Apple Car Is at Least Five Years From Launch, Report Says
After new reports of an “Apple Car” began circulating in late December, analysts were quick to advise people to apply the brakes as expected. This may have been justified since, according to a new Bloomberg report, it will take Apple “at least half a decade” to bring the car to market that is widely expected to be electric, possibly with some degree of autonomy Driving ability.
While a Reuters report said Apple could launch a car as early as 2024, development work is progressing more slowly than outsiders believe, according to the Bloomberg report, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. These sources cited five to seven years as a more realistic timeline, but also noted that the timeframe could change.
“The car is far from in the production phase,” says the report. A small team of engineers is working on “powertrain systems, vehicle interiors and external body designs,” says the report. Most of the team members work from home or office for a limited time due to the problems of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Reports of an Apple Car have been circulating since 2014, but the company’s interest has been unpredictable. In 2018, Apple brought in Tesla veteran Doug Field to oversee the automotive team known as Project Titan. However, in 2019, Apple laid off nearly 200 employees. However, in the past few months, Apple has dropped several more Tesla veterans on the auto project, Bloomberg noted.
It is still unclear what exactly the Apple Car will be and what differentiates it from the electric cars from Tesla and others. Earlier reports suggested that Apple’s signature feature would be an autonomous driving system, and Apple has been testing the technology on public roads in California with modified Lexus RX SUVs since 2017. However, the latest report named next-generation battery technology as the Apple Car’s secret weapon.
Apple would likely work with another auto manufacturing company. This is not uncommon in the auto industry, as vehicles such as the Jaguar I-Pace have contract manufacturing agreements. Foxconn – one of Apple’s best known existing manufacturing companies – has even developed its own platform for electric cars and is now providing cash and manufacturing expertise to the Chinese EV startup Byton. Perhaps Foxconn and Apple will team up to make both cars and iPhones – but only if the Apple Car actually sees the light of day.