The world is all in awe of the one-of-a-kind vehicles that Tesla creates. Not only are they environmentally friendly but offer astounding speed and autonomous driving.
It seems Tesla has no competition in the automobile industry and is all set to revolutionize the auto industry itself.
Well, think again. After all, there’s a new player in town.
If there is one company that could stand up to the might of Tesla, there is very little doubt that it would be Apple.
Very few people know that Apple has already begun working on its vehicle.
Project Titan was started in 2014 to bring Apple’s brilliant car idea to life.
Seven years down the lane, why does no one really knows about it?
This is largely because the company ran into internal issues right after the project started.
This brough project Titan to a standstill. Some rumors even suggested that Apple had shelved the project altogether!
Fortunately, they were just rumors.
Perhaps such a struggle was even good for the company because it gave Apple the time to shift its focus to creating an autonomous electric vehicle rather than just an electric one!
In recent years, Apple has hinted more and more towards its car development.
For instance, in 2017, Tim Cook was seen talking publicly about work on its autonomous systems. In the same year, Apple secured a license to test its self-driving car technology. Then in 2018, Apple partnered with Volkswagen to produce an employee autonomous shuttle van.
As of 2020, the project is under Apple’s Machine Learning chief – John Giannandrea. In December of 2020, actual reports emerged that Apple was planning a launch date for the vehicle in 2024 and in early 2021, we have reports that Apple and Hyundai are in talks to collaborate in order to build a self-driving car by 2024 (the beta-version by 2022).
Let’s wait and watch how things unfold.
The Next Level Battery
With Apple committed to making the iCar, it seems that there will be huge developments in the automobile industry as the giant tech company is known to disrupt any and every industry it becomes a part of.
In the quest to bringing something new to the world, Apple plans to create an improved, next level battery technology.
Apple is looking to introduce an alternative to the existing paradigm of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. The new batteries are reportedly using lithium iron phosphate that is less likely to overheat.
Sources also suggest that Apple is working with mono-cell batteries that will drastically bring down battery costs for electric vehicles.
While the promise of a new and improved battery is central to Apple’s plan, there is very little that Apple has revealed.
The Car Design
Just like Apple’s silence on the battery development front, Apple has been very quiet on their car design decisions. There have been many debates about whether the car will be manufactured within Apple’s own facility or outsourced to Taiwanese manufacturers.
At the same time, there were reports that Apple would partner with BMW to provide designs. But issues about proprietary data raised some concerns and it seems the deal is off the table.
There have also been reports and pictures of Lexus cars being used for testing. A Bloomberg report in 2017 also claimed that Apple was partnering with Hertz to test its features.
With the type of vehicles being used for safety tests of the self-driving component, it does not seem to be a far-fetched assumption that the car could be an SUV. Again, Apple has provided little information about what is really going on at the design front.
Workforce for the Vehicle
To bring Apple’s vision of an autonomous car to life, the company has expanded its workforce. When it started in 2014, Project Titan had only 200 employees. While it was said to be aiming for over 1000 employees, the troubles the project ran into halted the hiring efforts.
But over the years (especially in recent years), Apple has hired extensively for the project. High-profile personalities from companies like Tesla, GM, Ogin, Autoliv, and many others have made headlines.
Apple even ran into some legal troubles over allegations of poached employees from A123 Systems - a company that specializes in electric vehicle batteries. Reports of poaching battery experts from Samsung also came out.
Apple was hiring far and wide. For a brief stint, the YouTube celebrity engineer Mark Rober also worked on the VR technology for the car.
The fact of the matter is that the workforce has been growing over the years. Some of the best people worldwide have been brought in to create the Apple Electric car.
While Apple has said that production could begin by 2024, analyst Ming-Chi believes it could be as late as 2025 to 2027. But then again, reports have suggested that the work on the car is running ahead of schedule.
Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed.