200 mpg Aptera still in the works, says owner

It still doesn’t have wings, but the aircraft fuselage-style Aptera 2e automobile now has two chances to get off the ground.

After purchasing the assets of failed Aptera Motors last year, Zaptera USA planned to have a partner manufacturer the aerodynamic, composite chassis of the innovative cars in China, then ship them to Santa Rosa, Calif., to have electric powertrains installed.

But company founder Richard Derringer says delays ramping up production on the Chinese end have held up the car’s introduction, so he’s set up a second company called Aptera USA that will build the entire 2e in the United States.

The first vehicles will now be powered by gasoline and called the 2g, with a target fuel economy of 100 mpg. The original battery-powered version will follow. Aptera’s original efficiency goal for that car was the equivalent of 200 mpg. A hybrid model is also in the mix.

Derringer is hoping to have the cars on sale by early 2014, which would be about a year behind schedule. Zaptera USA will simultaneously continue its development of the Chinese assembly line.

In addition to launching the 2g and 2e, Aptera USA has ambitious plans to add a second manufacturing facility in Southern California and establish electric motorcycle and truck divisions.

Aptera Motors went out of business after a $150 million loan it was counting on from U.S. Department of Energy was denied.

Derringer has previously said he has no intention to seek government funding for his new iteration of the company.