Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
It's been a car week: a repaired one and one not-yet-made. First, the unbuilt one. About a year and a half ago, I got interested in Aptera, a California startup company that promised to bring out the world's most efficient electric car. In July, 2021, I put down $100 for reservation #22862, not really knowing when, or even if, the three-wheeler would ever be produced. In the time since then, I've joined the community of Aptera fans, complete with a company visit in April, monthly Zoom meetings, and almost daily social media reviews and comments.
This month's Zoom showed us renditions of the latest bits and pieces. Everything is either aluminum or composite, with the basic body made from a super-strong carbon fiber, like Formula 1 race cars. In fact, the body parts will be made in Italy at CPC Group, a pioneer in carbon fiber race vehicles. (Watch "Lords of Carbon" to see the history of composites in race cars.)
So, when will our Aptera be built? The owners say full production will start "7-9 months after funding is secured". Most auto startups need a billion dollars or so to get to production, but Aptera is trying to get there for an order of magnitude less. They need at least another $50 million to go into production. The $80 million they have raised - and spent - over the past two years has come largely from crowd-funding, and that may be where much of the rest comes from. Unless they get a billionaire friend. You?
Our other car saga has been Carla, our Tesla Model Y that was crunched in mid-October in Aberdeen, Washington. It's been under repair for six weeks, mostly waiting for parts, the last of which was the front wheel that was the other car's target.
Of course, the other Tesla story recently has concerned founder Elon Musk. He has been very busy playing with Twitter, his latest corporate distraction, and seems to have come off the rails. To pay for this endeavor, he has sold off billions of dollars of his Tesla shares, at prices well below the peak that had temporarily made him the world's richest man. In this process, he has demonstrated a political world view that is weird and possibly dangerous, IMHO. I worry that this will undo the remarkable technical advancement represented by SpaceX and Tesla. We'll see.
When Carla arrives, I'll add a postscript, complete with pictures. Hopefully, we'll even have someplace to go in our renewed car.
John and Marianne
As promised. Friday, December 16: Carla finally home!! Thanks to Sasha from Uzbekistan for being careful.