Apple's latest Tesla hire may point to powertrain for full-scale 'Apple Car'

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 30
Signaling that it's continuing work on a full-fledged electric car, or at least a platform, Apple has reportedly hired Tesla's engineering VP in charge of powertrains Michael Schwekutsch.

Tesla Model 3


Schwekutsch left Tesla earlier this month and is now a part of Apple's Special Projects Group, Electrek sources said. The group is home to some of Apple's most clandestine work, including "Project Titan," the self-driving car effort.

The executive has an extensive history in powertrain development. His resume lists related engineering firms like BorgWarner and GKN Driveline, and output such as electric and hybrid powertrains for the BMW i8, Fiat 500eV, Volvo XC90, and Porsche 918 Spyder.

Apple is allegedly hiring "several other" Tesla workers alongside Schwekutsch, who should serve under Doug Field -- once a VP of Mac hardware engineering at Apple, but who spent almost five years at Tesla before returning to Apple to replace former project lead Steve Zadesky.

The project was hit with two rounds of layoffs earlier this year. Revived hiring could mean Apple has settled on a new direction -- Apple and Tesla have regularly poached from each others' labor pools, however, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk even calling Apple the "Tesla graveyard."

Project Titan is thought to have begun with an Apple-designed car in mind, but at one stage scaled back to platform development and testing, with rumors that it would only create technology for adoption by existing automakers or ridesharing services.

In recent months signs have mounted that the company could be inching back into car design. Ongoing efforts in the space include multiple patents and patent applications such as technology for power transfer systems, as well as new recruits like former Tesla car designer Andrew Kim.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Hopefully the iCar will have a installed Wireless  Charging Pad.
    cornchipJWSCrazorpitStrangeDaysmelgrossAppleExposed
  • Reply 2 of 48
    ciacia Posts: 77member
    I have a feeling Apple is developing a EV chassis platform for others. Battery, frame, wheels, powertrain, software etc, but the actual "car" where you sit will be open to anything a manufacturer wants. Kind of like a bare stakebed truck. You could put a box on back, or a normal pickup back, or anything.
    chasm
  • Reply 3 of 48
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 836member
    Can’t build wireless charging mat

    wants to build powertrain for an autonomous car


    cornchipanantksundaramravnorodomapplesnorangeslarryarazorpit
  • Reply 4 of 48
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,939member
    Don't read too much into this. It take lot more to design/produce EV cars for the mass market. If delusional than ask Elon Musk,
  • Reply 5 of 48
    DaRevDaRev Posts: 1member
    But will it come with Windows pre installed?
    edited March 30 blah64MacPro
  • Reply 6 of 48
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 363member
    Reading too much into it. More likely designing, building, altering drivetrains for testing harnesses. Patents to follow. 
    JWSCmilleron
  • Reply 7 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,007member
    Mercedes licenses Tesla’s design for the electric vehicle drive shaft, so they’re not exactly a bunch of slouches over there working for Musk. I’ll bet the long hours at Apple are probably like a vacation compared to Tesla.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 48
    Mercedes licenses Tesla’s design for the electric vehicle drive shaft, so they’re not exactly a bunch of slouches over there working for Musk. I’ll bet the long hours at Apple are probably like a vacation compared to Tesla.

    You have a link to that?
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 48
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,450member
    I vote platform. Makes more sense.
    chasm
  • Reply 10 of 48
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,450member
    DaRev said:
    But will it come with Windows pre installed?

    YES!!! I can't wait!  :D

    I absolutely LOVE seeing ATMs and promotional screens displaying the Windows desktop. To have this in my car?!? Heaven! 

  • Reply 11 of 48
    DaRev said:
    But will it come with Windows pre installed?

    YES!!! I can't wait!  :D

    I absolutely LOVE seeing ATMs and promotional screens displaying the Windows desktop. To have this in my car?!? Heaven! 

    Did you happen to miss the double entendre'?  I'm pretty sure DaRev wasn't referencing a Win interface. 
    tyler82blah64
  • Reply 12 of 48
    designrdesignr Posts: 499member
    cia said:
    I have a feeling Apple is developing a EV chassis platform for others. Battery, frame, wheels, powertrain, software etc, but the actual "car" where you sit will be open to anything a manufacturer wants. Kind of like a bare stakebed truck. You could put a box on back, or a normal pickup back, or anything.
    This would be a very un-Apple move. Apple is a consumer products company. Not saying they can't/won't...just seem very unlikely.
    anantksundaramlarryaAppleExposed
  • Reply 13 of 48
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,874member
    I vote platform. Makes more sense.
    What would a car platform entail?
  • Reply 14 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,007member
    Mercedes licenses Tesla’s design for the electric vehicle drive shaft, so they’re not exactly a bunch of slouches over there working for Musk. I’ll bet the long hours at Apple are probably like a vacation compared to Tesla.

