Its battery power is meant to be “next level.”
Rumors that Apple is launching an electric vehicle (EV) have been circulating for years. However, the California-based company has little to show for it besides reports on building a team of at least 1,000 car experts and engineers through “Project Titan” in 2014.
Five years later, Apple veteran executive and former Tesla employee Doug Field laid off 190 people from the team, according to a report by Reuters.
More recently, in a Sway podcast interview by Kara Swisher last April, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook hinted at its developments.
“An autonomous car is a robot, and so there are a lot of things you can do with autonomy; we will see what Apple does,” he said. “We love to integrate hardware, software, and services and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs.”
The executive also added that autonomous driving technology platforms could also be added, similar to that of electric car maker Tesla, for which he expressed admiration.
Cook’s comments on the possible Apple Car didn’t confirm the project. However, early this month, Hyundai, who recently disclosed that they’ll be shutting down diesel and petrol engine developments to focus on EVs, released a statement. They apparently have been in talks with the iPhone maker to be their partner for supplying parts, along with other “global automakers.” It was surprising to both automotive and Apple enthusiasts.
Then, shortly after, Hyundai released a more vague announcement without mentioning the Apple brand. “We’ve been receiving requests of potential cooperation from diverse companies regarding development of autonomous driving EVs, but no decisions have been made as discussions are in early stage,” the statement read.
According to Chance Miller, the editor-in-chief of 9 to 5 Mac, it explains that Apple’s trying to maintain a strict approach to secrecy—much like other launches for the new iPhones, iPads, Macs, and hardware.
However, “people familiar with the matter” talked to Reuters in an exclusive written by Stephen Nellis, Norihiko Shirouzu, and Paul Lienert that revealed the Apple Car’s production is targeted for 2024.
They write that even Apple, a company with “deep pockets,” will also face extreme supply chain challenges to make an automobile—despite making millions of electronics each year with parts from all over the world. In fact, it took Elon Musk, the richest man globally, 17 years before he saw sustained profit for his electric vehicle company Tesla.
However, one of Reuter’s unnamed sources (who probably hid their identity given the tech giant’s history of suing suppliers and individuals for leaking information) shared that “if there’s one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple.”
They add that Apple plans to use a unique “monocell” design to pack more active material inside the car’s battery, giving it a more extended range with less energy needed. In addition, it’s less likely to overheat.
“It’s next level,” the source said of Apple’s battery technology. “Like the first time, you saw the iPhone.”
Concerning the car’s battery manufacturing, Korea IT News divulged yesterday that the Cupertino company visited South Korean electronic parts makers with experience in mass production.
While Apple wants to manage and develop the battery’s materials directly, it’s still unclear how much of the vehicle’s parts Apple will design themselves through setting up a policy.
That would be interesting to know since an iPhone’s production includes suppliers from 43 countries and six continents—so imagine the supply chain to make a whole vehicle.
Banner photo from @apple.icar on Instagram.