06:36 | 24/12/2020 Print
Apple Car rumours have been floating around for years, and a new report from Reuters today shed more light on the highly-secretive project. According to the report, production of the electric Apple Car could start as early as 2024, and Apple is once again planning to build its own branded vehicle.
There have been rumours of Apple developing a car going back to 2015. But in 2016, the project was scaled down significantly, with development of a full car being scrapped and Apple’s team refocusing on providing software that could be licensed out to car manufacturers, according to reports at the time. Around 200 people were laid off from Apple’s car team just last year.
Now it seems that Apple has renewed its focus on building an actual vehicle — though there’s a lot of uncertainty on when (and even if) it will happen.
The Reuters report explains that central to Apple’s strategy is a new mono cell battery design that “bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials.” This battery design would allow for more active material to be packed inside, potentially offering longer range, the report says.
Furthermore, Apple is examining lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry for its vehicle, Reuters reports. Tesla has also indicated it has plans to use this battery technology, as our sister site Electrek reported earlier this year. LFP batteries offer lower-energy density than other types but are less prone to overheating and don’t use cobalt.
|Photo: Money Control|
The report also says that Apple is relying on third parties to provide some components of its self-driving tech, including its LIDAR systems. Apple’s battery technology reportedly relies on a “monocell” design that allows more capacity to be fit into the overall battery unit by not dividing it up into discrete cells. Reuters reports that it could allow for “a potentially longer range” and lower costs.
Apple’s technology could also “radically” reduce the cost of batteries, the report adds.
According to The Verge, earlier this month, Apple handed control of its self-driving car project over to John Giannandrea, the company’s head of AI. Giannandrea was brought on board in 2018 to work on Siri, after previously working at Google as head of the search and artificial intelligence.
Just yesterday, another report, from the Economic Daily News in Taiwan, said that an Apple-made car could be released as soon as 2021 in what would be a stunningly ambitious timeframe if true. Back in 2018, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted the launch of a car between 2023 and 2025, according to MacRumors. Generally, though, the impression has been that Apple was focused on self-driving technology for the past several years, rather than the production of an actual Apple-branded vehicle.
|Photo: Trusted Reviews|
The Apple Car/Project Titan rumours have ebbed and flowed over the years, and the project appears to be continuously evolving in scope. Just recently, Bloomberg reported that Apple has shifted the leadership of its self-driving car project to John Giannandrea, its senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, as cited by 9to5Mac.com
Today’s report is some of the deepest details we’ve gotten on Apple Car recently. While production could begin in 2024, the report does caution that pandemic-related delays “could push the start of production into 2025 or beyond.”
|If Apple is planning to manufacture a self-driving car, it may also face regulatory hurdles before it can hit the road. There are no true self-driving vehicles available today, though some cars, like those from Tesla, offer a degree of advanced driver assistance driving in certain situations, the report says.|
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