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Carlsbad Manufacturer Preparing to Launch the Two-Seater Aptera

A Carlsbad-based startup called Aptera Motors Inc. said it has received 1,000 orders for its “ultragreen car” before even building a prototype.

The futuristic-looking vehicle, which will be available as a hybrid or electric, costs $30,000 and can get up to 300 miles to the gallon, according to Chris Anthony, chief operating officer.

Registered as a motorcycle, the two-seater can seat individuals as tall as 6 feet, 5 inches and carry up to 15 bags of groceries.

The private company was founded in 2006 by Anthony and Steve Frambo, Aperta’s chief executive officer and a former employee of San Diego biotech, Illumina Inc.

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It recently secured its third round of financing and Anthony said the company expects to begin manufacturing in October, with the electric model going out in late 2008.

The 1,000 orders , each of which required a $500 deposit , are expected to be filled by the summer of 2009.

Although the company is not profitable, Anthony said that with the purchase of 300 vehicles, it should be.

“It’s pretty great for us,” he said.

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Del Mar Entrepreneur Involved In Awarding $10 Million Prize:

A $10 million prize has been established for startups that come up with new forms of biofuel.

The awarding of the prize will be organized by Prize Capital LLC, a startup founded by Del Mar resident Lee Stein, and X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit based in Santa Monica.

The announcement was made March 6 at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference in Washington, D.C.

Participants will be encouraged to develop a new biofuel technology that doesn’t compete with land or water resources, cause deforestation or exclude individuals from developing economies.

“We’re setting out a goal that isn’t achievable,” said Michelle Lapinski, the San Francisco-based managing director for Prize Capital. “We’re setting out a vision that says, ‘What if this existed?’ ”

Aiming for a soft launch in the fall, Prize Capital plans to attract technology experts for a public review process for the rules as well as challenge sponsors.


Send energy news to Jaimy Lee at jlee@sdbj.com. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3107.

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