Wednesday, Dec 23, 2020, 15:51 Events

Reuters: An Apple Electric Car with “next level” battery tech is on the way—ready for sale in 2024?

Reports of Apple’s ambitions in the automobile market have been making the rounds for almost 6 years. However, there’s been a change since their start. In 2016 there was an alleged halt to Project Titan, the name of Apple's vehicular endeavor, with the purpose of redirecting focus towards the development of “sensor systems.” Then, in the last few weeks, the mood changed again as multiple sources reported that an Apple car is indeed in the works. Now Reuters has added their take . This recent article seems to refute an alleged Fall 2021 announcement date, but posits the start of production in the foreseeable future.



The Battery: A unique Selling Point
According to Reuters, production could begin as soon as 2024, a smaller timespan for release in the car industry than in the fast-paced smartphone world to which Apple is accustomed. Apple doesn’t want to simply release yet another electric car but rather one with unique selling points. Reuters indicates that Apple is planning a breakthrough in battery technology, potentially solving two problems known to electric cars at once. It’s alleged that the new “Apple battery” will have a greatly increased capacity and, most importantly, at a more competitive price than current batteries—addressing the disadvantages of previous, high priced, low capacity car batteries.

A years-old futuristic rendering

Lithium Iron Phosphate, the future of batteries?
Characteristic of Apple, their plan is to shrink the dimensions of their battery system without reducing the battery’s output using a monocell design. Apple has also begun research on lithium iron phosphate batteries, which offer less energy due to their design but withstand the heat and cold better, mechanical damage, and fluctuations in charge. The lifespan of lithium iron phosphate batteries is also better than that of current batteries and old components can be more easily recycled. Tesla has already made their interest in LFP (lithium ferro phosphate) batteries known, having begun the switch with the Model 3 Standard Range Plus. Current results are somewhat mixed.

The next “amazing” Generation of Batteries
Reuters identified multiple sources acquainted with Project Titan, one of whom is reported to have said, “If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone.” Another person is reported to have said that Apple’s new battery technology is “next level… like the first time you saw the iPhone.” It’s also reported that Apple has plans to use billions worth of investments in LiDAR technology for self-driving cars. At the moment Apple is even planning to produce their own sensors, instead of buying them. Apple’s intention to set themselves apart from the competition in this respect and to lead the new generation of technology is clear.

An Apple test-drive car by Lexus

Production by established Manufacturers?
Some rumors have evidenced the manufacture of vehicles which Apple wouldn’t be able to single-handedly produce. Apple could band themselves together with other established car makers, thus utilizing their expertise. This is something which Tesla is still working on, as the pioneer electric car company is frequently unable to match the manufacturing precision of other luxury brands, a problem which Apple is also likely to have.

An incredibly ambitious Project
It’s simply not enough for Apple to just release a new car, even if it’s technologically superior. The bar for the Apple car is high, it can’t just be any electric car, it has to be new and innovative, in line with Apple’s previous new products. Investors are also expecting the international release and production of the Apple car, something which quite frankly can’t be accomplished overnight—a reality recently confronted by Tesla. There’s also considerable doubt as to what’s even left to be gained from the classic automobile market with so many currently well established companies in the mix. Apple’s ambitions in the automobile industry are perhaps best summed up by one of their own shareholders, Hal Eddins, “My initial reaction as a shareholder is, huh?…(but) Apple may be eyeing another angle than what I’m seeing.”

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