Apple's 'Project Titan' car faces manufacturing roadblocks, could necessitate partnership

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  • Reply 101 of 126
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by focher View Post

     

     

    Apple will need to do something. Nothing they have in their phones is proprietary and none of their tech is new. Any mobile phone company could build a smartphone in short order if they wanted. They're happy right now to let Apple spend money getting consumers used to the idea of smartphones and when the market (and touchscreens) is ripe they'll jump in. Apple will have nothing to separate them from the rest, except for being the first. And Apple doesn't have nearly as much experience in the other 75% of the smartphone (that's not the screen) as other manufacturers.

     

    Like that? Every time I hear someone claim existing car manufacturers choose not to offer something as compelling as Tesla, I have to laugh. Those manufacturers would LOVE to have a car in their offering, and Tesla is making a considerable dent in the high-end luxury sedan segment against the established players. Just yesterday, Porsche announce a concept car to compete with Tesla and match its specs that will "probably" be available within 5 years. 


     

    Man, this is a total fracking non sequitur... Instant ignore.

  • Reply 102 of 126
    boltsfan17 wrote: »
    Have you been to an auto plant recently? In now way shape or form are they inefficient. Just look at Ford, they just spend over $2 billion to retool the factory in Dearborn for the new aluminum body F-150. Apple will have to spend a fortune to turn that land into an auto plant. Apple is a great company, but no way they change the way cars are built. 

    “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

    http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/colligan_head_stuck
  • Reply 103 of 126
    gmac wrote: »

    what couple possibly be different about the Apple of then and the Apple of now? hmm. no, Apple is doomed because history works in cycles which cannot be altered. /s
  • Reply 104 of 126

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post

     

     

    Any company can build the Model S in short order if they wanted?  Tesla is killing the high end market for Audi and others.  They would build it if they could!  The Model S has been out for years now and yet no real player has anything out with even with HALF the range.  

     

    Tesla has:

    Software (nearly as good as Apple in the auto category)

    Upcoming Gigafactory (Tesla will have much lower costs than other companies)

    Supercharger network (It has taken years to build and would take anyone else just as long with permits etc)

    Safety (if the other automakers are so good at the other 75% of the car, why can't they beat Tesla on safety?)

    Direct to customer model (higher profits, higher satisfaction)


     

    Killing the high-end market? By selling cars by the thousands instead of millions? By selling "luxury" cars that are only slightly more equipped than an Accord or Camry? They're not killing anything.

     

    Gigafactory doesn't mean squat. Anyone can build such a factory. And even though Tesla is in bed with Panasonic, as soon as Toyota or GM flash billions in cash under their noses Panasonic will be selling to them as well. Or maybe it'll be Samsung. Bottom line is there are lots of players in battery technology and Tesla doesn't have a lock on battery supply.

     

    Supercharger network is also pointless. Office buildings, malls, schools and many other locations around me already have charging stations. I see cars like the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 or Smart plugged in all the time. I haven't seen a Supercharger yet, though I know they exist. We have 8 superchargers and 13 outlets for a population of around 3 million spread out over around 300 square miles. Within walking distance of where I live there are over 20 NON-TESLA electric car chargers. I would be surprised if there were less than 1,000 chargers over the same area as those 8 Superchargers based on the fact that I see them in pretty much every other parkade I ever go to.

     

    Safety? Although the NHTSA numbers are very good, they aren't the be all and end all. The IIHS also conducts tests and two of their tests are far more difficult than the NHTSA. Those would be the offset head on tests where the weight of the vehicle is absorbed only by a portion of the front end (NHTSA crashes cars head on full width into a wall, distributing the forces evenly across the entire front of the car - a situation that rarely happens in real life).

