Formerly Dead Electric Three-Wheeler Aptera Planning A Comeback

Illustration for article titled Formerly Dead Electric Three-Wheeler Aptera Planning A Comeback

You just can't keep a good electric car down. Two years after Aptera Motors fell into bankruptcy, it appears that their sleek, futuristic three-wheel 2e is reportedly being resurrected in the U.S.


Aptera claimed the 2e could get 120 miles on a single charge, but the company ran out of money in 2010 before they could enter production. Though a few prototypes and demo models were made, no cars were ever built and sold to the public. Employees were famously seen smashing the prototypes sometime before they went under.

Now, according to Gizmag, Aptera might be back. Last year Chinese automaker Zap Jonway apparently bought the molds with the intention of building the car in their country for sales there and later, in the U.S. with the moniker "Zaptera."

The latest development, Gizmag reports, is that Zaptera has been split off into two companies, one of which will be called Aptera USA. They plan to produce a version of the 2e with a gasoline engine called the 2g, as well as hybrid and electric versions later on. They're aiming for 100 mpg with that gas engine.

What happened here exactly? It seems that Zaptera COO Richard Deringer said that American customers would be less likely to go for an Aptera made in China, requiring them to make a hand-built version in America instead.

The Chinese-built mass-produced 2e should be less expensive than its American sibling, but Deringer believes that US buyers will want what his version has to offer. “From the initial research that I’ve done, I get a lot of people in Silicon Valley and California and Texas and other places who would like the car hand-made, not Chinese-made, and they want it to match to what their requirements are,” he tells us. “We can do that in the US, it can’t be done in China.”

Deringer thinks it’s possible that consumers might end up being able to choose between the premium US-built car or the cheaper Chinese version. Without knowing Jonway’s plans for production, however, he really can’t say when or if that might be the case. “I got to the point where I said ‘Enough’s enough, we’re going to move forward, we’re going to build and we’re going to produce, and if you [Jonway] produce a mass car that you can sell across the country, that’s great but I’m not going to wait for it,’” he says.


Interestingly, and smartly, Deringer is downplaying their association with Zap, which has an incredibly shady history and reputation in the electric car world.

We'll see if this comes to fruition or not. Experience has taught us we should always be skeptical when it comes to electric startups, but the Aptera's design generated a lot of buzz when it first debuted. I think a lot of people will be rooting for them to rise from the ashes.


Hat tip to NINJAGIN!



I sure hope this makes it. I hate wacky hippie mobiles but, for some reason, this thing really speaks to me. I like the thoughtfull engineering, the solid construction and the single minded purpose...maybe its just the engineer in me.