Apple To Start Production Of Electric “Titan” Vehicle In 2020 – Report

FEB 20 2015 BY JAY COLE 110

Apple Reportedly Planning on Bringing Project "Titan", A Mini-Van Like EV To Market As Soon As 2020

Apple Reportedly Planning on Bringing Project “Titan”, A Mini-Van Like EV To Market As Soon As 2020

Over just a matter of days, all the talk around Apple and what the “next big thing” will be in mobile devices, has switched to what the “next big thing” will be in electric cars.

Whatever Project Tital Ends Up Being, You Know Apple Will Push The Envelope On Technology (DELIVER Electric Van shown)

Whatever Project Tital Ends Up Being, You Know Apple Will Push The Envelope On Technology (DELIVER Electric Van shown)

And that is A-OK with us.

This week details began to leak out of Apple on a new all-electric vehicle project called “Titan“.

The EV has reported been under development secretly at its own separate and “secret lab” by hundred of employees away from Apple’s main Infinite Loop campus…and largely by employees recently taken from other high profile EV makers such as Tesla Motors and Daimler.  (Full details on the project here)

Now comes word via Bloomberg that the “minivan-like” utility EV is more than just a thought project for Apple, and that the company plans to put into full production as soon as 2020 – at least “according to people familiar with the matter”.

Bloomberg points out that most car projects take 5 to 7 years to come to market, but that Apple has $178 billion (yes, that is billion with a B) in spare cash to make this vehicle a reality if executives are happy with the result of their now not-so-secret team.

Quite honestly, that timeline may be the norm for regular petrol cars, but we know that both the life and development cycle is much shorter for EVs.  Either the “sources” aren’t terribly familiar with the project’s timeline, or quite possibly they are trying to regain the element of surprise by setting current EV (and battery) makers at ease.

Since word of project Titan came to life, A123 has launched a lawsuit against Apple saying the company  launched an “aggressive campaign to poach” employees away from the battery maker, and was ultimately successful in hiring away 5 high tech minds.  The lawsuit notes similar campaigns were directed at LG Chem, Panasonic, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba and Johnson Controls .

Then there is this disclosure by A123 – “Apple is currently developing a large-scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123.”

Sure sounds like the electric vehicle manufacture field is increasing by one (a very big one) very shortly to us.

Bloomberg

Categories: Battery Tech, General

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

110 Comments on "Apple To Start Production Of Electric “Titan” Vehicle In 2020 – Report"

newest oldest most voted

Well, we will see what actually happens. I’m sticking to my prediction that what Apple wants to do is not to build actual EVs, but rather to build a suite of sensors, electronics, and software for “driverless” cars. That’s what Google is trying to develop as a prototype, but I think Apple would like to actually make and sell the hardware (and software) that auto manufacturers will eventually put into their self-driving cars.

Now, that’s not to say that Apple won’t be building any prototype cars. Just as Google has, they will need to build or convert a number of prototype cars or “mules” as testbeds for their self-driving car systems.

I just don’t see Apple getting into the business of producing any sort of car for sale, not even EVs. That’s a very, very different business model than they are using, or ever have used.

You don’t steal the best brains in batteries to make some demonstrator cars to display your AI nav system.

You mean, that Apple wont benefit by better batteries?

What Your iPhone run on? Wind powered turbine?

You misread.

Mike is implying Apple plans to do more than just make vehicle navigation software.

Please re-read my post. I most certainly did -not- suggest all Apple plans to develop and sell to auto makers is software. Sensors, cameras, navigation computers, and any needed interfaces with the car’s steering and brakes, will require hardware. Even interface with the accelerator will require the system to be wired up to the EV’s motor controller.

I think everything that has been reported is consistent with Apple wanting to develop and sell hardware and software for self-driving cars to be installed in cars made by auto manufacturers. Especially the initial report that the “Titan” is a -van-. If Apple is developing a prototype van, it sure ain’t to compete with Tesla!

Don’t confuse battery manufacturing with the reports on the “Titan” project. Just because reporters are linking the two doesn’t mean the two projects are linked. Apple could certainly benefit from building its own battery factories, whether or not they plan to build EVs. iPods, iPads, Apple notebook computers… all those use batteries. I’m not sure all of Apple’s portable electronics use li-ion batteries, but certainly their laptops do.

If A123 had the best battery researchers, they would not have gone bankrupt.

It depends what you mean by “had.”

Don’t mistake bad business decisions for bad engineering.

Mike989 said:

“You don’t steal the best brains in batteries to make some demonstrator cars to display your AI nav system.”

