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Electric Carmaker Aptera Pulls the Plug

Short of cash, start-up battery-car maker will be shutting down.

by on Dec.03, 2011

Aptera's little battery car won't be making it into production as the California start-up shuts its doors.

After raising only a fraction of the money it needed to put its aircraft-like 2e battery-car into production, California start-up Aptera has had to pull the plug on its ambitious goal of becoming a major player in the coming market for electric vehicles.

The Southern California firm had been counting on receiving a federal loan to cover most of the $150 million it said it needed to launch production of the three-wheeled, highly aerodynamic 2e, which looks much like a private aircraft minus the wings.

But the government failed to come up with funding as the Department of Energy loan program came under increasing fire – an issue that saw the DoE back out of assisting another California automotive ‘s goalstart-up, San Diego-based Next Autoworks.  (Click Here for that story.) Turning to other sources, Aptera had so far only been able to raise $40 million.

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“After years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today,” Aptera Chairman Paul Wilbur said in a statement announcing the battery-car maker’s decision. “This is a difficult time for everyone connected with our company because we have never been closer to realizing our vision. Unfortunately, though, we are out of resources.”


Can Next Autoworks Survive Without DoE Loan?

Washington’s political quagmire taking toll on start-ups.

by on Nov.23, 2011

Next Autoworks has developed a low-cost, spaceframe-based small car.

Next Autoworks is scrambling to see if there’s a way to raise some desperately needed capital after withdrawing its request for a Department of Energy loan, money the automotive start-up was counting on to begin producing a new line of low-cost, high-volume cars.

After getting earlier indications that the loan request under the DoE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program would likely go through, Next was given word, earlier this week that the application would instead be rejected.  Sources close to the project suggest Next – and others seeking DoE loans – have been hamstrung by the political turmoil in Washington.

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“New companies with new ideas are the lifeblood of future job creation in the United States,” said Kathleen  Ligocki, Next Autoworks Company’s CEO and a one-time senior executive at Ford Motor Co. “The most powerful funding combination is one of public-private partnership, especially in capital-intensive manufacturing industries which have the most power for permanent employment for the broadest group of people. Still, in the current reality, there are many demands on public capital and choices must be made.”