Apple could begin producing its own car with a 'next level' battery in 2024

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Apple is reportedly moving forward with a plan to begin production on a so-called "Apple Car," which will feature "next level" battery technology, in 2024.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Rumors of Apple's self-driving car initiative, internally dubbed "Project Titan," have surfaced periodically since 2014. Although many of the rumors are focused on underlying autonomous systems, there have been reports, patents, and key hires that suggest Apple is working on a production car.

On Monday, Reuters reported that the "Apple Car" will indeed be a passenger vehicle, citing sources familiar with its development.

According to those sources, the center of Apple's vehicular strategy is a new battery design that could "radically" cut battery costs and increase the range of the "Apple Car."

The battery will be based on a "monocell" design that would allow engineers to bulk up the individual cells in a battery and free up space within a battery pack. That design would mean more active material, which could result in a longer range.

Apple is also said to be exploring a new chemical mixture for the battery called lithium iron phosphate, or LFP. The new chemistry is said to be safer and less likely to overheat.

One source with knowledge of the battery technology called it "next level," and likened it to "the first time you saw the iPhone."

It's still unclear how Apple would physically produce the "Apple Car," though it's likely that the company will tap a third-party manufacturing partner to build out the vehicles. Apple will also rely on third parties for certain components, including lidar sensors.

The Cupertino tech giant has been developing vehicular systems since 2014. At the time, it was developing its own physical passenger vehicle. Since then, however, Project Titan has undergone restructurings, staff cuts, and a change of direction to autonomous systems.

Despite that shift in focus, rumors, hires, and patents have all suggested that Apple is still mulling the release of a physical car.

Earlier in December, Apple was said to have moved its car division to the leadership of AI and Siri chief John Giannandrea. According to Reuters, Apple's vehicular development have progressed to a point that it now aims to build a consumer vehicle itself.

That lines up with predictions from oft-accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has previously forecast an "Apple Car" could arrive sometime between 2023 and 2025. Kuo also recently said that Apple was working with long-time supply partner TSMC on a chip for a Tesla-like Apple Car.

Apple reportedly began talks with Canadian mobility technology firm Magna International -- known for producing parts for automakers like General Motors, BMW, and Tesla -- to discuss manufacturing the vehicle. However, those discussions "petered out" when Apple's exact car plans became unclear.

Reuters notes that Apple could still decide to reduce the scope of its vehicular development to autonomous systems that could be integrated with an existing vehicle. Pandemic-related issues could also delay production into 2025 or beyond.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 99
    Why not an Apple Bicycle instead of a car to encourage bike riding instead of driving all the time? And a lot more people could afford an Apple Bike instead of the ultra rich few who will have to pay $50,000 to $100,000 a copy. 
    edited December 2020 minicoffeecornchipjcs2305llama
  • Reply 2 of 99
    rcfarcfa Posts: 965member
    The only “next level” battery technology worth talking about is one without lithium.

    It makes me want to puke when self-righteous “environmentalists” drive around in their stupid BEVs pretending to save the world, while they destroy a unique eco system and the livelihoods of many indigenous people.

    BEVs based on lithium batteries are a disaster, lithium batteries in general are a disaster, but the sheer volume of those going into cars make them particularly unsustainable.

    EVs are not bad per se, that’s why there are either FCEVs, which would be best, because they also get rid of the charging problem, or BEVs with non-lithium batteries.

    I strongly hope that Apple isn’t the next billion dollar company greenwashing BEVs with lithium batteries.
    dysamoriallama
  • Reply 3 of 99
    rcfarcfa Posts: 965member

    Why not an Apple Bicycle instead of a car to encourage bike riding instead of driving all the time? And a lot more people could afford an Apple Bike instead of the ultra rich few who will have to pay $50,000 to $100,000 a copy. 
    And exactly what would that do that other e-bikes don’t?
    Apple isn’t in the business of slapping their brand onto me-too products, and maybe saucing them um with a bit of industrial design.
    Apple enters markets with products it can fundamentally redefine.

    lolliverrobabanarwhalmike1bshank
  • Reply 4 of 99
    Could be September 2021, could be 2024, could be 2020-never.  Great intel.
    cornchipSpamSandwichlkruppllama
  • Reply 5 of 99
    Wait a minute!  That photo has a credit of Apple??  Really?
    edited December 2020 radarthekatiqatedocornchip
  • Reply 6 of 99
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,740member
    Batteries are obviously a pain point in EV technology but advances need to go hand in hand with charging technologies. And it has to be pretty cost effective too.