However, you apparently think that Apple -does- start out a project to sell electric cars to the masses by building a prototype van.

Google isn’t building prototypes for its “driverless car” system merely to be demo cars. They’re building them for R&D. If Apple is trying to develop a similar system, then they’ll do the same.

Plus, it’s not a matter of merely needing to test out the navigation and the car controls. Apple would also have to make detailed scans of the roads where self-driving cars are expected to navigate. Perhaps the best way to do that would be with a van, which would provide more room for computers, data storage, and computer operators.

One of Apple’s greatest strengths is that they produce both software and the hardware that it runs on. When software and hardware are produced together you get a higher quality product. Making an entire car actually fits their philosophy better than running their software on someone else’s hardware.

Apple doesn’t produce anything. They design and engineer. Production and assembly is done by a third party in China. In this case, Foxconn.

Foxconn declared their intent to produce electric vehicles last year, and now we are hearing credible rumors that Apple is as well- so it’s reasonable to assume this will be the builder for Apple.

Who would have thought Apple will be what brings Chinese cars into the US market.

And many major components of modern cars are outsourced to 3rd party manufacturers too, but you missed the point entirely. The original poster said that Apple would prefer to run their software on somebody else’s hardware. I pointed out that a major part of Apple’s strategy is to own both the hardware and the software, so therefore producing a car would actually fit their strategy better. Nobody was discussing their manufacturing outsourcing arrangements.

The Apple hardware that Apple will use to run its software is not the car, regardless of who makes the car. The hardware that runs software is something installed -in- the car.

Back in the 1950s, Phillips made radios that were installed in cars. By your argument, Philco and Motorola should have made the cars because their radios were going to be installed in them.

The founders of Tesla Motors, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, had a Silicon Valley background. They foolishly thought they could build cars like Silicon Valley builds computers. It was a long, steep, difficult learning curve for them to learn that no, you can -not- build cars like you build computers. Computers are built by light industry; cars are built by heavy industry.

I doubt Apple is foolish enough to make the same mistake. But if they do, they’ll have to go thru the same long difficult uphill learning process that Tesla Motors did.

Hmm, I see I switched from “Phillips” to “Philco and Motorola” in my post. Well, that’s confusing.

Ah, for an edit button…

You are correct, Apple is a perfect example of the horror of multi-national corporations. It makes its products with the cheapest possible labor that does not adhere to OSHA employee standards, or American child labor laws, or American environmental protections. It expatriates its money in shell games that enable it to not pay corporate taxes on its unbelievable profits (it has hundreds of billions of dollars because its harsh practices mean that it pockets a tremendous percentage of its sales price). Yet, it rigorously uses the American courts to protect its consumer market. Apple is a loathsome and despicable creature of modern business practice.

Doesn’t matter, they design the hardware. They do some assembly the in US now. This is not so different from outsourcing parts for a car and assembling it. I do think they will need to build car factories and possibly battery factories. They have the money and they can probably see the EV industry growing hugely over the next couple of decades. If they are really going to do this it shows great long term planning. EVs may never have as good margins as other Apple products but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a lot of money on cars in absolute terms.

Other businesses Apple entered into with no experience:

1. Portable music players
2. Music and Video entertainment distribution
3. Phones
4. Payment processing
5. Watches

Yep, but you just can’t tell some people. It’s completely feasible that they’re going to get into actual EV production. After all Tesla have done it as a startup.

Could be they’re going after the mail truck contract…

Just in time for the death of the US mail?

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

The rumors of the USPS’ death are greatly exaggerated. Amazon has too much invested in it as its delivery arm.

USPS is being killed by Republican privatizers screwing up its pension plan in an effort to make it look impractical. USPS and Social Security are fine for many years to come… stop watching FAUX Noos and life starts to make more sense…

The USPS is losing its letter traffic to e-mail… great! Letter delivery was unprofitable. The USPS gains parcel traffic (due to growing e-commerce), which is quite profitable.

Conventional wisdom ain’t so wise in an unconventional time.

In this case, however, if the EV is actually minivan-like, it will be too big for USPS routes.

The USPS does use larger delivery vans for package delivery, altho those are a lot less common than their small jeeps. But if Apple really is planning to build and sell EV vans, which I seriously doubt, then a better market for them would be UPS and FedEX.

electric mail needs an electric car as delivery car.

To deliver e-mail…

The Onion reports that the wheel rims spin in rainbow colors when the car stalls.

Ev’s don’t stall

Actually, electric motors can stall.

That doesn’t sound like it would be good for the longevity of the motor.

