Why Apple is all charged up about electric cars

“Is Apple really setting its sights on developing electric cars?” Jerry Hirsch writes for The Los Angeles Times. “Although the computer and smartphone giant has yet to comment, the answer seems to be ‘yes.'”

“Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the Cupertino, Calif., company has created a team of employees to explore an Apple-branded electric car,” Hirsch writes. “Now news has surfaced of a lawsuit filed against Apple this month by electric car battery maker A123 Systems. The company, which makes batteries for BMW, Daimler and Tata, accuses Apple of poaching its employees.”

“Analysts at Barclays Capital Inc. believe there are good reasons for Apple’s charge into the electric car business,” Hirsch writes. “Apple is sitting on a $178-billion hoard of cash and securities. It needs to put that money to use. Why not bet on a global move toward electric vehicles?”

“Apple’s brand will be a huge attraction for the next generation of car customers who are unimpressed with the lineups from traditional automakers such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota, the analysts said,” Hirsch writes. “Morover, Apple is likely frustrated with its attempts to get its CarPlay system into new cars, the analysts said… Apple’s efforts to get this into new model cars likely limits its confidence in the auto industry. Going it alone might be a solution.”

Read more in the full article here.

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16 Comments

  1. From their website: “Jason Forcier has served as the Chief Executive Officer of A123 Systems since 2013 where he has lead the restructuring of the global organization post emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

    Now we know what the law suit is really after: Operating cash.

    This situation suggests Apple probably tried to buy them out and they gave a “GT Advanced Technologies” sort of answer, so recruiters were called in.

  2. What a bunch of garbage. So Apple is sued by a battery maker, and suddenly that means Apple is building electric cars?

    These analysts/bloggers/”journalists” need to get a grip. Apple has always been interested in battery technology, and it makes perfect sense that Apple talked with Tesla about its advanced battery technologies. Not only that, Apple is a leader in using solar/wind energy, and Tesla has commercial battery energy storage units (and soon residential units).

    I think all these automotive hires are for advancing CarPlay or other automotive computer technologies, and for battery technologies. I see it much more likely that Apple starts building batteries than cars.

    1. That’s exactly what I think this noise is all about! No one is talking about the fact that Apple is streamlining transportation at their new headquarters. If Apple plans to enter the electric car market, it will be after a long test run, using HQ as a VERY long testing/proving ground.

      1. Absolutely there are already companies with big campuses that do this, saw one on TV yesterday that does, so makes a lot of sense for Apple to do something similar using its own expertise and that which it can learn from developing it to good effect in all manner of ways and things. Could be a serious test bed but car electronic systems in and around CarPlay would be at the forefront and go from there.

  3. Media echo chamber. Some blogger mused about it, then another blogger reported the first blogger’s blog, then a few more report the second blogger’s report of the first blogger’s blog, then some newspaper reports about the bloggery, and then a major newspaper reports that there are “increasing reports of ________.”

  4. “Poaching” employees? So Apple hires someone who formerly worked for ABC company. Like, that is illegal? Or do we call it poaching just because it makes ABC’s CEO mad? Someone uses a word like “poaching” and a so-called journalist repeats the word because it grabs attention. Hiring people is not illegal!

    1. Poaching is hiring away current employees. Said employees have most likely signed a long contract expressly forbidding them from moving to a competitor for a time (6 mos to a year) after they leave the employ of the first company. Typically this keeps current IP they are working on from going directly to the new employer.

  5. Many companies have tried to compete with Apple thinking it was a music player builder, or a phone builder, or (soon) a watch builder. The ‘disruption’ Apple has brought to those markets is legendary because their competition just does not grasp that Apple is none of those. They are a design company melding beautiful design with high technology into their own ecosystem. The dorky looking Sony glasses are a prime example of what they are NOT. Were Apple to design a car, they probably would not build it. Other companies such as Foxcon, or others yet to be named would likely build it. The smart move would not to be to try to compete, but to try to be their prime contractor. To go back now and build a competing design driven company ecosystem would be a huge task, one I see NO ONE even attempting or even seeming to grasp.

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