Report: Apple’s electric car arriving in 2019

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Really Is Building an Electric Car.

The company has spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California, the Journal says, quoting un-named sources familiar with the matter (and it’s worth taking seriously.

Apple Inc. has designated building an electric car as a “committed project” and has set a target shipping date for 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The news comes after Apple chief executive Tim Cook told employees that the company was making a “substantial donation” to help European refugees. For Apple, a “ship date” doesn’t necessarily mean the date that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features, the WSJ said. There’s no word yet if Apple plans to set up its own manufacturing facility, like Tesla, or contract with an outside supplier, but it has recently hired several automotive industry veterans to work on the project.

This news comes on the heels of a reported meeting between a member the company’s senior council with California DMV officials last week to discuss the details of self-driving cars. Sources told Reuters in August that Apple was developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it was unclear if the iPhone maker was designing a vehicle that could drive itself.

Though the Cupertino-based company might be exploring autonomous cars, initial Apple electric vehicles wouldn’t be self-driving, the Journal report says. Apple has hired this year Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen AG engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research. The Guardian recently reported that Apple has met with officials from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss autonomous cars as well as representatives from GoMentum Station, a high-security Bay Area test site for driverless cars.

Correction (Sept. 21): An earlier version of this article said Apple’s electric car team would triple to 600 people; the team currently has that many members. Nissan, Chevrolet, BMW, and Ford all have notable electric cars on the market, and competitors such as Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche, among others, are working feverishly to challenge them. Although semi-autonomous tech is already available in cars like the 2016 Honda Civic, the first fully autonomous consumer car is still at least six years away with the debut of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

On a related note, two years ago Apple announced CarPlay, a system that lets your iPhone directly connect to a car’s dashboard display — for better integration of features like mapping, music, streaming radio and hands-free calling. CarPlay can be controlled via a simplified, big icon version of iOS that appears on your dashboard, or Siri voice commands (which US previews say work well). Tesla’s success with the Model S, which is America’s best-selling plug-in electric car, provides a blueprint for success: Forget about building 10 different models with 10 different trim lines.

Regardless, it seems Apple is keen to use its vast knowledge of battery and sensor technology to shake up the car world, as it did to the smartphone market with the iPhone. Now rhe first cars with CarPlay support are finally being rolled out over the next few months in the US, including 14 models from Chevrolet will include it in 14 models in the coming months. Almost every big car maker, including Ford, GM, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Audi and BMW has committed to supporting CarPlay … though a penny for their thoughts now that Apple is apparently entering the car-making business.

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