Apple has set itself a goal for 2024 to produce a driverless passenger vehicle that will include its own state-of-the-art battery technology, sources close to the operation, framed within the so-called Titan Project that has been underway, have informed Reuters. well unevenly, since 2014.
In this year, the company began designing its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple reevaluated its goals and focused its efforts on software and electronic devices.
Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla, took over the project in 2018 … and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019. Since then, Apple has made enough progress that it now aspires to build a vehicle that can get to market.
These plans contrast with those of rivals such as Waymo, of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) that has built robo-taxis to transport passengers for a driverless transport service.
One of the keys to Apple’s strategy lies in a new battery that could “radically” lower the cost and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person quoted by Reuters, who has seen Apple’s battery design. The company has declined to comment on its future plans or products.
In this regard, Apple plans to use a unique single- cell design that increases the volume of individual cells in the battery and frees up space within the battery, eliminating the bags and modules that contain the battery materials, one of the people said.
Apple’s design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car potentially greater range. Apple is also examining a battery chemistry called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is less likely to overheat and therefore safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries. “It is the next level”, have assured the sources.
Manufacturing a vehicle represents a challenge for the supply chain. Even for Apple, with an immense cash flow with expertise in electronics, but not automotive. To cite one example, it took Tesla 17 years before it finally made a profit from making cars.
“If there is a company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it is probably Apple. But at the same time, it is not a mobile phone, ”a person who has worked on Project Titan told Reuters .
It’s also 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.
And there is still the possibility that Apple may decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system that would integrate with a car made by a traditional manufacturer, rather than the iPhone maker selling an Apple-branded car, added one of the people.
The pandemic, yes, can interfere in the plans. Two close sources have warned that delays related to the pandemic could push the start of production until 2025 or beyond.