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USA: Futuristic electric vehicle to be built in Santa Rosa

A prototype of a futuristic automobile by Aptera that will be assembled in Santa Rosa, Friday May 11, 2012. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

A Sonoma developer plans to assemble futuristic electric vehicles in Santa Rosa in partnership with a Chinese automaker that acquired the prototype from a failed Southern California startup.

“We want to build a niche car, and we want to build it in Santa Rosa,” said Rick Deringer, who owns a 100,000-square-foot industrial building in Santa Rosa’s historic West Side neighborhood.

Inside his warehouse is a small fleet of sleek Apteras, three-wheeled, two-seat runabouts that look like giant insects or wingless birds.

The plug-in vehicle was developed by Aptera Motors, a startup that ran out of money and closed its doors in December. Its assets were purchased by Jonway Group, a Chinese automaker that also has invested in Santa Rosa-based electric car distributor Zap Jonway.

Zap Jonway isn’t part of the Aptera project, said Deringer, who leases part of his westside complex to Zap.


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