Apple Inc. has reportedly recommitted itself to the Apple Car, an all-electric passenger vehicle. Apparently, Elon Musk and his Tesla Motors is the inspiration or motivation.
Apple may have gotten back on track to produce an electric vehicle. However, there are several key reasons or limitations that will invariably play spoilsport to the company’s ambitions, at least in the short term.
Apple Car is now a clearly defined project with vehicle type, class, and choice of power, reports Bloomberg:
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple has not only resurrected its electric car project but also clearly defined the project. The rumored Apple Car was to be conceptualized, designed, prototyped, and fabricated under ‘Project Titan.’
It seems Apple has decided it will make a “consumer vehicle”. Although there are several types of consumer vehicles, it is quite likely that Apple will stick to the luxury sedan form-factor which could compete against Tesla Motors’ Tesla Model S, 3 X, Y, etc.
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 21, 2020
Apart from the vehicle type, Apple has also decided on a “Mono-cell” design, instead of a modular battery-pack, which is commonly called Multi-cell of Monoblock. A large monocell battery pack for electric cars is still in the experimental stage.
If Apple succeeds, then such a battery can take up lesser space, pack enough chare to alleviate range anxiety and rival the multi-cell battery packs commonly found today. Some experts claim monocell battery packs also cost a lot less as everything, including the charge controller, comes pre-packed.
The type of material that will actually hold a charge is reportedly LFP or Lithium Iron Phosphate. Such a material’s availability, and hence cost, is lower than other conventional materials that go into battery production. Moreover, LFP is safer because it is less likely to overheat and combust.
Project Titan or Apple Car could ply on roads in 2025, and not 2021:
Several reports have painted a very optimistic picture of Apple Car’s roadmap. Several publications rushed to claim Apple’s electric vehicle is running at least two years ahead of schedule and will be released in the third quarter of 2021.
Such a schedule is not just difficult but nearly impossible. Apple did reportedly start Project Titan in 2014. But it laid off nearly 190 people working on the project last year.
The people fired, included some very highly skilled and talented individuals who had previously worked on electric vehicles. Quite a few had been in the automotive industry for several years before joining Apple’s Project Titan.
Apple plans to build a self-driving car for consumers and is targeting to produce the vehicle by 2024, Reuters reported on Monday https://t.co/GqEqxLnVTT
— Bloomberg (@business) December 21, 2020
To mitigate the losses, Apple will invariably turn towards OEMs, its favorite go-to place to rush production. However, automobile manufacturing is not smartphone manufacturing. Any automotive OEM would need to have a lot of expertise in making electric vehicles to build one for Apple.
Apple could consider developing the software or the brains of the Apple Car, and let OEMs build a chassis and the motor that powers the electric car. The company does have ample experience in AI, and as it has recently proven, can also build powerful processors for smartphones and even computers.
However, Apple is not known for such collaborative projects. The company prides itself on offering a complete product. Simply put, Apple would invariably try and build an entire car. OEMs would then manufacture the first production-ready iteration of Apple Car
Needless to add, Apple will not be able to meet such an all-encompassing goal within two years. Hence realistically speaking, Apple could unveil the Apple Car in 2024, and not 2021.