    Work is already underway to reduce the cost of key technologies in autonomous EVs in areas like LiDAR.

    I'm supposing this new battery technology will be an industry advancement that Apple will pick up on as I haven't heard much about Apple's own chemists bringing much to market. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that though.

    LFP is already available to EVs (also used in datacenters and ICT) and is far more stable (safer) than NCM. I believe a puncture will not provoke leakage and temperatures will not exceed 80ºC. There is no thermal runaway either, I believe.

    Here's a simple summary of where Lithium battery technology may be heading and why. It's focused on data center usage but does touch on EV usage, putting LFP in the low end and mid range of the EV market. 

    https://e.huawei.com/kz/eblog/enterprise-data-center/energy/li-ion-battery-development-application
    edited December 2020 randominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 99
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,033member
    A new, better battery technology is the holy grail of electric vehicles that everyone is working on. Tesla just announced improvements in electrode design at their last shareholder meeting that improved their existing Li tech and every other electric car maker, plus battery companies like Samsung, Panasonic and LG are all working on both improvements to Li battery tech as well as alternatives to it. If Apple suddenly comes up with something, more than a few people would be interested. It would also potentially impact other portable devices like phones and laptops. To my knowledge, though, Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.
    anantksundaramllamaminicoffee
  • Reply 8 of 99
    MplsP said:
    A new, better battery technology is the holy grail of electric vehicles that everyone is working on. Tesla just announced improvements in electrode design at their last shareholder meeting that improved their existing Li tech and every other electric car maker, plus battery companies like Samsung, Panasonic and LG are all working on both improvements to Li battery tech as well as alternatives to it. If Apple suddenly comes up with something, more than a few people would be interested. It would also potentially impact other portable devices like phones and laptops. To my knowledge, though, Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.

    I remember Steve introducing 17” Pro with new built-in battery. That was the first time I’ve heard about the battery charge cycle lifetime going up from 300 to 1000. Untill then, laptop bulky batteries was just a box with several cylindrical monocells and some empty space around. I consider it significant.
  • Reply 9 of 99
    So,  what is the advantage of Apple not officially confirming one way or the other about work on a vehicle??  What are they afraid of?  Making a vehicle has to become public knowledge before it can get on the road with required government tests, etc.  you can’t just keep it a secret and then announce and have it on the road in a couple weeks after an announcement like with iPhones and other stuff.  The other big question is who is going to buy such a vehicle?  Apple makes great computers and phones and other electronic gadgets but has zero reputation in making vehicles.  There is a lot more to making a great vehicle than shoving in as much electronics as you can into it.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 10 of 99
    Battery technology is going to evolve so even if something better comes along, Apple, or any other automaker for that matter, is not locked in to any specific battery technology. It’s a matter of starting off in a viable state and taking it further with each successive generation. It’s also not just about the power source but also how efficiently that power is used by a complex web of systems that go into today’s cars. Major strides are needed in the fundamental technology, certainly, but it’s also valuable to sweat the details. Make enough incremental enhancements and the cumulative impact can be substantial. 

    Based on past behaviour, Apple will release a product when it is confident that said product will produce a sufficiently pleasing user experience. It’s one reason why Apple has tended to arrive later on in a product segment yet winds up with a strong, segment-defining entry. It’s never about being the first to market. Rather it’s about delivering a product that pleases consumers and causes a strong following. For instance, tablets were not invented by Apple but tablets took off when Apple launched the first tablet that made sense to many consumers. Surprisingly affordable and useful in a good many ways. Simply, if that viability isn’t there Apple sits it out until the technology catches up with what the company wants to accomplish. Eventually technology catches up. That’s when Apple makes its move.
    plastico23
  • Reply 11 of 99
    But will anyone be able to afford it?
    svanstromllama
  • Reply 12 of 99
    Why not an Apple Bicycle instead of a car to encourage bike riding instead of driving all the time? And a lot more people could afford an Apple Bike instead of the ultra rich few who will have to pay $50,000 to $100,000 a copy. 
    How would Apple selling a bike instead of car encourage anyone to ride to work instead of drive? Is that in a parallel universe where Apple is the only company that makes bikes and cars?
    fastasleepmike1
  • Reply 13 of 99