    You have a link to that?
    Apparently, I misremembered but Tesla did provide Daimler tech previously;

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/07/daimler-ceo-tesla-mercedes-talking-about-working-together-again.html
    shahhet2AppleExposed
  • Reply 15 of 48
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,284member
    Powertrain doesn’t sound good.
    It’s the one thing you shouldn't have when building an electric car.
    edited March 31 Latkobeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 16 of 48
    LatkoLatko Posts: 354member
    designr said:
    cia said:
    I have a feeling Apple is developing a EV chassis platform for others. Battery, frame, wheels, powertrain, software etc, but the actual "car" where you sit will be open to anything a manufacturer wants. Kind of like a bare stakebed truck. You could put a box on back, or a normal pickup back, or anything.
    This would be a very un-Apple move. Apple is a consumer products company. Not saying they can't/won't...just seem very unlikely.

    knowitall said:
    Powertrain doesn’t sound good.
    It’s the one thing you shouldn't have when building an electric car.

    Indeed. This seems the signal that Apple couldn’t find a parther within its Autopilot/software ambition, and just (again?) tries to start building a carframe - in a mere “You have to start anywhere, don’t you ?”-approach
    Soon to find itself as Alice lost in carmakers' Wonderland of bodywork design/philosophy, production, outsourcing, provisioning, assemblage, plant design, upscaling production, dealer networks, parts distribution, aftersales-service, service and repairmen, education etc.
    This overly complex business requires understanding and refinement of carmakers’ assembly and provisioning networks as they evolved over the last 100 years.
    Successful carmakers made that happen, and evolved with it, or perished.
    This is a world far more complex for newcomers to enter, let alone survive. 
    Far more complicated and less rewarding/profitable than iDevice business (that has its own, very different provisioning networks and laws) - making me wonder whether Apple realizes what it actually wants to achieve and at what price.
    I am afraid Tim expects to be the Champion of Everything (Media, News, Fashion, Health, Radio, Music Streaming, Video content - all very different expertise area's) but ends up as the culprit of epic diversification failure.
    Better limit ambitions to a smaller, more realistic scale - starting with a PowerMat (...)

     
     

    edited March 31 knowitall
  • Reply 17 of 48
    knowitall said:
    Powertrain doesn’t sound good.
    It’s the one thing you shouldn't have when building an electric car.
    You still need a method of getting the rotational power generated by the Electric Motor to the wheels. Some EV's us a reduction gear and all that instant torque can rip the heart out of a conventional gearbox. Any EV powertrain will also need to work in reverse to allow Regen to work.

    I agree with you in that a conventional ICE Manual or Automatic Gearbox is not required but there is still a need for an EV specific powertrain.

    directly connecting the motor shaft to the wheels does not really work.
    razorpit
  • Reply 18 of 48
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,299member
    Generally speaking, electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles seem to get intermixed in reporting and conversations.  Yet they are totally different.

    For myself, I would predict:
    -  Electric vehicles will give way to plug in hybrids of some sort (even if they are fuel cell hybrids).  And that will last till battery technology and recharging stations and technology have advanced considerably.

    - Autonomous vehicle technology will slowly infiltrate into regular cars and road infrastructure until self-driving and regular cars become less and less distinct enities.   Europe is already considering regulations to automatically govern the sped of all automobiles using GPS and local road signals.  That could go from regulating top speed to the speed limit to automatically slowing cars as they approach a construction zone.  That is the start....
  • Reply 19 of 48
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,909member
    I will reiterate what I, and a few other insightful commentators, have predicted all along.

    Apple will not sell a car. Instead, Apple will sell transportation as a service. Their transportation service will utilize their own fleet of self-driving electric vehicles. 

    A few years ago, people often reacted to this prediction by saying that Apple makes money by selling products to consumers, not by selling services. I think it's pretty clear now how insightful that line of reasoning wasn't. Apple execs are beating the service drum pretty hard these days. The idea of Apple preferring to sell a subscription service rather than hardware is not as alien now. 

    Furthermore, I think that as we discover how overly optimistic the Waymo/Tesla-fueled predictions were about the timeline for achieving 'full autonomy,' it becomes clear that selling a self-driving car to consumers will not be feasible for the foreseeable future. 

    What is likely to be feasible is a vehicle that is very adept at operating within a clearly defined space. Not just geo-fenced, but restricted to specific routes that it can handle. 

    I can imagine a service that mixes human-driven and autonomous vehicles, depending on the route requested. 
    StrangeDaysfastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,007member
    blastdoor said:
    I will reiterate what I, and a few other insightful commentators, have predicted all along.

    Apple will not sell a car. Instead, Apple will sell transportation as a service. Their transportation service will utilize their own fleet of self-driving electric vehicles. 

    A few years ago, people often reacted to this prediction by saying that Apple makes money by selling products to consumers, not by selling services. I think it's pretty clear now how insightful that line of reasoning wasn't. Apple execs are beating the service drum pretty hard these days. The idea of Apple preferring to sell a subscription service rather than hardware is not as alien now. 

    Furthermore, I think that as we discover how overly optimistic the Waymo/Tesla-fueled predictions were about the timeline for achieving 'full autonomy,' it becomes clear that selling a self-driving car to consumers will not be feasible for the foreseeable future. 

    What is likely to be feasible is a vehicle that is very adept at operating within a clearly defined space. Not just geo-fenced, but restricted to specific routes that it can handle. 

    I can imagine a service that mixes human-driven and autonomous vehicles, depending on the route requested. 
    Elon Musk said this early last year:  https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-autonomous-coast-to-coast-self-driving-trip/
Sign In or Register to comment.