News of an Apple car has popped in and out of our newsfeeds for the better part of the last decade with not much tangible headway being made in the public’s eyes. In the latest addition to the saga, Reuters obtained a decent amount of information regarding the status of Apple’s car progress.
Apple’s car division, known as Project Titan, was established back in 2014 with the goal of creating a vehicle. Given the secretive nature of the project, it is hard to really pinpoint how much progress and how many times the team went back to the drawing board over the past six years. We would imagine that Apple obviously put forth most of its efforts towards their consumer electronics, but creating a vehicle is not something that can exactly be taken lightly.
We do however know that Apple is highly prioritizing the autonomous capabilities as Apple had the third-largest fleet of autonomous test cars in California in 2018 (only behind Waymo and Cruise) and also purchased autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai in 2019. Additionally, the team recently had a leadership change that saw Apple’s AI and machine learning lead John Giannandrea take the reigns. If a full production vehicle won’t pan out, it looks like Apple will at least be able to develop an autonomous driving suite that could be used in other cars.
However, this new report pushes towards Apple actually going forward with developing an electric car with a presumably high autonomous driving level. Details of course are scarce, but it’s probably the most we’ve ever heard about Apple’s project car since the inception of the program. This is what we know so far based on what people familiar with the matters have told Reuters:
- Unclear who will actually assemble the car (Apple has previously been in talks with Magna International)
- Still a possibility that Apple could scale back the project to just providing an autonomous driving system
- Apple has tapped outside companies for parts for different elements of the car, such as the LIDAR
- Will look at a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range
- “Plans to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials”
One of the sources claimed that the battery will be next level and that it will be “like the first time you saw the iPhone.” Which, is a pretty BOLD claim. The report states that Apple is looking at lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry, no it doesn’t look like solid-state technology is on the table at this point.
As we like to repeat, making cars is difficult, even if you have as much money as Apple. Many would say that only a fool would try to have such an undertaking, so we are curious where this fits in Apple’s quest for world domination. Unfortunately, it will still be quite a wait, and given the rather secretive and capricious trait of the project this car might be scrapped and we won’t even know. It wouldn’t be the first time we see an announcement that stalls out.
For those of you who maybe want to be extra optimistic about an Apple car actually coming much sooner, you can choose to believe one sketchy Taiwanese report (via MacRumors) that says that the Apple car is coming in late 2021 instead. That article states that many companies in Taiwan have been put on notice to ramp up production for Apple car components in the second quarter of 2021 and that one unnamed director at a major Taiwanese manufacturer who said Apple is targeting a September 2021 launch.
Highly doubtful, but if you want to have your hopes up for an Apple car coming much earlier than 2024, there’s something you can point toward.
What do you guys think of the news and Apple’s prospects of going through with a fully-fledged car? Let us know down in the comments below.