Sometimes you wait forever for an Apple Car rumor then two come along at once. Following yesterday’s fanciful talk of a 2021 Apple Car launch, a much more realistic-sounding report claims that Apple is aiming to put its self-driving car into production in 2024.
As reported by Reuters, inside sources say that the Apple Car will feature a “next level” battery design for longer range and better safety than existing electric car batteries.
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The Apple Car, also known as Project Titan, has been in and out of the works at Cupertino since 2014, with on-street testing taking place in 2017. But this report is the strongest indication yet that Apple is ready and willing to cement its production plans.
Apple Car: Breakthrough battery
According to two people familiar with the project, the Apple Car will be a self-driving automobile for private customers, not a ride-sharing vehicle as previously speculated. And development is heavily focusing on creating a new kind of battery.
This would be based on an all-new “monocell” design which maximizes the size of the battery pack’s individual cells, granting the Apple Car longer range before needing to recharge. Apple is also apparently looking into forgoing the usual lithium-ion makeup of the cells and using lithium iron phosphate instead, which is less likely to overheat.
“It’s next level,” said one of Reuters' sources. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”
Apple seeking help to hit Apple Car launch date
Speaking of the iPhone, it’s important to remember that there are still significant challenges for a smartphone and computing company to overcome if it’s to bring a self-driving car to market. Besides the ongoing pandemic, which could see production pushed back even if the stated 2024 target is accurate, there’s the issue of building an automotive supply chain from scratch.
Earlier reports said that Apple had developed its own LiDAR system – the series of sensors that allow self-drivings cars to “see” their surroundings – specifically for Project Titan. However, this report hints that Apple is looking for third parties to contribute LiDAR sensors to the Apple Car. This may be in addition to shorter-range sensors adapted from the LiDAR tech in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro.