Reuters: Apple targets car production by 2024 and eyes ‘next level’ battery technology

Apple is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to start production of a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology, Reuters reports, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

vehicle under wraps

Stephen Nellis, Norihiko Shirouzu,and Paul Lienert for Reuters:

The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch… Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public.

Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design… Apple plans to use a unique “monocell” 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, one of the people said.

Apple’s design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries. “It’s next level,” the person said of Apple’s battery technology. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”

It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car, but sources have said they expect the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles.

MacDailyNews Take: 2024 for “Apple Car” production seems like a much more plausible timeline than today’s earlier report out of Taiwan of an “Apple Car” to debut in September 2021.


    1. I understand the sentiment, but you must realize that Apple will need to build up a massive supply chain and the options within the United States are slim.

      What you are asking is the same thing that has been requested for the iPhone and iPad for years — assemble these products in the U.S. The first thing that comes to mind is the supply chain. The second thing that comes to mind is the factories – building and outfitting them with lots of automation. The third thing is labor – people willing to work on an assembly line at a pay scale that makes the products competitive with the ones manufactured in China, Thailand, India, etc.

      As I have said many times in the past, the repatriation of high-value-added assembly manufacturing CAN happen over time as long as the component supply chains can be worked out and the facility/labor location and costs can be worked out. But this type of assembly work will depend a great deal on automation – robots – so the number of jobs that would be created is far less than the number of jobs associated with traditional, labor-intensive assembly line work. So, even if Apple is successful at bringing a portion of its product assembly manufacturing into the U.S., it will only create a tiny fraction of the jobs lost over the preceding decades when manufacturing moved out of the U.S. to China and other low labor rate countries.

      Note that I am still in favor of increasing the amount of high-tech manufacturing in the U.S. But I want to keep expectations within the bounds of reason. This will not return the U.S. to the post-WWII era of middle-class prosperity and growth of the 1950s.

      As manufacturing and other industries become increasingly automated, the challenge will be how to support the labor force. What will be the source of living wage jobs? Who will supply those jobs? You can see where this is heading in the extreme case where a manufacturing plant is nearly 100% automated. The only jobs will be designing, programming, installing, and maintaining robots in that manufacturing plant, along with some cleanup and security. Consider the economic and social implications…

  1. Apple building a car seems strange given their obsession with removing parts and making everything into featureless slabs. There will probably be some explanation why the Apple car doesn’t need doors, and the steering wheel doesn’t actually turn.

  2. LFP CTP batteries were announced over a year ago in the Fall, and are already being used in Tesla Shanghai, and other mfrs. I doubt that’s what Apple is working on. Groundbreaking would be solid state batteries.

      1. Eliminating the liquid electrolyte would be a big deal. Solid state batteries would offer many improvements — safety, energy density, etc. I recently read a couple of articles on this subject. One company has/had a single cell prototype working and another had advanced into early battery (multi-cell assembly) testing. That likely means a few years to a retail product (assuming success). But I am hopeful.

  3. How I wish this story was true that Apple will be building EVs. Teslas are nice vehicles, but the company is given too much leeway for owning the future of automobiles. Seriously, a P/E of 1300 is just too much. Apple is never given that sort of free pass for anything it sells.

    1. I would like this story to be true, but note that it’s from Reuters, who were once quite a reliable source of news, but not so much these days, especially with regards to Apple stories.

      Hoping that this story is the exception for them.

  4. How is the Apple Car battery recharged? Apple’s AirPower Charger is out of the question. I guess that leaves electric power plants, powered by gasp coal, to produce the electricity needed to recharge the battery. That is, if it is permissible with the Progressive Left’s AOC’s Green New Deal. Otherwise, may need to rely on cow farts… oh, wait. Anyway, if the ever brilliant AOC is correct, the Apple Car production run will be one of the shortest ever in the history of auto manufacturing, if according to AOC, who said in late January 2019, ‘the world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ Well, yeah. Someone with a BS degree in economics should know that money doesn’t grow on trees, even if both parties politicians act and spend like it does! That means the end will be around 2031. So, barring delays, Apple Car will exist for around 7 years, before we cease to exist.

    1. I guess your notion of up-to-date transport, Baby, is a steam locomotive. Only 23% of US electricity in 2019 was generated by burning coal. Except in states where it is mined, that proportion is precipitously falling as plants are decommissioned and are not replaced. Natural gas is cheaper to produce and transport, besides being cleaner and more flexible (combustion turbines can be throttled up and down faster than steam).

      Renewable sources produced about 16% of the power generated nationally last year—-much more than that in areas with lots of sun, wind, and/or flowing water. Even though natural gas is extremely cheap in Texas, wind and solar provide about 27% of our electricity. In California, which has access to hydropower as well, renewables provide 52%. That wouldn’t be happening if those sources were not competitive.

      Even when the electricity is coming from coal, one large powerplant is more efficient in limiting emissions than hundreds of thousands of internal combustion engines. “Efficient” translates as “cheaper;” after the initial investment in an electric vehicle, the consumables are much less expensive.

    1. Where is John Dangler, with his tea bags out, ready to give us another COVID-laced LA Commmie perspective on life, the universe, cars and everything?

  5. Tim Cook is no Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. The world’s greatest salesman has left the building (sadly), and it is now run by a politically correct accountant blinded by his personal agenda. Elon Musk is probably the next best salesman we will ever see, because his vision and passion guide him. Tim Cook should be more careful on the toes he is attempting to step on in the business world that is run by people that don’t guide in social platitudes.

  6. Just imagine – your car is out of battery – you plug in your (then) M3 Powerbook – and your car has 10 more hours of battery life and you can continue watching “Netflix”

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