     

    The only one I've seen is the NCAP offset test, but they use a deformable barrier. Further, the Models S did very well (5 stars) but there was a major issue with the car. That is, the passenger side airbags/curtain airbags went off. They should not go off in this type of a test - only the driver side airbags/curtains should go off because of the forces applied to the car (the car rotates about its axis and the driver will be thrown toward the driver door). The passenger airbags should go off only when sufficient force is applied such that the passenger side occupant would be thrown against the passenger door.

     

    Here's the NCAP test. Watch the passenger side airbags.

     

     

     

    Here's my wife's new car, a Chevy Trax, which earned a top safety pick by the IIHS (for the 2015 model). The first video is the 2013 model which illustrates the differences in airbag activations. Note the front airbags go off, but the side airbags do not as there's not enough force applied to the passengers to warrant activating them. You can even see by watching the video that the dummies stayed in their seats and did not shift to the side. The car did rotate about its axis, but not severely enough to cause the passengers to be thrown around in the vehicle.

     

     

    And here's the IIHS test of the 2015 Chevy Trax, which uses the immovable barrier (a MUCH MORE serious test than the deformable barrier). You can tell the severity of the test by how much the car is damaged after impact and how far it moves. This time the side airbags DID go off since the vehicle measured the forces and realized the driver side airbags needed to be activated to protect the driver.

     

     

     

    Airbags are supposed to go off only when needed. The Model S, by having the side airbags go off in an offset crash, just wasted those airbags that could have provided protection for the passengers. What if the car continued on and hit a pole or another car? The side airbags would be useless as airbags only protect passengers for a fraction of a second (when they inflate). They quickly deflate and are no longer useful. All those side airbags that went off in the Model S did nothing to protect the passengers, and took away their ability to protect passengers if there was "more" to the accident (another collision or event).

     

     

    So go on and keep bragging about the 5 Star NHTSA rating the Model S gets when it hasn't yet complete the much tougher IIHS tests. When it passes those tests then you can claim it's ahead on safety (and when it saves airbags for when they're needed instead of activating them all at once).

     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RonMG View Post

     

     

    Again, has anyone pulled an instrument panel lately?!?!? OMG, the AMOUNT and SIZE of the wiring is astronomical. Apple will find ways around that with back-up capability so as not to lose complete access to all functions. But my key item was removal of legacy automobile items that are essentially worthless now, like steering columns and foot pedals. So much is drive-by-wire anymore that these items add cost and weight and take up a lot of space.


     

    I have, and they usually only have a few wires. Power, ground and some bus lines for data. In fact, many components in your car only have a few wires, usually the same combination of power and data. Door window switches are a good example. You can control all your windows, power mirrors or door locks with only 3-4 wires. On older cars a driver door switch pack would easily have 20 or more wires, with some being high current (window motors, for example).

     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by focher View Post

     

     

    blah blah blah


     

    Ridiculous comment.

     

    And as I said above, Tesla isn't making a dent in the high-end segment. Not even close. Not with their paltry sales and their inability to even hope to ramp up production to a fraction of what Audi, Mercedes or BMW (for example) do.

  • Reply 105 of 126
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gmac View Post

     

    This makes me think of this... 

     

     

    And we know how that worked out in the end.


    No, no. What you've posted above is the equivalent of CarPlay in cars.

     

    The equivalent of Project Titan is:

     

  • Reply 106 of 126
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member

    [BREAKING]

     

    ? car will come with ? TV

     

    Enjoy your widescreen movie while petrolheads around you are 'enjoying' working their gears, brakes and steering wheel (in traffic jam). Ah, the Pleasure of Driving ;)

  • Reply 107 of 126
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,541member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DamonF View Post

    ...

    I wonder if they're actually going after ride sharing services like Uber, letting people use the car more as a "service".  If the car would be truly autonomous, then it could drive itself from a central lot/charging center, pick you up, drop you off at your destination, then return to the central lot/charging center.  When it is time for regularly scheduled maintenance, the car could drive itself to the nearest service depot.  The service depots would then only need to be in larger cities, similar to how UPS, FedEx, etc. only fly into airports in big cities (not smaller, regional ones, typically), then use ground transportation to get to the mid-side and small cities and towns. 


