While the Apple Car seemed like an unlikely rumor at one stage, it now seems certain that the consumer electronics giant is working on one. The news that broke in recent weeks that Apple has contacted a famous testing location with the seeming intention of working on such an electric vehicles indicates that an Apple Car could well appear at some point.
The Apple Car gamble
This can be seen as a massive gamble for the corporation. Apple unquestionably possesses the resources to take on almost any project, after all this is the world’s most valuable company in terms of market capitalization. And the consumer electronics giant already has an extremely formidable supply chain in place. If anyone can enter the electric car marketplace, it surely is Apple.
And the Apple Car also fits into the overarching ethos of the corporations, with Apple having always attempted to emphasize its green credentials. But despite the logical reasons for Apple being interested in this growing niche, there will certainly be several weighty challenges to overcome in forging a successful Apple Car.
Manufacturing a roadworthy vehicle is a tremendously expensive undertaking, in what is typically considered to be a low-margin industry. Apple has established itself as an iconic brand in consumer electronics, but it is debatable how much the Apple badge will count for for in the auto market. Apple will find itself up against some truly mammoth corporations which have considerably more experience in this field than the California-based company.
Additionally, the logistical issues related with producing an electric vehicle will certainly be a significant obstacle. Although Apple does have a supply chain to be envied, it certainly hasn’t produced anything remotely on the scale of an electric vehicle previously. One shouldn’t underestimate the organisational undertaking that this would necessitate, and this is possibly the most difficult part of the entire concept of an Apple Car for Apple to overcome.
Benefits for Apple
Yet Apple has never been scared to innovate, and it may view the overall electric car niche as a fertile marketplace for the corporation. Not only is Apple keen on producing its own electric vehicle, but it also has a keen interest in related markets as well. Both electric batteries and in-car entertainment systems are seen as being potential sources of revenue growth for Apple in the foreseeable future, and if the corporation can achieve a significant stake in the electric car marketplace, this will only serve to enhance its reputation and position in the other niches.
So what can we expect from an Apple Car, and when might this hotly anticipated vehicle emerge? To take the latter question first, it is quite clear that Apple’s plans to produce an electric vehicle are very much in the embryonic stages. Apple is making preliminary enquiries about the Apple Car, and probably hasn’t finalized plans to produce the vehicle internally. Most analysts believe that it is feasible that we could see an Apple Car by 2020, but we certainly shouldn’t expect to be able to purchase one until the dying embers of this decade.
But plans are clearly in place to develop the Apple Car, as high-ranking Apple employees met with officials from the GoMentum Station back in May. This 2,100 acre facility at a former naval base have been a testing ground for autonomous vehicles for some time.
The first thing to note about this vehicle is that Apple is expected to produce one that is particularly stylistic. Tesla would be an obvious inspiration for an Apple Car, but some of the more outlandish concept images that have appeared online should probably be ruled out. Despite predictions in science-fiction of flying cars and strange looking contraptions, the auto trade is usually pretty conservative, and we shouldn’t expect an Apple Car to diverge too greatly from existing car templates. Something sleek, green and eco-friendly would be obvious design parameters for the vehicle.
Apple has the potential, though, to include some striking technology in the Apple Car, and one of the most interesting suggestions is that it could utilize fingerprint reading technology in order to access the vehicle. This is, of course, already widely used in the existing raft of Apple devices. Internally, the vehicle is expected to make strong usage of iPhone docking and other Apple-related technology. We could see some outstanding electronic mapping, and a particularly impressive and hi-tech display included in the vehicle.
The inner workings of the Apple Car
The most obvious way that the Apple Car can be made to stand out from the crowd is in terms of its internal technology, and Apple is expected to pull out all of the stops in this department.
It is anticipated that the Apple Car will utilize an electric powertrain, compiling existing knowledge from its own battery division with experience garnered from rivals Tesla. It has been suggested that the Apple Car could be offered in a wide range of power output and battery capacities in order to provide consumer choice. But more than 300 miles should be an aim for the largest batteries in the Apple Car range.
This will be another challenge for Apple, as the battery life of its products have been significantly criticized, and poor performance in this area with an Apple Car will be absolutely unacceptable. Meanwhile, Apple will be working on rapid recharging technology right now, with the intention of including it in both the Apple Car and its range of mobile devices. Commenting on the engine in the Apple Car involves a certain amount of speculation, but murmurings would suggest that powerful versions of the Apple Car will benefit from a 200hp unit.
With the Tesla Model 3 expected to be an extremely affordable version of electric vehicle, it is possible that Apple could target this marketplace as well. But Apple products have always been seen as premium in nature, and thus it seems more likely that Apple will tap into the more luxurious end of the auto market. By 2020, readers of this article may be driving their own Apple Car.