I wonder if they will use Gorilla Glass for the windshield. 🙂

Hopefully the interior doesn’t look like this.

Haha, I am guessing it will only have one button, right in the center of the dash…everything else will be gestures. Pinch to Zoom, Zoom 🙂

It’s actually somewhat likely – Gorilla Glass is already used in the BMW i8 – See
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a10689/bmw-i8-gorilla-glass/

Corning is definitely pushing to get into this space and using GG for architectural purposes.. http://www.corninggorillaglass.com/en/applications/interior-architecture

But I agree that they can definitely do a better job on the interior, versus what your showing above.

That’s the Fiat 500e.

That’s the regular Fiat 500. The electric version has a TFT display where the speedometer goes. It is actually a beautifully designed interior.

I guess I just want to drink the whole picture of Kool-Aid on this one. Nothing since Tesla could be more of a boost to EVs than Apple AND Google acknowledging the heir to the automotive thrown and it’s electric.

I’m surprised Apple isn’t building a fuel-cell car. I thought Apple’s motto was “Think Different.” 😉

Different, yes. Retarded, no.

LOL

:)))

Made in China???

+1

In all seriousness, I really wonder what the production plan is. Designed in California, assembled in China isn’t going to cut it for the car, unless it is just for China sale.

It will be really interesting to see if they can get this product onto a stage at some point.

The old Apple adage “all the products can fit on a table”, is going to go out the window.

BTW, I am still waiting for my damn iTV or at least an Apple TV hardware refresh…

Don’t forget that Hon Hai (Foxconn) chairman has mentioned in the past that they intend to make electric cars within the next few years….

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/business/2014/06/26/411014/Hon-Hai.htm

So it all makes sense.

Not sure what are Apple’s goals, but self-driving electric cars represents huge innovation potential and change in car industry so traditional car companies do not have any competetive advantage over newcomers such as Apple, Google and Tesla.

On the contrary, the burden of history and loads of useless infrastructure and knowhow will probably be too far too handicap that there are market niches for several other electric car start-ups that have not yet surfaced (not this does not refer to Microsoft’s Surface brand!).

Therefore Apple should push at fullest their electric car project, because the probability of failure is negligible but the probability for gigantic success is significant.

This just in…Samsung will have a mini-van like EV for sale in 2019 😉

LOL 🙂 with a bigger dashboard screen probably

And you’ll be able to change the 12V battery yourself.

And you’ll need to pull over on the side of the road and restart it once a day. 😉

That is a real possibility, if it happens ICE manufacturers are in real trouble because Apple has deep pockets and a CEO that believes in global warming.

No, Apple will not buy Tesla, because right now the market expansion of electric cars is so rapid that there is plenty of niches other brands and models. Therefore buying Tesla brand does not create any efficiencies or potential increase of market share.

Exponentially growing electric car markets are little bit different than traditional car markets. On rapidly growing markets, merging companies to larger units, do not add value but on the contrary, splitting large companies into smaller segements, adds value, because it creates more innovation opportunities.

Therefore spending 75 billions on about thousand Tesla’s engineers is just nuts. Right now Tesla is not significantly more than a punch of skilled engineers, whose real value is quite good deal less than 75 million per head.

Tesla has more capital that it can spend. getting money for profitable projects is not particularly hard, therefore Tesla does not need Apple’s cash.

Jouni Valkonen said:

“Tesla has more capital that it can spend.”

Say what???

Tesla is building a $5 billion Gigafactory, and its partner, Panasonic, is obviously reluctant to invest as much as Tesla wants them to. Furthermore, Tesla will need to build a second auto assembly plant to finish ramping up to the 500,000 cars per year it plans by 2020.

One of the constraints on Tesla’s ability to grow rapidly is its need for billions in capital investment. Tesla is about as far away from having “more capital than it can spend” as any company -could- be without actually going bankrupt.

No, Tesla’s market value is about 30 billion dollars. Against this value Tesla can raise as much capital as it wants. Either with bank loans (in Europe interest rates are negative) or by directly diluting the stock.

Right now Tesla’s biggest worry is that they do not have good enough investment opportunities without being wasteful.

I would estimate however, that Tesla’s capital potential is perhaps ten times larger than Nissan electric and BMWi combined. Therefore Tesla almost single handedly pushes the envelope of electric transportation.

Jouni Valkonen said:

“Tesla’s market value is about 30 billion dollars. Against this value Tesla can raise as much capital as it wants. Either with bank loans (in Europe interest rates are negative) or by directly diluting the stock.”

