While Solyndra made headlines, Aptera’s crash and burn is deeply frustrating because solar panels are made all over the world so the loss of one company is no big deal. The press of course had a field day with it as well they should. But not everyone tries to make green cars. So this is a sad piece as well.
Aptera Collapse: How & Why It Happened, A Complete Chronology
Now we can bring you the inside chronology of the events that led to the end of Aptera.
Costly, risky, and very, very hard
Over the last week, we’ve interviewed former CEO Paul Wilbur and former marketing VP Marques McCammon, who were there to the very end.
We also spoke at length with company founder Steve Fambro, who resigned his seat on the Aptera board of directors early this year. He had been replaced by Wilbur as CEO in September 2008.
If there’s one lesson to be learned from Aptera, it may be this: Starting a car company takes a huge amount of money–orders of magnitude more than the software startups Silicon Valley venture capitalists like to fund.
If the cash runs out at any point, the company will die.
Not just a single car
Through several hours of conversations, a few themes emerged from the Aptera story as recounted by Wilbur and McCammon.
The pair speak highly of the entire workforce, all of them now looking for jobs.
And it is clear that the car designed by founders Fambro and Wilbur was not the car Aptera ended up developing. In fact, it created a longer, larger version of the three-wheeler to comply with the 738 separate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards covering cars that may legally be sold.
Then, after it became clear that funding a three-wheeler wasn’t going to be possible, the company switched gears in January and threw all its design resources into creating a four-seat, four-wheeled car using the same plastic composite body shell construction as the original three-wheelers.
Go there and read. More tomorrow.