Zaptera USA is the phoenix rising from the ashes of failed three-wheeled EV company Aptera, which went bankrupt in 2011. Zaptera wants to start producing aerodynamically inclined three-wheeled Aptera as electric, hybrid and gas-powered vehicles as early as next year.
Zaptera is interested in mass-producing the Aptera 2e, which is the electric version of the pointy 3-wheeled vehicle, and its CEO, Richard Deringer, is uncertain as to when China’s Jonway Group, which owns Zaptera, will commence production of it. Production of the electric 2e would take place in China, and production of the 2g, the gas-powered model, would take place in Southern California. A hybrid model is also said to be on the drawing board.
The original Aptera was a radical design, with three wheels and a teardrop shape that was super aerodynamic. Unfortunately Aptera went bankrupt amid accusations of mismanagement and sabotage. Even if the Aptera does make it to production, society is very slow to adapt to and resistant to anything radically different from what they are accustomed to, even if it works well. The chances of the Aptera ever being more than a niche vehicle are slim to none. Last time, Aptera had to sheepishly return customer deposits; what are the chances those same customers will come back for a second try?
The original Aptera 3-wheeled electric vehicle achieved 114 miles of range with only a 20 kWh battery bank from A123 Systems (now B456), which shows that it far surpasses the efficiency of the rest of the electric cars on the market. The Nissan Leaf, for example achieves 73 miles of range using a 24 kWh battery bank. Less range, bigger battery. Aerodynamics and weight play a big factor in this superior efficiency, but will Aptera 2.0 really do better the second go around?