Dealer’s choice: Chinese-built Aptera 2e or hand-built American Aptera 2g?

Aptera 2e

The Aptera concept was the first “car” of its kind to get me interested in fuel-efficient vehicles. Before that, I was primarily interested in luxury and performance cars – like virtually every other car enthusiast.

The 2007 Aptera 2e dared to be different. It appeared to be straight out of the Jetsons. It wasn’t designed to break the limits of a 0 – 60mph run. Instead it focused on pushing the limits of how far a gallon of gas – or electric charge – could take it.

Sadly, Aptera went under in 2011 before it ever made a production car, dashing my dreams of every owning the three-wheeled eco-car.

A Chinese company called Jonway Group purchased Aptera name and designs, founding “Zaptera,” and it aims to build the Aptera 2e all-electric car in China.

While it wasn’t clear whether Aptera would make an American re-debut. Word has it, however, that Aptera is back and will be produced in California under the name Aptera USA. The American Aptera won’t be building the Aptera 2e EV like the Chinese will, though. Instead, Aptera USA will build a model called the 2g, which will be powered by a gasoline engine.

Priced between $50,000 and $55,000, the American-built Aptera 2g will be built by hand. Thanks to its aerodynamic body and lightweight construction, the 2g is pegged to achieve somewhere in the 100+mpg range, according to Gizmag.

Aptera USA apparently has plans to someday offer the 2e along with a 2e-based hybrid down the line. When that will happen, though, is unclear. Buyers here in the U.S. are likely to see a Chinese-built 2e on the market alongside the American hand-made 2g before that, though.

Despite my affinity and admiration for the original Aptera, I wonder how investors can look at a flop like the 2e and think it a sound investment. If the Zaptera folks are reading this, though, I’ve got some swampland I’d like to sell you.