    I doubt this is the case (of course this is just my speculation:).  Apple is a "product company", and their success lies in creating products that people want to own.  They can sell into the premium top 20% consumer market because they design HW & SW (and market it) that people want to buy - the user is the purchaser (or close enough like a parent/spouse).  This can also explain why Apple was not as successful in Enterprise - the user is NOT the purchaser (upfront costs seem to matter more to those decision makers - they don't care what the user thinks of it).

     

    So as a product company, Apple's DNA would seem to be about creating a car that people (a specific target segment anyways) will want to own.  It will have some charisma, or desire, to it.  That DNA isn't about creating a service where the user doesn't own the device, and which to be successful like Uber needs very large scale.  With a product-to-sell focus, Apple can start small and grow over time.  With focus on perhaps a new production method (like the noted BMW i3), Apple could enter the market with ability to manufacturer smaller quantities of cars (sub-million) & still be profitable.

     

    On autonomous vehicles, my view is that this will take longer to get to any scale than many here think.  While a self-driving car might be technically feasible in 5 years (in some well mapped locations), the regulatory & insurance issues to overcome are substantial.  This will only be approved as well in a piecemeal fashion (state-by-state in US, vary by country, etc).  This means that getting to the end state that people here talk about will be well beyond 5 years.  If Apple has a plan to introduce a car in 2020, it will not be self-driving.

  • Reply 108 of 126
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

    ...they would have to generate far more electricity if electric cars became mainstream.

    Millions of new EVs on the road, if charged overnight when demand is low, will have almost no inpact on the grid or require new generation.

     

    In some ways it will help by making demand more even over the day.  It will reduce emissions by not requiring as many power sources that can be turned on and off (coal, oil) and make it easier to schedule demand for things that can not be turned off, like wind, nuclear and hydro.

     

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/30/us-utilities-autos-plugins-idUSTRE55S63G20090630

  • Reply 109 of 126
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,257member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post

     

    No, no. What you've posted above is the equivalent of CarPlay in cars.

     

    The equivalent of Project Titan is:

     




    Wait 6 months for the price to drop and the capacity to double then?

  • Reply 110 of 126
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,625member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tummy View Post

     

    Millions of new EVs on the road, if charged overnight when demand is low, will have almost no inpact on the grid or require new generation.

     

    In some ways it will help by making demand more even over the day.  It will reduce emissions by not requiring as many power sources that can be turned on and off (coal, oil) and make it easier to schedule demand for things that can not be turned off, like wind, nuclear and hydro.

     

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/30/us-utilities-autos-plugins-idUSTRE55S63G20090630


     

    I disagree somewhat.   That might be true for those who would charge their cars overnight at home, but in large cities, where people live in apartments, they'll be charging at service stations and dealerships during the day.   Besides, power generation facilities that currently run on coal and oil aren't going to magically transform into wind, nuclear and hydro just because there are power demands for cars and that will be especially true if Republicans re-take the White House and maintain their majorities in Congress. 

  • Reply 111 of 126
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     

     

    I disagree somewhat.   That might be true for those who would charge their cars overnight at home, but in large cities, where people live in apartments, they'll be charging at service stations and dealerships during the day.   Besides, power generation facilities that currently run on coal and oil aren't going to magically transform into wind, nuclear and hydro just because there are power demands for cars and that will be especially true if Republicans re-take the White House and maintain their majorities in Congress. 


    For large cities and apartment dwellers that's a problem, but you have to look outside of NYC where probably 99% of the cars are in the US.  Around 70% of Americans are in houses and the majority of those can easily support an overnight charge without any additional changes, just 110v. 

     

    Do you own an EV? We have 3 EVs currently and have never needed a public charge in 3 years.  We will charge for free when available, but have never needed to even with the current batch of 80 mile range EVs.  Most EVs, other than the hugely inefficient Tesla Model S, draw about the same current as a residential window air conditioner.  Overnight this has almost no impact on the grid even if millions of people switched to EVs.