If you had said “Tesla can raise a lot of capital by borrowing or by diluting its stock”, I would have agreed. But what you -actually- said was “Tesla has more capital that [sic] it can spend.”

If you had read my next sentence: “For Tesla GETTING money to PROFITABLE investments is not that hard”, then you should have considered that there are various methods to get capital.

The problem is that it is hard to think new investments that are not wasteful.

E.g. Tesla is in the curious position that it cannot intruduce new car models, because they cannot even satisfy the demand for single luxury car model.

Therefore although normally new car models are improving the revenue, but in Tesla’s case revenue would actually go down if new car models are cheaper than 100 000 dollar Model S. Therefore instead of bringing new models to markets, Tesla chose to improve the profitability and gross margins of Model S production.

Of course it would still have been profitable Tesla on longer run because compenent supply bottleneck will be eventually resolved but Investors demand profitable quarters. Therefore Tesla need to carefully balance their investments that investing will not hurt too much their stock value because so much capital potential of Tesla depends on their stock value.

My guess is Apple’s car will have less performance and a higher price compared to Google’s car.

Nevertheless most people will buy the Apple car because their friend has one.

In the Google car, there will be no speedometer. In its place you will just see advertisements for every nearby business. 😉

And all the malware infested app you can (or can’t) run. 😉

Whereas the iCar will ask you for your credit card to purchase each additional mile should you wish to continue 🙂

And it will refuse to let you park in any parking space not on its pre-approved whitelist.

The iCar will only let you listen to music through iTunes. Noooooooo….

…oh so very true.

And it will come with only 1 year standard warranty, unless you pay additional bucks for the care program.

I know I keep beating this drum, but maybe this van can be sold to the USPS to help scale production and also greatly reduce USPS operational costs and emissions.

The USPS is seeking bids between $25k-35k per vehicle.

That is about 10 Mac Pros.

Not going to happen.

Furthermore, the USPS expects its delivery vehicles to last an average 35 years before needing replacement. Even if Apple -does- get into the business of making delivery vans, I don’t see them “building to last” like that.

Whatever happens, rumor mills need to seriously start using different images for this… I think Apple would switch over to Windows8 before releasing something as hideous as that bubble van (or even the e-nv200)…;oP

Yeah, the fish shaped van is really disturbingly ugly and soooo un-Apple looking. Please pick something else.

Even defunct Aptera or other light-weighted vehicles images would be more pleasant… 😉

I think that the looks of Nissan e-nv200 tells the best in that traditional car manufacturers have zero interests to develope electric transportation. Therefore the markets are wide open for newcomers such as Apple, Google and Samsung.

I think that the selection of pick tells something that american english words “van” and “truck” does not necessary refer to semitrailer truck or delivery van.

The eNV200 is simply an electric version of the very practical and popular existing delivery van. So the (re)design aspects are irrelevant. It’s a utility vehicle. They slapped a 2nd row bench into it which makes for a good taxi, but I suspect very few of these will actually be bought by private individuals.

No one should doubt Nissan’s commitment to EVs though… They are on and the world has rewarded them for it. I found the LEAF design totally underwhelming in 2010, but now that we own one, it totally grew on me. :o) GM lost the design touch a long time ago so it’s no surprise the Volt is just as crappy looking as the rest (and light years away from the concept!). We’ll see how the production Bolt turns out…

The very obvious psychological question at this point in EV’s evolution is: do we convert an existing design and keep the EV “hidden” (Zoé, eGolf, eUp, B200, etc) or you start from scratch so that it’s clearly announced (Leaf, Tesla, Volt). It would appear that the world has rewarded the latter…

Apple, the floor is yours. ;o)

Nissan could spend about 20 times more resources on electric cars if they were anyway serious on the technology. But they do not spend, because they do not have motivation.

In early 2020’s they spend some money on e.g. battery manufacaturing, but those ventures were failures, because Nissan’s battery tech was already outdated in 2011. Perhaps the reason why Nissan failed with their EV battery investment was that they really did not want even to success.

mistake: not Early 2020’s but of course early 2010’s they spent.

Nissan has to pay the bills and satisfy shareholders… It’s not for a lack of “want”. Dismissing their substantial efforts as insufficient is not entirely fair.

Making AND selling electric cars is not easy. They’re up against a culture of freedom & flexibility (and ignorance) established via decades of unchallenged ICE supremacy. Gasoline is hard to beat for energy density, has been for a long time. To get a battery to replace the ICE is incredibly complicated. The rechargeable Li-ion is the best we got and it’s relatively recent thing (25 years?). We still don’t understand well the chemical processes involved. The day we get the battery right, they will be able to justify 20x more expenditure.

