automobile. The feds changed the rules after Aptera and other makers of three-wheel electric vehicles requested a rule change and in mid-2009 Aptera reapplied for $185 million in funding. In a newsletter e-mailed to Aptera supporters earlier this year, the company said that development and design work on the 2e was continuing at its small campus in San Diego County but that for actual manufacturing to begin "the government has to make sure they complete their comprehensive evaluation and we have to let the process run its course."