Aptera Puts On The Brakes

January 8, 2009

Bad news for fashion-forward greensters: outside-the-box startup Aptera (backed to the tune of $24 million from Google and others) has postponed the launch of its first vehicle: the all-electric, three-wheeled, spacepod known as the 2e. The company recently sent a letter to everyone who'd put down a $500 reserve deposit for the car, explaining that the January 16 launch was a bit premature and that October 2009 was a more realistic timeframe for a full drop. Cue the sad trombone.

Why the delay? Well, it looks like there were a variety of factors at work. The global economy isn't helping Aptera's jitters--though to be fair, the 2e is pretty reasonably priced at $20k - $40k, which doesn't seem high enough to scare off the car's potential buyers. No, it seems the biggest hurdle is in the marketing and customer satisfaction arena: not long ago, Aptera sent out a survey to that same list of depositors (something you'd normally do before you started designing), and they got back some surprising data. For example, buyers intend to use the 2e to do things like visit drive-throughs, which is not only weird (the same person who drives a 2e lunches on Big Macs?), but also inconvenient, since the 2e doesn't have roll-down windows. Ooops. Back to the drawing board....

--Richard Read

[via HybridCars]

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