Letter to Aptera followers

Remember when I posted the bit about Aptera getting approval to apply for a U.S. Department of Energy loan for advanced transportation technologies? Just today they mentioned it to their fans via a newsletter. (Either I was ahead of the game, they were behind, or both.)

Also in this newsletter was an exciting update on what the company could do with such a loan if it were granted to them. I’ll paste it below for your reading pleasure:
Aptera applied for a DOE loan in December, 2008 and was rejected in 3 days. The program was only open to 4 wheelers and we have 3 wheels.

Now, we have to re-file the application, this time, in full business plan detail. The loan program details are quite specific about what the loan money can be used for and when the loan will be paid back.

Continue reading

Speaking of Aptera

Wired has reported that the Department of Energy has re-classified the company’s car as, in fact, a car, allowing the company to apply for special government loans. (Whereas before, the three-wheeled vehicle was classified as a motorcycle.) This could mean great things for Aptera, whose story I’ve followed for several years now.

(Two posts back there’s a picture of the car if you’re curious. Here’s their corporate website.)

I’ve followed Aptera because, by Wired‘s admission, its cars will soon be the most energy-efficient in the world’s history. In fact, they may actually be more energy-efficient than passenger train travel.

Give this project 10 years and full support from the Obama administration, and it’ll revolutionize the transportation industry. How? Since you plug these things in overnight, you primarily use electricity as your fuel. And mile-for-mile, electricity is often about one-tenth the price of gasoline fuel.

Which means, for all intents and purposes, if you buy their model you never pay for fuel again. (If I were them I’d advertise this point.)

Lutz race proves CTS-V


The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2008. (Flickr creative commons photo from joeross)

I sent out a Facebook update a few days ago about a cool marketing concept: Bob Lutz, a famous General Motors executive, challenged his competitors to a race.

“May the best car win,” the GM ads now proclaim, a genius marketing strategy for the situation if I ever saw one. Lutz’ race was the logical extension of it.

The premise was that Lutz would drive the Cadillac CTS-V, claiming there’s no other production, stock, sedan in the world that can win against the model.

(For those of you who don’t know, “production” means you can buy it and drive it on the road, “stock” means it’s not modified after you buy it, and “sedan” means 4-door.)

The race featured engineers, journalists, “normal” people and Lutz. Looks like Mercedes-Benz opted out of the race, but BMW, Audi and Jag sent their emissaries. And got slaughtered.

I’m happy to see GM doing so well with its new advertising campaign and money-back guarantee. They’re making great cars nowadays, even if they are among the most socially- and environmentally-irresponsible car companies. I probably wouldn’t buy from them because of that, but I love the CTS-V’s design, and I can’t help but feel some odd nationalistic pride for one of America’s car companies.

If only they’d buy Aptera and adapt other parts of their company to follow its standards of operation.


The Aptera Typ-1e. (Flickr Creative Commons photo from Ho0n)

(P.S. — Happy birthday to my little sister Christin, who turns 22 Sunday!)