Apple’s automotive project, which has started and stopped numerous times in the last six years, is reportedly hitting the accelerator again.
Reuters, quoting “people familiar with the matter,” reports that the iPhone maker plans to leverage its “breakthrough battery technology” to launch an electric vehicle (EV) in 2024. Apple declined to comment on the story.
The report said Apple will rely on its new battery design that the sources say could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries while increasing the vehicle’s range. Vehicle range has been one of the limiting factors for EVs so far.
The report says Apple would target its vehicle at the consumer market and likely partner with an established manufacturer to assemble the vehicles. According to Reuters, former Tesla executive Doug Field has jump-started the program, code-named Project Titian.
The report did not say what consumers would have to pay for an Apple car, but an EV that is also self-driving would be at the upper end of the automotive price range. Reuters said Apple would turn to outside vendors for key parts of the autonomous system, including lidar sensors.
However, the company might not have to look very far to find that kind of support. Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models both contain lidar sensors.
New battery design
The real breakthrough, according to the report, is in the battery technology. Sources have told Reuters that Apple would deploy a “monocell” design that increases efficiency by freeing up space inside the battery pack, eliminating the pouches and modules that hold battery materials.
Potentially, that means the car could travel farther between charges. The Tesla Model X range is currently among the industry’s best, traveling between 341 and 371 miles on a single charging session.
Reuters quotes one person familiar with the project as describing the battery technology as something completely different than what’s available now.
“Like the first time you saw the iPhone,” the person said.