Fledgling electric vehicle maker Aptera Motors of Carlsbad, Calif., has closed and will liquidate, CEO Paul Wilbur said Friday, Dec. 2.
Wilbur, a former Chrysler brand manager and CEO of specialty automaker ASC Inc., said the company had gained conditional approval of a $150 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. But it was unable to raise additional capital required to start production of its first product, a mid-sized sedan.
Aptera's inability to raise money signals a cooling of investor attitudes toward EV startups, Wilbur said. Venture capital firms earlier indicated a willingness to invest if Aptera received the federal advanced vehicle technology loan. But in the interim, the difficulties of launching EVs became apparent, he said.
"A couple years ago, there were a lot of people who thought the automotive industry is easy," Wilbur said. "It isn't."
Wilbur said Aptera was negotiating to use the former General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio, to produce the sedan. He described the car as having an all-composite body and getting fuel economy equivalent to 190 mpg, with a 130-mile range.
He said Aptera's work force of about 30 employees was let go.