CNETreported that the company is discussing a potential deal with a large electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer in China. With the active pursuit of batteries, it is now clear that Apple wants to make its own car.
When did Apple start working on their own car technology?
Bloomberg, in 2014, Apple created "Project Titan" that would focus on building an autonomous electric car. The project was filled with all kinds of issues from leadership to technical challenges.
Doug Field and his team of engineers had originally worked day-to-day on Project Titan. Field reported to Apple’s former senior vice president of hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield. Mansfield retired from Apple in 2012, but the company brought him back to lead the project.
Mansfield worked for less than a year as senior vice president of chip technology, before he left the role and stayed as a part-time consultant. Artificial intelligence executive John Giannandrea became the new leader for the self-driving car unit when Mansfield fully retired in 2020.
Who is Apple discussing with to help build their Apple Car?
Apple is in talks with two of the biggest battery manufacturers: CATL and BYD. Rather than using batteries that rely on cobalt or nickel, Apple plans to design a battery that uses lithium-phosphate which is cheaper and uses iron. This is different from
lithium-ionwhich is being used for most EVs.
With layoffs across car manufacturing factories and
supply issues, it’s a challenging time for Apple to produce its own vehicle. But CNET reported that it’s pretty likely that an Apple Car is on the horizon. Simply put, if Apple just wanted to work on car software, they wouldn’t need to purchase car batteries.
When will the Apple Car be available?
If a partnership is formed, CNET reported that Apple wants the manufacturing to be done in the United States. This may delay the development of Project Titan. CATL is reluctant to build a new U.S. factory among the current tensions between the U.S. and China.
The release date for an Apple Car, or a publicly-available prototype of one, is still uncertain. CNET noted that analysts think a 2024 to 2025 timeline is the best estimate.
Apple’s ambition and tech expertise could lead to the production of an exciting, popular new electric car model. The Apple Car might involve the self-driving technology that Project Titan is working on.
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