For a while, it looked like all of the smart kids knew how to make a better car, and how to run the business better than the big boys. There was a "gold rush" of sorts, as electric car and other niche producers scrambled to set up shop and grab venture capital funding.
Then the hard economic reality kicked in. Making cars is hard. It takes a huge amount of money, people, and time. And the regulatory hurdles are enormous.
Look at the up-start graveyard. Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles? Nowhere. Mahindra USA? Limbo at best.
Aptera is waiting for a federal loan which will probably never come.
So apparently is Carbon Motors, the purpose-built BMW diesel powered police vehicle. Carbon requested $ 310,000,000, but is still waiting a year later.
VPG, maker of a purpose built wheelchair accessible taxi vehicle, apparently got a $ 50,000,000 loan from DOE to produce a CNG version.