     

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1089805_new-data-shows-electric-cars-wont-be-a-problem-for-utilities

     

    "Real-world data from utilities has already shown that existing levels of electric cars have made virtually no impact on local grids. Last year, PG&E in California said it had upgraded only 12 neighborhood grids out of 10,000 service checks."

  • Reply 112 of 126
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LarryA View Post



    This all feels like a bad idea to me. It's just a gut feeling, but it's such a low margin business, and seems so distant from core competencies and ecosystem market advantages that their computer products benefit from. I will be the first to celebrate if they prove me wrong, though.

    Agreed, I'm disbelief that Apple would consider building their own car. How about dealerships and service ?

    But I expect they are copying Tesla's business model of order by mail and ship back for major repairs.

     

    Apple: "The Tesla is only selling because quite a few rich people just have to buy one of those unique cars.  I't not selling to those who need to use a car daily, for both short and long distance drives."

  • Reply 113 of 126
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

     

    Apple need to be talking to FIAT!

     

    I had a 1995 Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole.  I believe the Tipo and some other models of the era were built in a completely robot automated factory that only employed three people to oversee things.

     


    I had a Tipo Sedicivalvole too! I don't think that many of them were made, there were only something like 170 in the UK, it was a seriously fast tin can that's for sure! 


    I haven't seen or driven a Fiat I was interested in.  About 25 years ago I had a 1L Fiat sedan.  A good town car, but definitely not my choice for highway driving.  Very good city gas mileage, but not much better on the highway at 40mpg imperial.

    Anyway body just doesn't Fit the Fiat- hear that Chrysler. Have bought several Chrysler cars since 1980, but not since 2004, because they have lost their car design talent.

  • Reply 114 of 126
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post



    Basic car startup assembly plant is $300-$600 million.. and thats w/o research into new tech.. Within 5 years? meh.. So we have a speculative vehicle with even more speculative delays that is not even in prototype yet? umm..



    Guess it's a good piece of writing.. on a something thats speculative.

     



    In Mexico, China or India perhaps... In the US it costs $500 million to open a supermarket (megamart not a small one) Setting up a complex and (possibly) dangerous manufacturing assembly line (like a car plant) in the US would run many billions (not millions) of dollars.

  • Reply 115 of 126
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post

     

     



    In Mexico, China or India perhaps... In the US it costs $500 million to open a supermarket (megamart not a small one) Setting up a complex and (possibly) dangerous manufacturing assembly line (like a car plant) in the US would run many billions (not millions) of dollars.


    $500M to open a supermarket? Really?

     

    Hitachi have just spent £82M (Approx $130M) to build from scratch a plant to build trains in the UK

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/972f7360-89fa-11e4-9b5f-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?siteedition=uk&_i_location=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/972f7360-89fa-11e4-9b5f-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk&_i_referer=&classification=conditional_standard&iab=barrier-app

     

    JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) has just opened a £500M Engine plant

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/jaguar/89285/queen-unveils-500-million-jaguar-land-rover-engine-plant

    That will supply engines to the whole JLR group.

     

    Setting up a new car plant with modern automation would not cost billions. Maybe a billion tops.

    Remember that most parts/sub-assemblies are shipped into the plant from suppliers ready to be installed into the body shell.

    The big cost for any car is the floor pan and then the body. If Apple use Carbon fibre (like the BMW i3) then these would be supplied pre made. Apple are well known for using the best suppliers and letting them do what they do best (or buy them).

     

    To conclude, I think your figures are more than a bit over the top.

  • Reply 116 of 126
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rotateleftbyte View Post

     

    $500M to open a supermarket? Really?

