One of the goals of last year’s Progressive Auto X-Prize was to come up with an assortment of green machines that could actually find a real-world market. And despite its sci-fi shape, the three-wheeled Aptera 2-e seemed to be ready to make the leap, the company even taking deposits for the Jetsons-like battery car.
But the dream of putting the X-Prize winner into production appears to be collapsing – despite word, last month, that Aptera had lined up $2.25 million in new investments. A letter sent to its supporters reveals that the company is going to return the deposits it has so far received, even though the firm says it has created a “VIP Database” that will put those initial enthusiasts first in line when – if? – the 2-e does ever make it into production.
“Our path to production has been longer than anticipated which has complicated our reservation administration to the point that we have decided to return your deposit,” the e-mail noted.
Despite reports that the refunds mark the end of the dream for the little start-up, the company downplayed concerns about its long-term viability, insisting that the problem is simply a credit-car system used to take initial deposits.