TMCnet Feature
April 20, 2021

New Rumors About the Apple iCar

The on-again, off-again rumors that Apple (News - Alert) plans to introduce a car are back on again. In December 2020, a report from Reuters claimed that Apple is moving ahead with plans to build a vehicle.  The Apple iCar will feature advanced self-driving technologies, according to the report. The most exciting part of the report says that Apple plans to introduce a new battery design that will reduce electric batteries' costs and increase the driving range. The vehicles' range has been a thorn in the side for all of Tesla's competitors, as they seem to have the secret sauce that has allowed the company to introduce an electric vehicle that can drive for more than 500-miles.

Who Will Build the Apple Car

Apple is not in the business of building cars. There continues to be speculation on who the company will partner with to manufacture their automobiles. There are also rumors that Apple has recruited companies with the self-driving system's supply chain, but it's likely to build its in-house system. This production includes the lidar sensors, which help self-driving cars get a three-dimensional view of the road.

The report says that the car battery would use a mono cell design, which increases the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack. Apple is also said to be investigating the use of lithium iron phosphate instead of traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Not The First Rodeo

Apple's automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, started in 2014 when it first started to design its vehicle. Apple contracted its efforts to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Apple had previously engaged Magna International Inc to help with the manufacturing of a car, but the talks stalled as Apple's plans became unclear.

Another issue that Apple is now facing is how to proceed in the wake of the pandemic. Reuter's article states that the pandemic might generate delays that push the introduction of the iCar into 2025. Additionally, producing a car generally does not create the same margins relative to an iPhone (News - Alert). To have a viable assembly plant, you need 100,000 vehicles annually, with more volume to come.

Rapid Growth

The accelerated Apple stock trading, which is likely on CEO Tim Cook's minds, the company needs innovation. The automotive industry is ushering in rapid growth, and it could be a good time for Apple to enter the market. From January to November 2020, 17.79 million passenger vehicles were sold in the Chinese market, and electric cars accounted for 5.4%. The industry predicts that sales of electric vehicles will exceed 1.5 million in 2021.

Self Driving

While Apple is focused on creating a battery that will allow an electric car to have a full range, it also focuses on producing a sell driving car. In 2020, Apple obtained at least ten autonomous-driving patents, which involve the three major areas of autonomous driving sensors, communication, and control. The Apple patent for autonomous driving sensors involves the linkage between sensors and data sharing.

The Bottom Line

Apple has explored the iCar concept several times since 2014 and now appears to be refocusing its efforts. The vehicle will include a long-range battery as well as self-driving capabilities. Apple is in the process of looking for a partner that will help manufacture the cars. Apple has also obtained several self-driving pattens. The electric car arena has exploded, especially in China, taking a 5.4% market share and poised to exceed 1.5-million vehicles in 2021.

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