Just before Christmas Apple announced that they intend to make an electric vehicle with a target date of 2024. This isn’t Apple’s first foray into car building, having initially launched the idea back in 2014 before scrapping it and relaunching it again 2019. Also, Apple has shifted back and forth between focusing their efforts on building an EV versus focusing on just self-driving technologies. What makes the announcement before Christmas somewhat more interesting is not only that they are again back to building an EV but a new focus is to be specifically on battery technology.
While Apple undoubtedly knows a thing or two about rechargeable batteries, the reality is that they will have to come out with something quite unique should they really want to make a breakthrough. Central to their plans is a completely new battery design. This does sound somewhat vague, particularly if we acknowledge that not much has changed since 2012, but I’m not sure I’d bet the farm against Apple doing it.
Meanwhile, another consideration for Apple is what kind of EV they will build. Surely an EV for the masses isn’t quite what they’re after recognising Apple products are always at the higher end of desirability. Will they build an EV that is pegged squarely at Mercedes-Benz owners? This would certainly make sense but would mean a starting price of roughly US$100,000. That ain’t cheap and would instantly move this new Apple product into quite an exclusive category of buyer.
Lest we forget that vacuum-maker Dyson recently aborted their plans to build an EV. They realised that the starting price of a Dyson EV would be around US$200,000 which just didn’t make sense to them.
A likely scenario is that Apple will partner with an established car manufacturer. This doesn’t quite generate the excitement that a pure “Apple iCar” would, but certainly makes sense from an economies of scale perspective.
Lots of moving parts, so stay tuned!