When Aptera first appeared on the scene in March 2007 with a three-wheeled, composite-bodied electric vehicle, the reactions were fairly binary: there were those who loved the smooth teardrop shaped bodywork; there were those who dismissed it as being something other than a “real car.”
The name means “wingless,” as this vehicle was designed and to be built more like a plane than a conventional car (e.g., the composite body; the aero shapes), and the company didn’t fly.
Even though Detroit veterans including Paul Wilbur, Marques McCammon and Tom Reichenbach were brought on board, even though the company developed a patent-pending system for composite body manufacture that doesn’t require manual surface finishing of the parts and thereby saves a huge chunk of auto assembly plant expense (i.e., the paint shop), even though the company would get money from the Department of Energy if it could find matching funds from the private sector (the DOE was interested because the vehicle as engineered would get on the order of 190 comparative miles per gallon). . .Aptera didn’t fly.
They couldn’t find investors.
So here’s the question: Is Aptera a failure, a pie-in-the-sky California-based company (and we know that cars can’t hail from anywhere in the U.S. outside of Detroit, don’t we?) that was destined to go down?
As a company, yes, it has failed.
But presumably there is a whole lot of good, solid useful tech that’s been created, a whole cadre of smart, talented people who have been working at the company on the car that wasn’t to be.
And all of that is good. Really good. Assuming that some other people (maybe in Detroit) are smart enough to tap into it.
Remember those Saturn commercials showing shopping carts bouncing harmlessly off of plastic body panels? Good idea, right? But apparently the approach never really caught on. Now the question is: will it ever?
Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.
While Ford has reset the stakes in the light-duty pickup market with the aluminum-intensive F-150, that’s not the whole story of what they’ve done to this new generation of America’s best-selling vehicle.