The first Apple car will have autonomous driving, is intended for passenger transport and starts to be produced in 2024. Sources close to the plan also confirm to the news agency Reuters that the company intends to invest in next-generation battery technology. Project Titan, started in 2014, has already undergone advances and setbacks and changes in focus. In 2018, Doug Field returned to Apple after being at Tesla and ended up firing 190 people from the team the following year.
Now, everything indicates that Apple will have resumed the project and now points to the integral development of a vehicle. At the center of the strategy is a new technology related to batteries, which aims to reduce the cost of producing this component and, at the same time, give greater autonomy to vehicles.
The bet on the automotive segment can represent a substantial effort on the part of Apple, namely with regard to the supply chain. Tesla, for example, took 17 years to fine-tune the entire process until it was able to monetize production. A close source even claims that “if there is a company on the planet with the resources to do so, it is probably Apple. At the same time, this is not a mobile phone ”.
The ‘apple’ brand must use the services of a partner to assemble the vehicle. There is still no clear indication as to whether the strategy may not involve the development of an autonomous driving system that is then integrated into a car created by a more ‘traditional’ manufacturer, with experience in the sector.
The pandemic scenario could delay these plans, taking production to 2025 or even further ahead.
The Apple car must feature LIDAR sensors developed by partners or be based on the very technology that the company already uses for the iPhone 12 Pro or iPad Pro launched this year and which have these components.
When it comes to batteries, the bet is on a “single cell” design that brings together all the individual cells of the battery and frees up space inside the pack, eliminating bags and modules used to pack and join the material elements. With this design, more active material can be included, potentially giving greater autonomy. On the other hand, Apple is exploring a different chemical, LFP, which is less likely to overheat.
There are currently no official confirmation from Apple on this topic and the Reuters listened to investors from Gullane Capital Partners and Capital Investment Counsel who were reticent about this bet, indicating that it would probably be more profitable to partner to integrate innovative battery technology into a car produced by an industry manufacturer.