Inside Aptera’s Troubles: Part II

[Editor’s Note: This is part two of an ongoing expose that Karen Pease started last month. She has developed many personal relationships with people inside and out of Aptera over the years and has been able to get the best picture we’ve seen so far of the quirky EV manufacturer’s troubles from her inside sources. In most cases names and identifying specifics have been withheld at the source’s request to protect their livelihood.]


After my expose of the scandal over at Aptera Motors, Aptera quickly put out a new monthly newsletter — the third one for the year. This was revised from an earlier version, and is now subtitled the “new Constant Contact Aptera Newsletter” and no longer contains phrases like, “So strap on your cowboy boots ladies and gents… we’re goin’ ta’ Texas!!”.

The newsletter mentions an appearance of the 2e at a Texas football game and that the company is working on reapplying for DOE loans — in contradiction to earlier reports that they were already submitted. Most importantly, they took the time to address our expose’s core claim.

We cited sources stating that the vehicle was ready to roll out in Q4 of 2008, including the oft-cited delay of the roll-down windows which had actually been designed in February of 2008. Our expose stressed that when Paul Wilbur (Aptera’s current CEO) and his team took over, they insisted on the redesign of 60-80% of the vehicle, often micromanaging the process down to the component level.

The newsletter doesn’t deny these claims. Quite to the contrary, it embraces the fact that the company undertook significant redesigns a year ago, but justifies it by claiming that they were necessary. They cite the specific example of changing the composite formulation to get a better finish and “high quality, cost effective manufacturing”. They also claim “These same materials would not have passed the FMVSS standards for flammability.”

In the interests of having both sides heard on this issue, we can now reveal what, exactly, those composite formulation changes were: the original 2e shell was fiberglass over DIAB foam cores using vinyl ester resin, while the new shell uses epoxy resin. While this may sound like a relatively small change, it basically meant hitting the reset button on the vehicles’ production process.

What exactly do these different resins mean?

Karen Pease

Karen is a software developer who spends her spare time developing tools to advance green technologies -- EV charger databases, solar power economics calculators, EV/PHEV simulators, etc. She can be reached by email or by phone: [email protected] 319-337-8815