Apple’s electric car dreams may bring auto industry nightmares

“Before Apple Inc. decides to move ahead with its Project Titan project and build an electric car, the company may want to look at the menu of challenges that come with being in the automobile business these days,” David Welch and Dana Hull report for Bloomberg News.

“Apple has put a few hundred people, including some new hires from the auto industry, on a skunkworks project to do the early development of an electric vehicle resembling a minivan,” Welch and Hull report. “Such a car would challenge Tesla Motors Inc. as well as electric and hybrid cars sold by Nissan Motor Corp., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and other companies.”

“Apple does have the advantage of a $178 billion cash hoard. That’s six times the cash Volkswagen AG has on its books and seven times what GM is carrying, according to Bloomberg data. In fact, that cash hoard alone could fund GM’s capital expenditures budget for 20 years,” Welch and Hull report. “There is even an open question about EVs being the right choice for the future, said Eric Noble, president of The CarLab, an automotive consulting firm in Orange, California… Changes to the regulations now favor hydrogen-powered vehicles because they can be refueled faster than electric cars can be recharged and can often drive longer before needing to fill up. Also, state tax rebates for hydrogen fuel cells can be double that given to buyers of electric cars. These incentive programs may start to turn the tide toward hydrogen over electric drive, Noble said.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple working with Intelligent Energy on fuel cell technology for mobile devices, sources say – July 14, 2014
Apple patent application reveals next-gen fuel cell powered Macs and iOS devices – December 22, 2011
Apple patent app details highly-advanced hydrogen fuel cells to power portable devices – October 20, 2011

Jean-Louis Gassée: The fantastic Apple Car is a fantasy – February 16, 2015
Apple is already positioned to be a car company in many ways – February 16, 2015
Why Tim Cook would want to build an Apple Car – February 14, 2015
Apple working on self-driving electric car, source says – February 14, 2015
Apple’s project ‘Titan’ gears up to challenge Tesla in electric cars – February 13, 2015
Apple’s next big thing: The Apple Car? – February 13, 2015
Apple hiring auto engineers and designers – February 13, 2015

24 Comments

  1. Really? An Apple minivan? Is this what Apple is going to spend their cash hoard on – a soccer mom-mobile? I don’t think so.

    The vehicle is likely being used to develop better in car dash systems – that is where Apple can excel over automakers.

    The vehicles may also be used to start mapping street views as well. As others have suggested, if Apple wanted a play into the automotive space, buying Tesla would make the most sense since their model and culture is not unlike their own.

    The only caveat is that if Apple has discovered new battery technology with longer ranges and can drastically lower the cost of developing a car’s systems (since it already owns OS X), it might have something to revolutionize the auto industry.

    The new Apple Watch’s charging regime tells me we’re not there yet.

      1. I was aware of Ive’s comments – there are other areas that Apple leaders have commented on that is ripe for an overhaul but for whatever reason (logistics, cost, focus, etc) it doesn’t make sense.

        What does make sense is a new version of Car Play that supports Continuity and possibly a version of OS X for cars that eliminates the need for automakers to have small armies to develop interfaces and features that often are obtuse, hard to use and frequently inconsistent.

      2. I certainly hope that Apple is not working on an electric vehicle just because Jony has always wanted to design a car. There has to be far more to it than just a desire – it needs to be a great idea that fits in with the company’s core business.

        Per Steve Jobs, Apple’s success is the result of saying “no” to many good ideas in order to focus resources on a few “insanely great” ideas. That is called discipline and focus. If Apple starts putting a lot of resources into things that people just want to do, then it will be on its way to becoming Google.

        I don’t believe that is true or that Tim Cook would let that kind of corporate fragmentation occur. So I have to believe that there are good business reasons for Apple’s recent automotive focus. It seems logical to me that this effort is tied to both Apple Maps and CarKit.

  2. May?? It is already a nightmare. Every market apple enter is disrupt.
    And also, NO! Apple doesn’t need to “look at the menu of challenges”, that is precisely why Apple get things done better, they don’t just evolve a product, they re invent it.

    And finally? How the hell GM has such amount of money if they were asking for money to the government a few years ago? Did at least pay it?

  3. When I hear naysayers caveats like ““Before Apple Inc. decides to move ahead with its Project Titan project and build an electric car, the company may want to look at the menu of challenges that come with being in the automobile business these days” I am reminded of the Palm CEO quote of a PC company not just walking in and taking over.

    I love too the hubris in thinking that Apple would need someone else like this Bloomberg to remind them of the pitfalls and the difficulties ahead. I don’t think Apple approaches anything thinking it will be a “piece of cake.”

  4. >>>>>Changes to the regulations now favor hydrogen-powered vehicles because they can be refueled faster than electric cars can be recharged and can often drive longer before needing to fill up. Also, state tax rebates for hydrogen fuel cells can be double that given to buyers of electric cars. These incentive programs may start to turn the tide toward hydrogen over electric drive, Noble said.”<<<<<

    "The rules are to be changed" (again and again). – Dr. Frankenfurter, Rocky Horror.

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