Electric self-driving Apple car reportedly to use next-level battery tech in 2024
Apple is planning to launch an electric car in 2024 with radical new battery tech, Reuters reported Monday.
Despite an apparent slowdown in what is sometimes referred to as "Project Titan," the iPhone maker is moving ahead with plans for a complete car that will be sold to consumers, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
The key feature of the revived "Apple car" will reportedly be batteries using a previously-unseen "monocell" design, according to the report. This would involve larger individual cells in the battery pack, freeing up space by eliminating the modules that hold many smaller individual cells in current EV packs, according to the report.
This new design, which would rely on the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry used by Tesla for Chinese-market cars, will allow much greater range and "radically" lower cost, according to the report.
Apple would likely rely on a contract manufacturer to assemble its electric car, just as it does for many of its current products. While 2024 is the goal for the start of production, pandemic-related delays could push the launch back to 2025, the report said.
Or it may not happen at all. The report noted that "there is still a chance" Apple will pivot to an autonomous-driving system, rather than an entire car.
This wouldn't be the first false alarm for an Apple electric car. A 2015 report claimed an electric car had been declared a "committed project" by the company, with a targeted "ship date" of 2019. Just over a year later, the project was apparently dead.
Then, in 2017, Apple received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles for testing self-driving cars on public roads. Not every company that applies for these permits intends to become a vehicle manufacturer, but it generated a fresh wave of speculation over the purported Apple car.
In 2018, Apple brought in Tesla veteran Doug Field to oversee Project Titan, but he ended up laying off 190 people from the team in 2019.
More recently, though, Apple was granted several automotive patents. Over the past few months, Apple patents for a system that detects windshield cracks, a sensor enclosure, and a holographic head-up display were published. These came after patents for steer-by-wire and suspension systems in 2019. That at least indicates that, even if it isn't planning an entire car, Apple is still working on car tech.