For now, it’s a bit of the chicken & egg: got to sell the cars to pay for the tech, to sell the cars. Gonna need some patience and a lot of promotion all around.

How about we use this image from now on?

Kdawg, think you could photoshop off the Nissan badge and slap an Apple badge on there?

Oh sweet Jesus… NOoooooo!!! 😛

Not interested, moving on.

+1 to this. But the more competition in the EV space the better.

Not just USPS, but these types of trucks would be great for any type of daily delivery route. Perhaps even routes operated by driverless delivery trucks…in the future of course.

Here’s me.

Here’s me, not holding my breath.

Wanna see that again?

ICE IS DEAD with this announcement.

That luxury sports car is what Apple should do, but I think that luxury sports car does not fit well into Apple’s imago. Apple sells mostly consumer goods for everymen and everywomen who do not really understand technology nor do not require the latest advancements in technology. Yesterday’s tech is good enough and it is ok to make system easy to use and secure just by drastically limiting the functionality and user options to customize settings and software.

I added another image link for you to do your magic on above…

“Leaks” are mostly leaked intentionally with some sort of an agenda.

Apple executive: we want to buy Tesla but cheaper. How do we do this?
Apple strategist: well, we start a project to scare the market that more competition is coming. TSLA will go down.
Apple executive: Yes, and the project research we can use in the future cars. We’ll also poach some employees to further weaken TSLA.

So the future is only five years away now. I hope it makes it this time.

It will be a race to see if we get these before we switch back to donkey carts.

Seems Ironic then that the 1966 CHYSLER Turbine with Ghia – body – styling came out 10 years ahead of its time.

Of course like so many other things in life, the car’s initial poor low speed (and idling) mileage, and poor emission controls, as well as Chrysler’s money troubles ended up killing this vehicle.

The only thing from that video that did make it to the present (about 40 years too late, is OnStar).

Go home Apple, you’re drunk

Only problem is it won’t be compatible with other electric car chargers. You’ll need some overpriced proprietary connector just to charge it.

Funny

If they use the Tesla plug they will eliminate that stereotype.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

I think that Apple, Goggle, Tesla will run into huge problems in the future. I drive a 15 year old car everyday. It has been out of warranty for 12 years and I have had to put some money in repairs because parts break or wear out. When I go to get my car repaired, the repair shop can find replacement parts for it. Apple makes disposable cell phones. Tesla doesn’t even have dealers where one can go back to in order to make a complaint or get a repair paid out of warranty. Right now Tesla is selling their cars to the very rich people who own multiple cars. If they begin selling to average people who will actually drive the car every day I believe that they will have many unsatisfied customers in their hands. I don’t see any of these players, including Tesla sticking around for too long. I would think that they will either go out of business or have to merge with a traditional car manufacturer in order to stay in business.

I don’t think you understand Apple or Tesla’s business models

You are obviously poorly informed.
http://my.teslamotors.com/service#/tesla-service

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

EVs require very little power train maintenance….and items that would fail (brakes, lights, etc..) are typical in automotive and would translate anyway.

Ha! Tony you hit several hot-button issues we’re not supposed to mention.

SVEN if you’re reading this I did find out that ZEV credits to Tesla have been in the range of $500,000,000.

If Tesla were to merge with an ICE manufacturer it would be the end of Tesla and BEV production.

If Apple partners with Tesla and agrees to use some of Tesla patent’s and battery charging technology as well as share the Supercharging Stations (expansion and use), the other car companies will have a heart attack.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

Looks like Apple needs to consider aerodynamics!!

There is no picture of their product yet, so who knows

I hope they will partner with Tesla, as that will enable BOTH Corp.’s to prosper!

I’m all for it — even though I’m not a fan of Apple products — the more players that enter into this market the faster the technology will develop and the death to the out-dated combustion engine…

Will it fly? Please let it fly.

Tesla’s founder Elon Musk (born in South Africa) is building all his various business products here in the US, including Tesla. Three goddamn loud cheers for that. Apple builds all its products and will build its EV in China — without OSHA employee safety regulations and without EPA environmental regulations — and will ship them over here on freighter which are the most polluting vehicles on the planet by a far shot. Apple will likely continue to use international corporate shell games to avoid paying US corporate taxes on its hundreds of billions of dollars of profit. Go, Tesla! Hisssss, Apple.

Just wanted to point out that Elon is a US citizen.

Gosh, I can’t wait for the Microsoft EV. 😉

You know it will come with Windows 🙂

and Ctrl + Alt + Del in the event of Blue screen of death…