Tesla is going to have to face off with a new competitor in the coming years. And it’s the last company we would expect.
Believe it or not, Apple has started its move towards developing technology for self-driving vehicles and the smartphone corporation is also aiming to manufacture these passenger vehicles in 2024 that will showcase its self-developed battery technology.
Since 2014, the iPhone innovator started Project Titan, which was the start of the vehicle design initiative but six years later, we haven’t heard or seen much on how the project is progressing. It was easy to assume the project was canned or shelved indefinitely.
However, it is now refocusing its efforts back to the electric automotive industry. Doug Field who was a former Apple employee went to work at Tesla but then returned to Apple in 2018. And since then, Project Titan is back on the drawing board with big visions to get an EV with self-driving capabilities built in the next four years.
This information has been leaked out the Apple building as the company has not yet publicly announced its plans to enter the EV industry. However, those in the know have shared their knowledge with news outlets and claim that Apple’s goal to get an EV built for the mass market will also rival companies like Alphabet’s Waymo, which has manufactured robotaxis for a driverless taxi services.
Apple is also taking on the design of new battery technology that will significantly reduce the cost of battery production while increasing an EV’s range. Considering Tesla has been working on this for years, it’s an ambitious feat for the electronics company that has only focused on smart devices and mobile software. Building a self-driving electric car in four years seems quite a radical move.
Tesla has been designing and redesigning, and reworking its battery technology for years while trying to come up with a mass market car that’s affordable to manufacture. However, Apple has deep pockets and probably unlimited resources to get the right people and skills to just work on Project Titan.
What we don’t know is if Apple intends to build a factory for this manufacturing venture or if it will be outsourced for assembly elsewhere. Or perhaps the focus will just be on the self-driving technology and the smartphone firm partners with an auto manufacturer to bring this synergy together. And, if it’s an Apple branded car, it will give the company the advantage because of its massive loyal customer base. People who own an iPhone typically purchase the whole ecosystem and most Apple users own an iPad, Apple watch, Mac computer, so why not own an Apple iCar as well.
If we talk about self-driving capabilities and LIDAR sensors, Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models that were released earlier this year both feature these LIDAR sensors.
It’s a bit telling then that work has been underway for some time to look at the use of these sensors. Rumors regarding Apple’s battery technology suggest that the company will look at using a monocell design to bulk up the individual cells so as to make more space inside the battery pack to house battery materials. This mean a lot more active material can be included to increase the EV’s distance range. Additionally, the company is looking at using LFP chemistry (lithium iron phosphate) as this has less risk of overheating making is safer than batteries with lithium-ion.
So, Apple may just surprise the industry by bringing a whole new angle to the EV game. And if the iPhone impressed us, there’s no telling what Apple can do with the right technology and ideas.