Employees at Aptera Motors, an electric car startup, made waves when they were shown destroying car shells on the Internet after the company shut down last Friday. Four short videos on the website Jalopnik show employees destroying shells of the futuristic fuel-efficient electric cars with a forklift.
The finished cars were expected to cost between $25,000 and $40,000, according to Wired.
Jeff Green, a spokesman for Aptera Motors, told ABCNews.com the footage was taken in April and showed employees destroying defective parts not related to the company shutdown.
“All of the people worked and dedicated to their lives to this,” he said of the company based in Carlsbad, Calif. “It had nothing to do with employees being angry.”
Karen Pease, one of the early members on the waiting list for the vehicles, posted the videos on YouTube, saying an employee emailed her the footage and told her the destruction was authorized. Pease called it a “sickening bit of vandalism.”
Aptera means “wingless” in Greek, and the company described itself as the “only manufacturer to truly embrace aerodynamics as an anchor of its design philosophy.”
But Aptera, known for its three-wheeled 2e vehicle, said it could not attract enough investors to stay in business. The Wall Street Journal has reported a lower- than-expected demand for electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
The vehicles the Aptera employees were seen destroying in the videos were composite shells of the company’s early models, which Pease said fans had fallen in love with “before the design became all bloated and inefficient under Team B.”
“There’s a reason they’re giggling and making fun of them,” she said. “It’s like winning an enemy’s house from them in a contest and then burning it down.”
Pease, who was a prolific member of the Aptera online forum, said several employees began to contact her after the company, founded in 2005, started, in her words, “going downhill.”
“They took the vehicles that inspired thousands of people to put down a deposit, gutted them of their reinforcements and smashed them against a concrete wall, giggling about it like high-schoolers smashing mailboxes,” Pease told ABC News.com. “These were incredible vehicles that could do 100mph and cruise at highway speeds using the power of two blowdryers; they belonged in a museum. “