    MplsP said:
    Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.
    Ummm what?  You mean the Apple that sells the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook?
    iqatedocornchipnarwhal
  • Reply 14 of 99
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,740member
    flydog said:

    MplsP said:
    Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.
    Ummm what?  You mean the Apple that sells the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook?
    Those batteries aren't really anything special by today's standards. When it comes to the chemistry and cooling, I don't remember much coming from Apple. Not even the charging. 

    I'm not really up to date with the internals on Apple's battery offerings but from what I can see, they use industry offerings. From trusted vendors, yes (LG?). Good quality but that's it as far as I can tell.

    Have they really made much mention of battery chemistry in recent years? 
  • Reply 15 of 99
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,716member
    Wait a minute!  That photo has a credit of Apple??  Really?
    That caught my eye too! Keen to know the facts behind that credit.
  • Reply 16 of 99
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,716member

    rcfa said:
    The only “next level” battery technology worth talking about is one without lithium.

    It makes me want to puke when self-righteous “environmentalists” drive around in their stupid BEVs pretending to save the world, while they destroy a unique eco system and the livelihoods of many indigenous people.

    BEVs based on lithium batteries are a disaster, lithium batteries in general are a disaster, but the sheer volume of those going into cars make them particularly unsustainable.

    EVs are not bad per se, that’s why there are either FCEVs, which would be best, because they also get rid of the charging problem, or BEVs with non-lithium batteries.

    I strongly hope that Apple isn’t the next billion dollar company greenwashing BEVs with lithium batteries.
    What is your problem exactly then with lithium in batteries? Is it in the sourcing of lithium, in the mining, the processing, the disposal/re-use? Lithium is easily sourced ethically if one chooses that route. Do you take issue with rare earth metals on which every modern electronic/electric technology relies? Rare earth production is environmentally vastly more risky.
    minicoffee
  • Reply 17 of 99
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,369member
    Why not an Apple Bicycle instead of a car to encourage bike riding instead of driving all the time? And a lot more people could afford an Apple Bike instead of the ultra rich few who will have to pay $50,000 to $100,000 a copy. 
    The Apple bike — it’s like a computer for your legs.
    edited December 2020 cornchipSpamSandwichwookie01bshankDetnator
  • Reply 18 of 99
    avon b7 said:
    flydog said:

    MplsP said:
    Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.
    Ummm what?  You mean the Apple that sells the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook?
    Those batteries aren't really anything special by today's standards. When it comes to the chemistry and cooling, I don't remember much coming from Apple. Not even the charging. 

    I'm not really up to date with the internals on Apple's battery offerings but from what I can see, they use industry offerings. From trusted vendors, yes (LG?). Good quality but that's it as far as I can tell.

    Have they really made much mention of battery chemistry in recent years? 
    Excellent question/post. 

    No they have not. Makes me skeptical as well. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 99
    XedXed Posts: 880member
    avon b7 said:
    flydog said:

    MplsP said:
    Apple has never done any significant work in batteries, so I read this rumor with not a small amount of skepticism.
    Ummm what?  You mean the Apple that sells the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook?
    Those batteries aren't really anything special by today's standards. When it comes to the chemistry and cooling, I don't remember much coming from Apple. Not even the charging. 

    I'm not really up to date with the internals on Apple's battery offerings but from what I can see, they use industry offerings. From trusted vendors, yes (LG?). Good quality but that's it as far as I can tell.

    Have they really made much mention of battery chemistry in recent years? 
    Excellent question/post. 

    No they have not. Makes me skeptical as well. 
    This has been mentioned in connection to the "Apple Car." The basic rundown is that this wouldn't be individually wrapped notebook-sized batteries (like Tesla uses) so I'm told they could get the same energy into less volume and weight as the current batteries used by vendors, as well as help reduce the risk of fire as LFP is less likely to overheat.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery
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