     

    Hitachi have just spent £82M (Approx $130M) to build from scratch a plant to build trains in the UK

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/972f7360-89fa-11e4-9b5f-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?siteedition=uk&_i_location=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/972f7360-89fa-11e4-9b5f-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk&_i_referer=&classification=conditional_standard&iab=barrier-app

     

    JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) has just opened a £500M Engine plant

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/jaguar/89285/queen-unveils-500-million-jaguar-land-rover-engine-plant

    That will supply engines to the whole JLR group.

     

    Setting up a new car plant with modern automation would not cost billions. Maybe a billion tops.

    Remember that most parts/sub-assemblies are shipped into the plant from suppliers ready to be installed into the body shell.

    The big cost for any car is the floor pan and then the body. If Apple use Carbon fibre (like the BMW i3) then these would be supplied pre made. Apple are well known for using the best suppliers and letting them do what they do best (or buy them).

     

    To conclude, I think your figures are more than a bit over the top.




    Actually not, why I picked supermarket specifically is that is what my wife does. I can assure you that is an actual "as built" number for a recent opening.  What you have shown is the cost of building one subassembly (though a major one) manufacturing plant (and doubtless they also use subcontractor parts i.e. starter electrical alternators fuel injection etc) that does not does not build a car. (i.e. An engine is not a car)

     

    And it's also pretty easy to google how much is spent (by auto companies) to build and open auto manufacturing facilities both in the US and abroad and it is typically measured in the billions not millions of $ US. 

     

    Simply displacing the manufacturing to a subcontractor doesn't make the manufacturing facility cost any less (i.e. apple subcontractors like Pegatron and Foxcon still have to build factories (well... actually less for them because they build in the pacific rim where taxes and regulation are a fraction of what they are in the US but I think I made that point in my first post)

  • Reply 117 of 126
    "Rumors have persisted throughout 2015 suggesting that an "Apple Car" is the Cupertino company's next major new product category."


    I suggest that Apple has several new product categories in development; some which might be expected to be released in less than five years; e.g. a subscription television service, continued development of gaming on AppleTV (expansion into game controllers, virtual reality) and likely others.
  • Reply 118 of 126
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    Nice, but a tad over-styled. Utterly lacks subtlety. And, I think it'll end up costing $200,000.


     

    The Germans are slowly starting to lose their understated class when it comes to styling. Mercedes is a lost ball in high wheat. BMW was losing it's way, then completely lost direction after Bangle got finished with them. VW veered off course about ten years ago, but it looks like they might be coming to their senses. Porsche is hanging on for dear life, but they seem to be caving to styling memes to varying degrees, and those scoops on the Mission E are clear evidence of that. To their credit, Audi appears to be committed to making automobiles that don't look like a collage of global automotive styling trends for the most part. In fact they seem to be a source for those who would readily copy/paste styling cues - see tail lights. Although, I am disappointed that they succumbed to DHS. But, nobody asked me. Styling (and now technology) sells cars. Might as well milk it while you can. 

     

    edit - a couple spelling whifs 

  • Reply 119 of 126
    cornchip wrote: »
    The Germans are slowly starting to lose their understated class when it comes to styling. Mercedes is a lost ball in high wheat. BMW was losing it's way, then completely lost direction after Bangle got finished with them. VW veered off course about ten years ago, but it looks like they might be coming to their senses. Porsche is hanging on for dear life, but they seem to be caving to styling memes to varying degrees, and those scoops on the Mission E are clear evidence of that. To their credit, Audi appears to be committed to making automobiles that don't look like a collage of global automotive styling trends for the most part. In fact they seem to be a source of those would would readily copy/paste styling cues - see tail lights. Although, I am disappointed that they succumbed to DHS. But, nobody asked me. Styling (and now technology) sells cars. Might as well milk it while you can. 

    Couldn't agree more.
  • Reply 120 of 126
    rs9rs9 Posts: 68member
    Apple assembles everything in China. Why mot a car? May I suggest you all look up Zero Air Pollution (http://www.zapworld.com/) based in Central California and partnering wit Jonway in China. I see an opportunity.
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