There’s a YouTube vid exploring what folks consider to be the main business risks facing Aptera as perceived by their social media followers. (I have nothing to do with the vid, but if you want to find it then use the search term “Top 3 reasons Aptera will fail”). It proposes that the three biggest perceived risks are (and it then goes on to defend against them) ...
(1) They’ve failed before, therefore more likely to fail again .
(2) Perceived safety issues and
(3) The car only seats two passengers.
I see it a bit differently. I see their three main risks as ...
(A) Supply chain risk. The semiconductor industry is going through “Chipaggedon” at the moment and many of the big auto-makers simply can’t secure parts and are shutting down production shifts despite sky-rocketing demand. Many hundreds of $billions are being invested in the semiconductor industry to increase much needed capacity, but that’s going to take years before it comes on line. If Ford is struggling big time to make F150’s (true), what chance do Aptera have? It’s not insurmountable, but it’ll take careful planning, risk management, and good supply side relationship management for it not to cripple their business before it gets going.
(B) Stakeholder Management Risk. A common reason why start-ups. fail is that far too many resources get put into investor acquisition, or other things that aren’t about putting great product into the hands of consumers that they love, they happily pay good money for, and that they tell their friends about. Of course successful companies need money (and by extension investors), but they do need happy customers too. And not all investors are driven by their investment delivering good product to happy customers ... how much do you think early investors have made on paper by the announcement that an Aptera is theoretically capable of going 1000 miles on a single charge? (lots, I’d imagine) How much engineering effort went into achieving that? (lots, I’d imagine) How many folks then said “Gimme back my deposit on my Tesla model 3 LR, I wanna spend my ~US$45K instead on waiting for a long time for an unproven two seat three wheeler from a startup company that theoretically can do 1000miles”? (Probably a bunch of folks here, this is the Aptera forum after all, but realistically?). I’m not suggesting that the 1000miles was the wrong engineering thing to go after (I don’t know). It has very effectively helped to put Aptera on the map. I’m just suggesting that a startup needs to thread the eye of the needle when it comes to keeping all their stakeholders happy, and that does pose a very real business risk.
(C) Product focus. There are a lot of different permutations of the Aptera available. That number of permutations adds complexity and risk to design, regulations, and logistics. This just seems totally unnecessary. It’s intrinsically a great product, why not just focus on one product (maybe two products if a halo product is needed for marketing reasons, a’la the 1000mile model) and learn as a company how to deliver that to customers and make them happy? They’ll have their work cut out for them to fill orders for one product, why make it more complicated?